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Budgeting for Canada

Budgeting for Canada

Old Apr 7th 2020, 6:21 pm
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Default Budgeting for Canada

Hi all! With all of the spare time on our hands due to Covid and the lack of progress with our application, i've been double checking through our budget for Canada. We're aiming to live within an hours drive of Calgary so anyone with specific experience around Calgary / Alberta would be great. I know that everyones costs will vary but I just wanted to post what I have written in our budget so far and see if i'm massively over/under estimating anything? Could also be useful for future reference for others looking to make the move.

Rent / Mortgage : $1800
Property Taxes: $140
Home insurance: $40
Gas & Elec: $250
Mobile Phones: $75
TV & Internet: $100
Groceries: $500
Restaurant & Take-aways: $150
Life Insurance: $40
Car Finance / Lease: $350
Car Insurance: $250?!
Fuel: $250
Skiing: $100
Haircuts: £30
Clothing: $100
Dog Food: $30
Flights back home to UK once per year: $125

Any advice on anything i'm massively out with would be great. Either way we're off to Canada, just want to have our eyes as open as possible. Especially being a one-wage household of 4.

Last edited by jproberts; Apr 7th 2020 at 7:02 pm.
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Old Apr 7th 2020, 7:30 pm
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Default Re: Budgeting for Canada

Originally Posted by jproberts View Post
Hi all! With all of the spare time on our hands due to Covid and the lack of progress with our application, i've been double checking through our budget for Canada. We're aiming to live within an hours drive of Calgary so anyone with specific experience around Calgary / Alberta would be great. I know that everyones costs will vary but I just wanted to post what I have written in our budget so far and see if i'm massively over/under estimating anything? Could also be useful for future reference for others looking to make the move.

Rent / Mortgage : $1800
Property Taxes: $140
Home insurance: $40
Gas & Elec: $250
Mobile Phones: $75
TV & Internet: $100
Groceries: $500
Restaurant & Take-aways: $150
Life Insurance: $40
Car Finance / Lease: $350
Car Insurance: $250?!
Fuel: $250
Skiing: $100
Haircuts: £30
Clothing: $100
Dog Food: $30
Flights back home to UK once per year: $125

Any advice on anything i'm massively out with would be great. Either way we're off to Canada, just want to have our eyes as open as possible. Especially being a one-wage household of 4.
You are massively out on car insurance. Stick a zero on the end of the current figure would be more realistic (not joking) - unless you mean these are monthly figures, in which case a reasonable assumption.

Last edited by Hurlabrick; Apr 7th 2020 at 7:34 pm. Reason: Realised these are monthly figures
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Old Apr 7th 2020, 7:35 pm
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Default Re: Budgeting for Canada

Thanks for the response. These are all monthly figures. It didn't take much research to figure out that insurance costs were going to be eye-watering out there. Thanks for taking the time to give some feedback though.
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Old Apr 7th 2020, 7:53 pm
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Default Re: Budgeting for Canada

Originally Posted by jproberts View Post
Thanks for the response. These are all monthly figures. It didn't take much research to figure out that insurance costs were going to be eye-watering out there. Thanks for taking the time to give some feedback though.
Insurance in Alberta isn't too bad. IIRC, we had to pay $100 a month for a relatively new minivan when we first arrived.

The amounts you given for flights back to the UK (I can't see how you will get 4 tickets for $1,200 ish) and for skiing appear low. Again, IIRC a family season pass to somewhere like Nakiska was $1,500 when we used to get them, prior to 2010, but travelling to and from and food will cost far more than $100 a month.

An hour from Calgary city centre could be not very far from Calgary, or it could be Canmore, depending upon how you define "from"! Where are you looking to live?
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Old Apr 7th 2020, 7:59 pm
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Default Re: Budgeting for Canada

You might also be 'light' on house insurance. My (admittedly Ontario) house and contents is $1200-odd pa. That is in a very safe area of London ON for 1600sq ft above grade.
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Old Apr 7th 2020, 8:23 pm
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Default Re: Budgeting for Canada

Insurance in Alberta isn't too bad. IIRC, we had to pay $100 a month for a relatively new minivan when we first arrived.
That's promising to hear. I'll keep $250 on the budget but anything less would then be a bonus!

The amounts you given for flights back to the UK (I can't see how you will get 4 tickets for $1,200 ish) and for skiing appear low
I already realise the mistake a made for this, our flights from UK to Calgary this May cost us around £1100, i've forgotten to do the conversion into $ so that's a great spot thank you! Also, it'd only be myself skiing, the children are too young at the moment and the wife isn't interested until the kids start.

An hour from Calgary city centre could be not very far from Calgary, or it could be Canmore, depending upon how you define "from"! Where are you looking to live?
We're not too fussy at the moment, it depends on where I find work. We'd just like to be within roughly an hour of Calgary and within 2hrs of Banff. Ideally we'd like an acreage so will be semi-rural.

You might also be 'light' on house insurance.
I'll double check those figures too then thank you!

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Old Apr 7th 2020, 10:11 pm
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Default Re: Budgeting for Canada

Originally Posted by jproberts View Post
We're not too fussy at the moment, it depends on where I find work. We'd just like to be within roughly an hour of Calgary and within 2hrs of Banff. Ideally we'd like an acreage so will be semi-rural.
not that on topic. but just out of curiosity what are you finding price wise? and where are you looking (both physical location, and websites you are using)??

We are in a similar boat, albeit resigned to being further from the city and not choosing Banff as our ski hill (I'm also trying to get us closer to a ski hill than a city due to business opportunities) - due to costings. Theres a handful of places I've found between Calgary and Banff in the sub $1,000,000 bracket but not much and what i have found doesn't have much land.

One major thing if its not included with your employment are things like health and dental care plans - The rest of it is very much variable.

Cell phones - unsure how many of your family of 4 require a cell phone, but you'd struggle to get 3 usable sim only plans for that price, especially if one of them is of the generation who live on youtube/tiktok/snapchat etc and don't respect wifi - 5gb data isn't an awful lot these days even for a moderate user of a phone for social media, google maps and streaming podcasts whilst driving but a sim only with that sort of allowance is around $40 a month - going over as a couple, I've pencilled in $300 for cell phone, TV and internet based on the fact we should get another 2 years out of phones when we get over there but want 10gb+ of data on the sim cards each.

Rest of it all looks doable although you may want to take a close look at your plans with regards leisure/eating out/clothes etc.

Going out for a semi reasonable meal main, side dish/dessert, beer, and tip is going to be running $40+ (there will be cheaper restaurants, but likewise I've looked at brewhouse/brew pub menus and the steak has been $45), maybe your 2 children come in at half that, and you go cheaper places - wouldn't think you'd typically get much change out of $80 for feeding a family of 4 at somewhere cheap, but could easily blow that $150 on a chain restaurant - for reference I went to mr mikes steakhouse, which i felt was a typical chain restaurant, akin to frankie and bennys in the UK - 2 of us had starters, I had a steak, she had ribs, we had a starter to share and a couple of drinks and I'm sure that came to $140 with a tip!!

Clothes, guessing you've got children - unfortunately you will have to dress them for the weather, and they won't get many seasons out of their winter coats/ski gear etc before outgrowing/or wearing it out if your a regular on the hill. Again I'm sure its doable on $100 a month, but likewise you could blow 6 months budget in buying her indoors a nice pair of winter boots, some gym trainers, a pair of leggings, a decent winter coat and a pair of jeans!

When I did my budgeting without leisure activities, clothes or the cost of an actual property we were factoring in about $3000 a month for the pair of us to be fed, watered, stuck in a pair of vehicles, with cell phones, broadband, heating, electricity and health insurance in BC. That was factoring something reasonable for her to drive round in, and just insurance for me (I'll get an old beat up truck, and beat it some more). I possibly was over egging/rounding up everything slightly, but in the UK we don't have expensive taste.



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Old Apr 7th 2020, 10:20 pm
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Default Re: Budgeting for Canada

Originally Posted by jproberts View Post
Hi all! With all of the spare time on our hands due to Covid and the lack of progress with our application, i've been double checking through our budget for Canada. We're aiming to live within an hours drive of Calgary so anyone with specific experience around Calgary / Alberta would be great. I know that everyones costs will vary but I just wanted to post what I have written in our budget so far and see if i'm massively over/under estimating anything? Could also be useful for future reference for others looking to make the move.

Rent / Mortgage : $1800
Property Taxes: $140
Home insurance: $40
Gas & Elec: $250
Mobile Phones: $75
TV & Internet: $100
Groceries: $500
Restaurant & Take-aways: $150
Life Insurance: $40
Car Finance / Lease: $350
Car Insurance: $250?!
Fuel: $250
Skiing: $100
Haircuts: £30
Clothing: $100
Dog Food: $30
Flights back home to UK once per year: $125

Any advice on anything i'm massively out with would be great. Either way we're off to Canada, just want to have our eyes as open as possible. Especially being a one-wage household of 4.
What about maintaining those vehicles? I suppose our daily drivers car cost about $250/month in maintenance. Heavy usage, admittedly.
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Old Apr 7th 2020, 10:32 pm
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Default Re: Budgeting for Canada

what are you finding price wise? and where are you looking
We're using Point2Homes and Kijiji for property for sale and RentFaster and Kijiji for rentals. We have a considerably smaller budget at $500k but there are a few nice properties which are below $400k even. My search is a custom drawn search radius around Calgary focusing on the west of Almost all of the nice properties coming up within budget are out east though, which isn't a problem for us as long as there's enough land. Generally our budget has anything from 3-30 acres. The added bonus is that car insurance, home insurance and property tax all seem lower when you get more rural.

Cell phones - unsure how many of your family of 4 require a cell phone
At the moment our two boys are 2yrs and 6 months so it's just the 2 simcards for now! We're happy with our moblies so it'll be sim only for now. Their ages also help when it comes to dining out etc although the 2yr old eats about us much as us actually!

What about maintaining those vehicles? I suppose our daily drivers car cost about $250/month in maintenance. Heavy usage, admittedly.
We're going to manage with one vehicle whilst we settle in and see how our finances are. I've got $200 a month for maintenance but didn't mention that in my post as it's so variable. Also, i'll do almost all of the work myself.

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Old Apr 7th 2020, 10:35 pm
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Default Re: Budgeting for Canada

Originally Posted by jproberts View Post
That's promising to hear. I'll keep $250 on the budget but anything less would then be a bonus!

I already realise the mistake a made for this, our flights from UK to Calgary this May cost us around £1100, i've forgotten to do the conversion into $ so that's a great spot thank you! Also, it'd only be myself skiing, the children are too young at the moment and the wife isn't interested until the kids start.

We're not too fussy at the moment, it depends on where I find work. We'd just like to be within roughly an hour of Calgary and within 2hrs of Banff. Ideally we'd like an acreage so will be semi-rural.
I live on 20 acres 15 mins south of Calgary. Our insurance is significantly higher than in the city and you need to ensure that you live within a certain distance of a fire station or you may not be able to get insurance for your residence that the mortgagee will accept.

If you wish to go rural, you will likely need to account for all manner of machinery too. Tractors and lawn tractors are not cheap and you will need to learn how to fix things as tradesmen don't like to travel outside the city even if it would take them less time than to travel.for longer within the city.

You also need to consider what size of place will work for you. Less than 10 acres mean that, while you can keep livestock, you will have to pay for their feed over the winter as you won't have enough to bake it for your own use. 3 acres mean that you will spend all summer cutting the grass!

Last edited by Almost Canadian; Apr 7th 2020 at 11:55 pm.
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Old Apr 7th 2020, 10:39 pm
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Default Re: Budgeting for Canada

Originally Posted by jproberts View Post
We're using Point2Homes and Kijiji for property for sale and RentFaster and Kijiji for rentals. We have a considerably smaller budget at $500k but there are a few nice properties which are below $400k even. My search is a custom drawn search radius around Calgary focusing on the west of Almost all of the nice properties coming up within budget are out east though, which isn't a problem for us as long as there's enough land. Generally our budget has anything from 3-30 acres. The added bonus is that car insurance, home insurance and property tax all seem lower when you get more rural.



At the moment our two boys are 2yrs and 6 months so it's just the 2 simcards for now! We're happy with our moblies so it'll be sim only for now. Their ages also help when it comes to dining out etc although the 2yr old eats about us much as us actually!



We're going to manage with one vehicle whilst we settle in and see how our finances are. I've got $200 a month for maintenance but didn't mention that in my post as it's so variable. Also, i'll do almost all of the work myself.
Insofar as acreage go, west and north is more expensive than east and south.
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Old Apr 7th 2020, 10:49 pm
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Default Re: Budgeting for Canada

That's all great advice thanks. Nice to hear from someone who's in the same position as we want to be in.

We'll have a reasonable $40-50k lump sum available to us once we decide to buy in Canada instead of renting. (Funds which we're keeping to one side until we've decided that Canada is 100% for us.) This is on top of the house down payment so the plan was that some renovations and any necessary machinery would come out of that. That's genuinely really helpful advice though about the amount of land. I'm an industrial mechanic by trade so maintaining most of our own stuff shouldn't be an issue. Would love to hear any more advice you have about having an acreage around the Calgary area though!
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Old Apr 7th 2020, 11:12 pm
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Default Re: Budgeting for Canada

Originally Posted by jproberts View Post
That's all great advice thanks. Nice to hear from someone who's in the same position as we want to be in.

We'll have a reasonable $40-50k lump sum available to us once we decide to buy in Canada instead of renting. (Funds which we're keeping to one side until we've decided that Canada is 100% for us.) This is on top of the house down payment so the plan was that some renovations and any necessary machinery would come out of that. That's genuinely really helpful advice though about the amount of land. I'm an industrial mechanic by trade so maintaining most of our own stuff shouldn't be an issue. Would love to hear any more advice you have about having an acreage around the Calgary area though!
My suggestion is that you look for an acreage with a paved driveway. If you have one with a gravel driveway then, in the winter, you will use an expensive machine to blast that gravel all over the lawn and then, at about this time of the year, you will have to put it all back again using your hands and, possibly, a rake.
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Old Apr 7th 2020, 11:20 pm
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Default Re: Budgeting for Canada

My suggestion is that you look for an acreage with a paved driveway.
That'll definitely be on our 'shopping list' for houses! Thanks for all of the feedback and suggestions so far guys!
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Old Apr 8th 2020, 12:04 am
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Default Re: Budgeting for Canada

Originally Posted by jproberts View Post
That's all great advice thanks. Nice to hear from someone who's in the same position as we want to be in.

We'll have a reasonable $40-50k lump sum available to us once we decide to buy in Canada instead of renting. (Funds which we're keeping to one side until we've decided that Canada is 100% for us.) This is on top of the house down payment so the plan was that some renovations and any necessary machinery would come out of that. That's genuinely really helpful advice though about the amount of land. I'm an industrial mechanic by trade so maintaining most of our own stuff shouldn't be an issue. Would love to hear any more advice you have about having an acreage around the Calgary area though!
OK. A shop will likely be useful for you then. One of my neighbours s a welder and manufacturea all manner of items at his place.

We have a quonset that is divided internally. One half has 4 horse stalls and a place for tack, with thei other half has asphalt and is divided so that one side is used for machinery storage and the other has a workbenches where I keep all my tools.

Like the other poster has mentioned, we have an asphalt drive so our tractor only needs a blade on the 3 point hitch to keep our drive clear of snow.
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