Understanding the cost of living can help you budget for renting off-campus. Estimated expenses for living in the Greater Toronto Area (where St. George campus, UTM, and UTSC are located) for 2021 are listed below. Remember to use the U of T Planning Calculator to set up your monthly budget!
Housing: $1,000 – $2,700/month
This amount ranges depending on the location and type of housing you choose. A general tip is that housing costs increase with amenities: private units, units with appliances like dishwashers or washing machines, units close to public transportation, units with services like a gym, pool or concierge, typically cost more. Sharing is a great way to save on costs!
In this case, hydro refers to the cost of electricity. The baseline delivery cost is typically a minimum of $50 a month, and can increase depending on how much electricity you consume. Large appliances like a dishwasher or washing machine, as well as running an air conditioner or electric heating can drive up the cost. There is no cap on how expensive hydro can be, which can lead to bills that are hundreds of dollars, so consume energy wisely.
Typically, other utilities like water and gas are included in rental costs.
Internet: $50 – $100/month
Telecommunications providers often have discounts for students. Make sure to ask!
Phone bill: $40 – $100/month
Canadian cell phone plans are notoriously expensive, but there are some affordable mobile service provider options in the GTA.
Tenant’s insurance: $15 – $30/month
Tenant’s insurance is important. It can cover your liability if you accidentally damage your unit or if another person gets injured in your home. It also acts as contents insurance to replace your belongings if they get lost, stolen or damaged. It may also cover the cost of temporary relocation if you need to move out while a repair is being done in your unit.
U of T students get a discount with TD Insurance but you are encouraged to do your own research. If your parent or guardian owns a home in Canada and you are considered a dependent, their insurance may extend to cover you while living away from home.
Food & grocery: $40 – $100/week
This amount ranges depending on your personal needs. Many neighbourhoods have a range of grocery stores, some more affordable than others.
Transportation: $0 – $128.15/month
If you live close to campus and have no need for transportation, you may have no transportation costs at all. Living further from campus can be one way to save money on rent, but you should plan for transportation expenses to get to campus. Toronto’s TTC system, which includes buses, subways and streetcars, has per-use prices as well as an unlimited monthly cost.
If you are commuting from outside of Toronto, you may use public transportation services like the GO Transit train service or the MiWay bus system which have additional costs. Conveniently, all three transit systems use the Presto card payment system, which you can set up when you arrive in Toronto.
Most students do not own cars or drive to campus. If that is your intention, you will need to budget for associated expenses like car maintenance and repair, as well as parking at both your place of residence and on-campus.
Clothing & shoes: $25/month
While you may not have clothing expenses every month, you will have occasional clothing and shoe needs that you may wish to budget for. The Greater Toronto Area (where all 3 campuses are located) experiences four distinct seasons, with temperatures regularly as high as 30°C (86°F) in the summer and as low as -25°C (-13°F) in the winter. Proper clothes, including a warm coat, scarf, hat, weather-rated gloves and boots for walking through snow, are necessary to be comfortable throughout our long winters.
Monthly entertainment & other expenses: $150/month
This expense includes restaurants and take-out, hobbies, social activities, movies, monthly subscriptions and anything else not covered in the other categories. This value is an estimate and you should adjust if it does not represent your situation.
Books & supplies: $500/semester
You will likely have additional expenses beyond your tuition related to your courses, such as books, supplies, lab equipment, electronic devices and other technology.
Emergency funds: $500
Emergencies happen. We encourage you to establish funds for yourself that can act like a buffer if you have an urgent need, such as an unexpectedly large hydro bill or an unforeseen travel expense.