While not quite as expensive as Toronto or Vancouver, the cost of living in Calgary is still relatively high in some respects. Mercer's 2020 Cost of Living Survey placed Calgary at 146th out of 209 cities surveyed, making it the fourth most expensive Canadian city.

The biggest expense for expats moving to Calgary is likely to be the cost of accommodation. As decent properties are in short supply, rents are high.

Other costly expenses expats may face during their stay in Calgary will be more dependent on their own tastes and preferences. Those moving to the city with children will also need to factor in the cost of childcare when considering their budget.


Cost of accommodation in Calgary

There is a serious shortage of affordable accommodation options in Calgary. The lack of accommodation in the city has simply served to increase rents to such a level that many average families can't afford to rent property in the city, and many look to rent housing in more affordable neighbourhoods outside the city limits.


Cost of entertainment and eating out in Calgary

Luckily, most of what Calgary has to offer in terms of lifestyle is focused on the outdoors and therefore inexpensive. With an abundance of open space and parkland, expats in Calgary find they spend more time on the hiking and biking trails of the Rockies instead of splurging their hard-earned dollars at a shopping mall.

In terms of culture and dining opportunities, Calgary does lag behind more cosmopolitan cities but those who do like to eat out will find the prices reasonable.


Cost of education in Calgary

Expats relocating to Calgary with children will be glad to know that they have the option of sending their child to public school in the province at no cost. Alberta’s education system benefits from extensive government funding and some of the province’s best performing public schools are in the city. Nevertheless, childcare outside of school hours can be extremely expensive, and expat parents with little ones of preschool-going age will have to carefully budget for this.


Cost of transportation in Calgary

The cost of travelling in Calgary is quite reasonable, especially in comparison to other Canadian cities. A monthly travel pass that can be used on both trains and buses is a cost-effective means of getting around. While taxis are readily available in Calgary's city centre, they are not cheap.

While it really isn't essential to drive in Calgary, expats who do decide to have their own vehicle will find the cost of petrol is quite reasonable.


Cost of living in Calgary chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for January 2021.

Accommodation (monthly rent in a good area)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

CAD 1,220

One bedroom apartment outside city centre

CAD 1,000

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

CAD 2,200

Three-bedroom apartment outside city centre

CAD 1,600

Shopping

Milk (1 litre)

CAD 2.45

Loaf of white bread

CAD 2.50

Chicken breasts (1kg)

CAD 13.30

Rice (1kg)

CAD 3

Dozen eggs

CAD 3.60

Pack of cigarettes

CAD 17

Eating out

Big Mac meal

CAD 11

Coca Cola (330ml)

CAD 2.20

Cappuccino

CAD 4.40

Bottle of beer (local)

CAD 7

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

CAD 75

Utilities

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)  

CAD 0.30

Internet (average per month)

CAD 78

Basic utilities (per month for a small apartment)

CAD 206

Transportation

Taxi rate/km

CAD 2

City centre bus/train fare

CAD 3.50

Petrol (per litre)

CAD 1

Expat Health Insurance

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