Here, we take a look at how much you should really be spending on rent and food and what you can do to lower these fixed costs.
How much should I be paying per month on food?
Eating. Groceries. Cooking. We all have a love-hate relationship with food for a myriad of reasons. Planning your next meal can sometimes be fun, while other times, not so much. No matter how or where we consume it, we’ve all wondered: am I spending too much on food?
There’s no one size fits all answer to how much should be spent on groceries since how much food you need varies from one household to the next. Your food needs may be different from those of your neighbour: for example, a family of two adults and four children will have different needs than a person living alone.
The Credit Counselling Society estimates that you should spend between 10 to 15% of your budget on food. This means between $4,000 and $6,000 per year for a person earning $40,000.
If you feel that your food expenses exceed this percentage, here are some tips to help you spend less in this category:
1. Cook in large batches: This not only saves you time but also prevents you from wasting food. You also avoid buying pre-made meals during your busier times.
2. Avoid pre-made meals: Cooking for yourself is not only healthier but also better for your wallet.
3. Shop around for specials: Always be on the lookout for price reductions to save money. To do this, try using the Flipp app, which scans local grocery store specials every week.
4. Avoid processed foods: These are generally more expensive than raw foods. It’s also better to chop, grate or grind food yourself to save a few bucks.
5. Plan your meals for the week and make a list: Having a plan will help you manage your expenses and budget your grocery spending.
Am I paying too much for rent?
Housing expenses (rent, utilities etc.) are a significant part of everyone’s budget, so it’s important to pay close attention and how much you’re spending on them every month.
Rent prices vary from one city to another. For example, the average price of a one bedroom apartment in Vancouver is 2,100$ per month, compared to 1,350$ in Montreal. So, be sure to use comparables with the options offered in the same city.
To make your search easier, try using Zumper. It’s both a search tool for available apartments and it analyzes their prices.
If you think you’re unable to find an apartment or rent price that fits your budget, you can always try house hacking: find a friend,relative or colleague to share your apartment.
This will not only reduce your rent costs but also allow you to split other bills, like heating, electricity, internet—and even some grocery expenses.