How Much Does it Cost to Live in Mississauga?
Mississauga is a growing urban space that's evolved from a sleepy bedroom community to a populous and exciting Big City. Because of its increasing density and close proximity to Toronto, it's a cool and convenient (but sometimes costly) city to live in.
For the past few years, affordability, whether it pertains to homes or groceries or transit, has been top of mind for many and for good reason -- every year, more and more people are struggling with the escalating costs of living.
But while there's a lot of talk about expenses, it's also important to look at the numbers and see exactly how much money you need to enjoy life in the city.
We cobbled together some numbers from Numbeo (a website that uses crowd-sourcing to compare living costs in various cities) to give you a general idea of how much it costs to live and play in Mississauga.
If you're renting an apartment, there are affordable options. If you're on a tight budget, you can find affordable accommodations -- typically a basement suite or room in a home -- for under $1,000 a month. Also, the city has moved to make it easier for homeowners to register their basement suites.
If you're a single person looking for a new condo, well, you'll have to cough up a little extra dough. According to Numbeo, a one-bedroom unit in City Centre will cost at least $1,395.46 a month. Outside of City Centre, you can expect to pay $1,125.
For a lot of singles, $1,395.46 might be more than their biweekly paycheck.
Extra Housing Costs
If you're renting, you might still have to pay separately for hydro and you will almost always have to cover your own cable and Internet costs. For the average one-bedroom condo, hydro can cost $30-$50 a month. If you're getting a relatively basic Internet plan, that's still about $50 or so a month. If you want very cheap cable, you can get a Rogers starter pack for $29.99, but you'll get bored of the limited channel selection fast (in all honesty, you probably just stream everything, but some people are old school).
If you get a horribly basic phone plan for an even more basic phone, you could get away with paying $25 a month (according to Rogers pricing). If you're a hip young professional, you're probably not willing to limit yourself to 100 minutes a month and you're definitely not forgoing data (who wants to live in a world with no data?). If you get a smartphone with 1GB (again, using Rogers pricing as an example), you're paying $90 and costs only go up from there. For a lot of people, smartphones are not toys, they are lifelines. They connect people to friends, family, work and reliable GPS systems. If you use an Android or iPhone, it's entirely possible that you're paying $120 or more a month.
If you're being frugal and renting a one-bedroom outside of City Centre ($1,125), paying extra for hydro (about $40) and enjoying internet access (about $50), basic cable ($29.99) and a decent phone ($90), you are looking at living costs of approximately $1,334.99 a month.
And that's before a few other expenses, such as:
Mississauga is many things, but a walkable city it is not. If you drive, your expenses will vary based on what kind of vehicle you own/whether or not you're financing it, how much gas it needs and how much maintenance it requires. Your insurance will also vary depending on your age, gender, driving history and commuting times.
Since it's hard to pin down a number for car travel, we'll work with public transportation. If you are an adult who uses MiWay regularly, you probably have a PRESTO monthly pass ($130). If you just take the bus here and there, you pay a cash fare of $3.50, but we will assume, for the purpose of this article, that you're shelling out dough on a PRESTO. If you take taxis, fares typically start at $4.25 and cost about $1.77 a click.
So, for argument's sake, let's say you spend about $30 a month on cabs, Uber or both (realistically, you probably spend several hundred dollars a month on a car, but let's pretend you're environmentally-minded and use public transport above all else).
If you cut your transportation expenses to the bone and rely solely on PRESTO and the occasional Uber, you're looking at about $160 a month.
And that, for many, is truly a best-case scenario.
You can shop at affordable stores like No Frills and Food Basics if you want to spend less on groceries, as not all supermarkets are created equal. However, Numbeo provides a general breakdown of food costs in the city and suggests that you can expect, on average, to pay about $73.50 a week or $294 a month (your mileage may vary). Keep in mind that that cost only covers the basics -- meat, fruit, vegetables, grains and dairy -- and does not include any snack foods, alcohol, coffee, tea or cigarettes. If you add some mid-range bottles of wine, domestic beer and four packs of smokes, you're looking at $408.80 per month on Things You Put In Your Body.
Mississauga has a ton of fantastic restaurants at various price points. If you're eating at very casual establishments, you can get away with paying about $15 for a meal (or $8.79 if you're eating at McDonald's). If you're eating three-courses at a mid-range restaurant, you can expect to pay about $55 for two people (so $27.50 per person).
If you like to treat yourself to specialty coffee once a week (say, a grande white chocolate mocha from Starbucks), you're looking at roughly $4.45 per beverage.
If you eat at two mid-range and two casual restaurants a month and treat yourself to a nice latte every Friday, you're looking at $102.80 a month (and keep in mind that these costs do not include alcohol). If you like beer with your resto meal, add another $5-$6 to bring the total up to about $124.80.
The center of Mississauga's universe is an enormous shopping mall, so it's safe to say that your monthly budget might need to accommodate new attire. This topic is a little harder to break down, simply because clothing costs depend on what pieces you need and where you want to buy them. A summer dress at Forever21 might cost you $30 while a similar dress might cost about $60 at Zara.
To make things simple, let's say you're spending $60 a month on clothing.
So, if you're living as frugally as possible by renting an affordable apartment outside the city core, using public transportation, purchasing affordable phone, cable and Internet plans, limiting your grocery shopping to basic items, going to restaurants no more than once a week and buying clothing sparingly, you are paying about $2,088.59 a month to live in Mississauga.
And that's a very, very conservative estimate.
Something to think about.