Where you live will affect your pocketbook

I am no stranger to moving. If you have read my previous blogs you will know that I lived most of my life in Ontario, Canada and only recently moved to Calgary, Alberta 4 years ago. While in Ontario I have lived in Ottawa, Windsor and Toronto, Ontario so far. These are cities range in population from 300,000 to 6 million.

I started wondering what my standard of living would be like if I was every to relocate back to these places based on what I currently spend per month in Calgary. So I decided to see how far our monthly expenses of $3,472  would take use using a cool website I stumbled on called NUMBEO.

Disclaimer: I am not being paid to promote this website. I just stumbled on it, really liked it and wanted to share it with you guys.

Some of the things you can do on this website are:

  1. Compare cost of living between two locations including historical year by year data changes.
  2. Compare property prices between two locations
  3. Comparing the crime, healthcare, pollution, traffic and quality of life between two locations
  4. The average cost of taxi fares and gas prices in different locations

What I like about this website is:

  1. It provides cost of living information for different cities around the world (almost 6,000 and counting) and almost all major cities and towns in Canada and the United States
  2. Values can be represented in multiple currencies. If you are relocating between countries they show the value in both the local currency and the new country’s currencies
  3. Income and expenses are in after tax dollars. So income is after-tax take home pay and expenses includes all sales taxes in the values. I think this is a better way to express numbers when doing up a budget than with gross values. Especially when different tax laws come into play.

Ok. So those are all the things I like about the website, but you also want to be mindful of the following:

  1. Its database is based on “user contributed data”, meaning its information is as accurate as the people that live in these cities and provide the data for it. However, it has almost 300,000 contributors and millions of data points.
  2. Because its data set is based on user contributed data, some cities have a larger number of contributors than others cities. The good thing is for every data set it tells you the number of contributors that provided this information
  3. When using the cost of living calculator to compare standard of living between two cities, it assumes you rent in both cities. So if you wanted to move cities and own right away this would not be a good indicator of true cost.

Even with this in mind, I think the website is pretty good. It serves as a good starting point to gather a lot of information of what the cost of living would be like in another city or country without too much hassle and research.

The tool I used was the Cost of Living Calculator which can be found here, and the web page looks like the image below:

cost of living calculator

Here were the results below (Calgary Monthly Expenses – New Cities Monthly Expenses):

cost of living calculator 3

From the table above it would make more sense for us to relocate back to Ontario.

So why do we choose to stay? Professional development:

  1. Finding employment in Ontario as a young professional (or even a new graduate) is difficult and highly competitive. Many graduates/young professionals may not even find work in their respective fields and those who do, it’s not uncommon for those jobs to be temporary or contract.
  2. Calgary is a fairly “new” city compared to the other cities I mentioned so it has a lot of potential for growth. Individuals both young and old are more likely to find work in their field of study without the struggle of excessive competition. Once the oil prices go back up and the economy improves, Calgary can be a thriving city.
  3. Even with cost of living being as high as it is here, the average salaries are slightly higher here than in the other cities mentioned.
 Overall this website was useful and the calculators and tools fairly accurate when comparing them to the cities I have lived in. Have you ever used this website before? Did you find it useful? What findings did you get from comparing your cost of living?

Categories: Budgeting

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2 replies

  1. Taking employment opportune cities into consideration sounds like a sensible thing to do.
    The calculator will be of great value for FIREd people. They -in general – care less about competitive job markets.


    • Yah. I know that there are a lot of cost of living calculators out there but I like the fact that this had difference countries as well as looked at different indices like health care, pollution etc.