Cost of Living in Calgary

In a modern world where people have a better ability to choose their homes than ever before, more and more people are moving to Calgary and other locations within Alberta. Over the past decade, hundreds of thousands of newcomers from Canada and beyond have decided to make Alberta their new homes.

lovely bakery with fresh bread

If you are considering a move to Calgary or another Alberta city, you likely have questions about what the financial picture in the area looks like. While specific circumstances and market factors vary, you can generally assume that $200,000 will buy you and excellent home in a neighborhood of your choosing.

Here we look at the cost of living in Calgary, Alberta.

Food and Health Products

fresh fruit and vegetable at market

For those focusing on day to day costs of groceries, meals, and over the counter medications, Calgary offers a slightly better deal than other Canadian cities. Calgary averages about 4% less expensive in these areas than areas like Edmonton for example. Milk, dairy, and produce are especially cheaper in Calgary, with prices varying the most in these areas. One pound of apples in Calgary, for example, is approximately a dollar less expensive than the same type of apples in other cities.

Common medications and hygiene products such as deodorants and tampons tend to have similar margins. Things like luxury purchases such as meals at restaurants or alcoholic beverages tend to be less expensive.

Housing Needs

While the actual day to day cost of living provides an advantage to residents of Calgary, it also offers less expense for major real estate or rental decisions. Rent prices are less expensive in Calgary almost across the board, ranging from 2% to 11% lower than the equivalent apartment in Winnipeg for example. Buying a house has a similar rift in prices, with Calgary homes being slightly less expensive than their Winnipeg equivalents. However, the items that you put in your home, ranging from furniture to televisions, microwave ovens, and other appliances, all tend to cost less in Calgary.

Transportation

bus picking up passengers at bus stop

Calgary, like many Canadian cities, has a good public transport system. The system features light rail transit (the C-Train), regular and low-floor buses, and community shuttles. There is also a shared ride, door-to-door transportation service for those with disabilities living in Calgary. Calgary Transit bus routes cover most of Calgary’s main roads.

The C-Train is reliable and crosses the city from some of the suburbs into downtown Calgary. The C-Train is powered by electricity generated on windfarms.

Within downtown, you can also travel free on the C-Train.

Outside downtown, there are free park-and-ride car parks featuring free plug-in block heaters for C-Train and bus users. These heaters are needed in cold weather to keep car engines warm so they can start without hassles.

The C-Train stations aren’t enclosed, which makes for some very chilly waits in winter. Having a car is very advantageous in Calgary. The C-Train is definitely a very good resource for newcomers, but with colder temperatures it’s not always convenient.

Utilities

You will need to set aside money in your budget to cover these essential services.

  • Heat - most homes in Canada are heated by natural gas, oil or electricity.
  • Electricity - your home will also require electricity to power lights, electronic equipment, appliances and air conditioning units.
  • Water - if you live in or near a city, the municipality will charge a fee for providing water and sewage services.

Communications

  • Telephones - You can buy your own telephone, or rent one from the telephone company. Major home phone companies are: Rogers, Bell, Shaw,Telus and Primus
  • Average Cost of Telephone (Monthly): $20 - $40 plus long distance charges.
  • Cellular phones - Many Canadians have a cellular (cell), or mobile, phone instead of or in addition to a land-line. You will need to purchase a phone and pay for the monthly phone service. Major cell phone retailers are: Rogers, Bell, Fido, Telus, Virgin Mobile, Windmobile, Mobilicity, Publicmobile, Solo and Koodo.
  • Average Cost of Cell Phone (Monthly): $40 + Cost Initial Cost of Phone
  • Cable or satellite television - you may need to purchase cable or satellite service. There is a monthly fee for such service, and it usually varies depending on the provider, the scope of the package and the options you choose.
  • Average Cost of Cable (Monthly): $25 - $50
  • Internet - Many Canadians subscribe to an Internet service, which allows them to surf the web or send emails from their home computer. You can purchase Internet service from most cable or telephone companies.
  • Average Cost of Internet (Monthly): $20 - $60
Average Household Expenses in Calgary.
Food $8,073
Shelter $1,495
Household operation $4,377
Household furnishings and equipment $1,963
Clothing and accessories $3,158
Transportation $10,80
Health care $2,511
Personal care $1,113
Recreation $3,987
Education $1,411
Income taxes $11,486
Personal insurance payments and pension contributions $3,758