how to save money

5 ways you can save money as a millennial living in Toronto

It's not easy to save money in an exorbitantly expensive city like Toronto, especially not for millennials who've been economically effed over by the very same generation that birthed them and must now help them afford shoebox condos.

House-having baby boomers have long griped about the "lazy" and "entitled" attitudes of people who, going by the most popular delineation, are currently between the ages of 25 and 40. "Why don't you work harder? Why do you keep renting?" they say. "Why do you eat so much avocado toast?

"I already work 70 hours a week," we reply. "I rent because it's the only option. And why don't YOU stop eating so much avocado toast, huh? Now please give me $100,000 for a downpayment on this quadruplex in Scarborough."

No offence to the grownups, but most of us under-40s don't seek financial advice from people who could buy literal mansions (read: detached houses) in downtown Toronto for less than $200,000 when they were our age.

I don't think many people are keen to take advice from a 30-something writer who calls older people "grownups" either, but here are some tips gleaned from your fellow millennials for saving cash while living in Toronto.

Take them with a grain of pink Himalayan salt.

1. Move in with someone

Even with lockdown-induced price drops, a decent, well-located apartment or condo tends to cost more than the average youth in Toronto can afford on their own — not if they want to have any money left over at the end of the month for saving.

Living with another person means you only pay half the rent and utilities. Many have been known to stay in crappy relationships for way too long due to this. 

Ideally, you can find a cool roommate, friend or significant other to split the rent with. I'm not saying you should shack up with your new flame of three months or anything, but... it happens around here. A lot.

2. Ditch your car already

Yes, it's nice to have wheels when you want to go to IKEA or get mad groceries, but between the TTC, Uber, walking and bikes, the vast majority of downtown millennials barely use their whips.

Not only could you make a few bucks selling the car you used to get around in university, you'll save thousands upon thousands of future dollars in car payments, parking fees, insurance and tickets.

3. Make your own damn avocado toast

Okay so it doesn't have to be avo toast (though that sh*t is easy to make and delicious), but cooking your own meals at home can save you a small fortune if you're used to using Uber Eats multiple times a week.

Challenge yourself to recreate dishes from your favourite restaurants or, for the culinarily challenged, keep it simple with a few healthy go-to dishes you can batch into multiple meals.

Salads, sandwiches, soup, eggs, pasta, freaking filet mignon — these are all things you can easily make with ingredients from the grocery store at a fraction of the price you'd pay for restaurant food. Eating out can be a fun hobby, but doing it too much can really set a person back financially

4. Start keeping better tabs on your money

It's difficult to save money when you don't really know how much you have, owe, or are spending regularly. Personal finance blogs and podcasts can give you some guidance, but there are also tons of apps available that make it easy to track expenses and plan budgets for yourself.

5. Embrace vintage

Why buy a brand new lamp at IKEA when you can score the same one barely used at a thrift store for pennies on the dollar? The world of second-hand goods has never been more exciting, with endless online options including Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, Craigslist and a whole wealth of second-hand clothing and decor resellers on Instagam.

I'd stay away from wood (bed bugs), but once you score a normally-expensive appliance for like, $10 on Kijiji, you'll question how you ever bought anything full price again.

Bonus: Sell your own unused, good-quality items on any of the above platforms to declutter and earn some coin. The buyers are out there for almost anything.

Lead photo by

Clement Lo

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