Here's how much money you need a month to self-isolate in Calgary

Mar 25 2020, 7:26 pm

Ah, Calgary.

The greener, more affordable pastures on the other side of the Rockies, that young Vancouverites can’t seem to stop fleeing to.

While the big metros like Vancouver and Toronto seem to be chewing up and spitting out millennials, Calgary is often seen as the financial safe-haven for Canada’s youth who are looking to, you know, actually own a home someday.

According to Numbeo, a website that compares the cost of living in cities around the world, the average monthly expenses for a single person’s costs in Calgary is just over $2,480 a month (rent included).

But those numbers include a budget for entertainment and dining out, gym memberships, and miscellaneous socializing.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has pretty much frozen everything in citizen’s day-to-day routines, we’ve readjusted the numbers to include only rent, cell phone bills/internet, and groceries.

Especially during a time of the uncertain economy and idle workplaces, here’s an average of how much Calgarians should be spending on the three big essentials during the coronavirus pandemic.

Housing = $1,478 per month

live alone

Calgary’s Centre Street Lions/Shutterstock

According to Numbeo, the average cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in the downtown core is currently $1,207. And that cost is in line with Padmapper as well, which lists one bedrooms at $1,100.

But that cost doesn’t include hydro or internet.

Numbeo averages the cost of basic utilities for a Calgarian at $194 — that’s twice as much as in Vancouver — and since we don’t want to use up all our data while swiping left, adding internet costs an additional $77 on average per month.

So, to recap the math, if you’re a solo dweller in a one bedroom, you can expect to dish out around $1,478.

Phone = $75 per month

live alone


There is a reason we all go wild when mobile providers offer $50 plans with over two or three GB of data. Phone plans are notoriously expensive in Canada, so much than even our Economic Development Minister thinks it’s ridiculous.

And it’s all for good reason. According to the 2015 CRTC-commissioned Wall Report, an unlimited talk-and-text cellphone plan with 5 GB of data costs an average of $107.50 in Canada. But since we’re talking minimum costs, a 2 GB is around $75 a month.

But that doesn’t include overages fees…

Groceries and household items = $214 per month



Stats Canada shows that the average Canadian spends about $214 per month on food — though that’s not including money spent on takeout.

That does include the basics: milk, bread, eggs, chicken, beef, apples, bananas, lettuce, and rice.

We’ll hold off on panic-buying too much toilet paper — for now.

The Grand Total

On average, Calgarians’ monthly bills are as follows:

Housing and internet: $1,478
Phone: $75
Groceries/Household Items: $214

Total: $1,767 per month

Transportation, entertainment, socializing, and extras*

According to Numbeo, transportation, entertainment, socializing, and extra costs add up to $581 a month, which haven’t been added to the quarantine budget.*

Those usual costs include monthly transit passes at $106 per month, $270 for entertainment and dining out, $100 for partying/socializing, a $30 monthly coffee budget, $75 for health and fitness, and $100 for miscellaneous costs.

For reference, average Calgarians were spending $2,480 (rent included) a month pre-quarantine, according to Numbeo.

Calgarians who are out of work as a result of the coronavirus can apply for Alberta’s emergency self-isolation support by checking out their website.

DH Calgary StaffDH Calgary Staff

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