These are the top ways you can save money while self-isolating in Toronto

Apr 30 2020, 12:45 pm

Toronto’s cost of living is not necessarily something to be desired. While so many people love what the city has to offer, the expenses that come with living in it can be daunting.

But right now, day-to-day life looks different. Which means the cost of hanging out in your apartment does, too.

According to Numbeo, a website that compares the cost of living in cities around the world, pre-quarantine, the average Torontonian was spending about $3,517.95 per month — rent included.

During the pandemic, however, that total can be scaled back by dropping extras like dinners out, gym memberships, and even some forms of insurance.

Here’s a look at how you can cut back on spending during these stressful-enough times:

Transportation

This won’t apply for everyone, but for many, the TTC’s $156 monthly pass is rendered useless right now.  If you don’t see yourself taking transit more than 12 times per week or more, it simply doesn’t add up to invest in one of these for the month of May.

Your fitness membership

Numbeo determines the average cost of a gym membership in Toronto to be $55.29. That’s already a decent chunk in savings, and you know that if you’ve signed up at a spot that’s a little more schmancy, that membership fee is higher.

Do your wallet the favour of putting these expenses on pause for now, and take up an at-home practice instead. Plenty of local studios are offering digital classes at no cost.

Entertainment

On the cheaper side of entertainment, a ticket to see a movie in Toronto rings in at around $15. Adding onto that, the cost of seeing a live show — or several per month, if that’s your thing — can range anywhere from $5 cover to $350 or more for decent seats. The money that you’re saving on nights out right now can relax in your account for a time, while in the interim, you’re enjoying movie nights or board games with your co-isolators at home.

Dining out

The numbers shared by Numbeo show an $88.50 average price tag on a two-person, three-course meal in Toronto.

So, one date night per month plus two $12 fast-food meals and coffee stops three times per week for $4.46 cappuccinos? That’s $166.02 saved, right there. And you know that you’re actually dining out way more often than that.

Even if you opt to treat yourself by ordering delivery on Takeout Day, you can look closely at those costs and set a spending limit that’s less than a typical week’s expenses. That way, you can indulge while still enjoying the peace that comes with a little extra savings.

Insurance

If you have car insurance while your car is spending most of its time parked, or insurance in other areas of your life, you can look into pauses, discounts, and waives of fees.

For example, Onlia is dubbing May a “premium holiday,” wherein all active policy holders as of March 31st, who have made at least one full monthly premium payment, will automatically receive a one-month premium waiver.

“Onlia has always put the safety of Canadians first, and now more than ever we are pulling together to protect one another,” says Pieter Louter, Onlia’s CEO.

“With customers presently experiencing unprecedented lifestyle changes, we are taking additional steps to provide support and assistance to our community.”

Self-Maintenance

It’s not that you don’t want to take care of yourself right now — in fact, it will probably help you feel more normal if you do keep up with regular showers, washing of your hair, clipping of your toenails, and the like. But new ‘dos, nail appointments, and waxes can all wait.

Depending on where you go for these activities, you could be saving anywhere from $50 to $300 per appointment you don’t book.

According to Statistics Canada, 29% of Canadians reported that the current situation is having a moderate or major impact on their ability to meet financial obligations or pay for essential needs.

Meanwhile, 47.2% of respondents reported minor or no impact.

You can’t control everything. Layoffs, wage cuts, and other unexpected circumstances can and will arise as a result of this pandemic. But you can take small actions in your day-to-day life that have the potential to return some of your financial power back to you.

Take the time to review the above expenses and consider what you might be able to put on pause right now. Doing so could infuse a little extra peace into your days, during a time when feelings of calm are so coveted.