How much money you need to make to live alone in Vancouver

Jun 15 2023, 6:00 pm

Budgeting might not be sexy, but it’s a necessary fiscal responsibility – especially if you’re trying to get by in Vancouver.

From the mild climate and easy access to nature to our diverse and inclusive culture, it’s easy to see why people worldwide want to call Vancouver home. But Vancouverites know they pay a premium for the privilege.

So let’s budget out how much moolah you need to make it in the city. According to Numbeo, a website that uses crowdsourced information to compare the cost of living in cities, the average monthly cost for a single person in the city is $1,438.70 – but that’s before rent is taken into account.

We broke down the realistic monthly costs that a person renting alone in Vancouver will face. Hold on to your wallets!

1. Housing costs in Vancouver

Vancouver apartments/Shutterstock

The most expensive rentals in Vancouver in terms of cost per square foot are studios and one-bedrooms. According to recent rental data, average one-bedroom rent in Vancouver is at an all-time high as of June 2023. Zumper puts the median rent for a one-bedroom at $2,700.

While Numbeo puts the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Vancouver at $2,533.18 per month, we’re going to use the Zumper price in this article to more accurately reflect the cost of someone moving to the city on their own.

2. Utility costs in Vancouver

vancouver cost of living

Proxima Studio/Shutterstock

In rental agreements, utilities are sometimes included in the cost of rent, but sometimes they are not. The cost of basic utilities – think BC Hydro bills to cover your heating and electricity – average $142.93 per month for a 900-square-foot apartment.

Internet costs have an average monthly price of $89.71.

3. Phone costs in Vancouver

toronto cost of living


According to a telecom analyst report, prices in the Canadian wireless market are the highest in the world. Numbeo puts the mobile phone cost at $56 a month.

4. Transportation costs in Vancouver


Macklin Holloway/Shutterstock

You can save money on your transportation costs by walking or taking your bike. However, those options aren’t always ideal, especially if commuting daily.

A monthly TransLink pass is between $104.90 and $189.45, depending on how many zones you travel. If you drive, the cost of gas in Vancouver has been extraordinarily high lately, around $2 per litre. Since lots of Vancouverites can even walk to work, we will put in the price of a one-zone TransLink pass as a representation of monthly transit costs.

5. Grocery costs in Vancouver

toronto cost of living


Adding Numbeo’s average Vancouver prices for basic grocery items, if purchased once a week, comes to a monthly average of $399.56.

The grocery items include milk, rice, bananas, cheese, and chicken – essentially just the basics.

6. Dining out costs in Vancouver

Fiore Restaurant, South-Granville, Vancouver/Kathy Mak

Since you’re probably going to get bored with your diet of rice, chicken, and bananas, you’ll want to eat out now and then. Especially because the restaurants in Vancouver are so damn good.

According to Numbeo, the cost of a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant is $110 on average.

So if you go on a date once per week and pick up the cheque, that’s $440 per month. Of course, the true monthly cost of eating out (and, let’s be real, ordering food delivery) will vary greatly depending on your taste and lifestyle.

7. Entertainment costs in Vancouver

toronto cost of living


In Vancouver, your average movie ticket costs $17.75, and a local beer costs $7.50.

So, if you go to the movies twice a month and have three beers a week, you’ll spend $125.50 a month on some leisurely drinking and cinema hopping.

Of course, if you love to do VIP cinemas and sip fancy cocktails, your monthly entertainment costs will look different than this conservative average.

8. Health and fitness costs in Vancouver

toronto cost of living


Fitness memberships vary greatly in Vancouver. You can go to a community centre gym quite cheaply, whereas other specialty fitness studios cost more. Numbeo puts the monthly average for a fitness membership at $58.90.

9. Coffee costs in Vancouver

vancouver cost of living

Aleksandrs Muiznieks/Shutterstock

You can save money by drinking coffee at home. But will you have ever truly lived? Numbeo puts a regular cappuccino at $5.45 on average, so if you treat yourself to two a week, that’s $10.90 per week spent at your local cafe… and throw on a dollar each time for a tip for a total of $51.60 each month.

10. Cost of living extras in Vancouver

h&m pacific centre granville street

CF Pacific Centre mall (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

If you were to buy a pair of Nikes, that would set you back $122.18 in Vancouver, according to Numbeo.

To estimate the average cost of “extras” for a life in Vancouver, we’ll say people will spend the equivalent of two pairs of Nikes per month on whatever various purchases they like to make, from makeup and books to clothes and home goods.

The Grand Total

1. Housing: $2,700
2. Utilities: $232.64
3. Phone: $56
4. Transportation:
5. Groceries:
6. Dining Out:
7. Entertainment:
8. Health and Fitness:
9. Coffee:
10. Extras:

$4,413.46 per month
$52,961.52 annually

You can imagine someone moving to Vancouver who:

  • rents a one-bedroom apartment by themselves
  • pays their own utilities, phone bill, and gym membership
  • spends a scant $400 on meagre groceries a month
  • takes the bus
  • eats out once a week and goes to the movies twice a month
  • drinks three beers a week
  • grabs an occasional coffee and goes shopping once per month

And all that will cost them more than $50,000 annually. It’s not a luxury life, is it?

By the way, when we updated this article in April 2022, we estimated average spending at $3,771.31 per month or $45,255.72 annually. So, a lot’s changed in just one year.

All this has us rethinking our budget so let us know in the comments, how do you save money in Vancouver?

These figures are accurate as of June 2023.

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