Two of my friends Nadine and Dan from New Brunswick arrived in Vancouver on Saturday afternoon. They packed up their car in Freddy and had begun driving across the continent (Canada) arriving in Vancouver 15 days later. Wow! I’m so happy to have them both here staying with Eric and I until they settle in. Yes, this isn’t just a trip it’s full-on-move-to-the-big-city from small-town New Brunswick.
The issues they are facing are similar to my own when I arrived here three and a half years ago; namely, finding a place to live and applying for jobs. This is NO small feat to accomplish in Vancouver. When one goes about searching for an affordable, livable and decent rental property or apartment one is met with having to give your life story, credit and banking information and on top of that competition for the precious few places where one can actually afford to live in. Being from out of town does not make this search easier. The questions are endless. If you work at a minimum wage job here in Vancouver you make $8 an hour or $16,640 yearly. Not bad. However, a one bedroom apartment will cost you between $700 to $1100 to rent. If you can’t afford that rental price you are stuck renting a room for between $300 to $500. There is also a bed bug epidemic.
So lets say you are renting a one bedroom apartment at $700 monthly. That is $8,400 yearly. Half of your gross income is spent on rent even before the government takes it’s share of 21%. The governement will take $2000 roughly for federal income tax, provincial income tax, Canada Pension Plan (CPP), contributions and employment insurance premiums.
You only have $6,240 left to buy everything else that one needs to sustain themselves. A one zone bus pass good for a month costs you $69 or $828 yearly to ride transit here in Vancouver only in ONE zone. On average you will pay $45 for power bi-monthly (only IF you have heat and hot water included in your rental payment)alignlef” yearly. You are left with $4872 or $13.35 a day to live on. Do you find this scary? I do. I haven’t even taken into account food, clothing, toothpaste, toilet paper and everything else one would need to survive here in Vancouver.
$13.35 is the cost of a lunchtime meal for many people. I thank Canada though for providing universal healthcare to all it’s citizens (this is a very good thing). Ah… yes one last thing ad another $40 monthly or $480 yearly for phone service. $12.03 left now daily. That is the cost of 2 latÃ©s. What would you spend the twelve bucks on? And what happens when you have debt payments such as student loans, credit cards or god forbid would like to have a child.
I am not complaining but rather just thinking about all this stuff lately. It just makes me wonder.
Here is some reference material for you number crunchers out there.