God, you people are all cheap bastards. Every last one of you. Y’all make me sick.
Sorry, I was talking to the teens that have camped in my backyard. Do you guys have any ideas of how to get rid of them? I’ve tried nothing and I’m all outta ideas!
Many nearly-financially independent folks who JUST CAN’T TAKE WORKING FOR THE MAN ANYMORE, DAMMIT do themselves a little geographic arbitrage, moving from an expensive city (like Toronto or Vancouver) to somewhere like Thailand. Or Mexico. Or Costa Rica. As long as it’s warm, cheap, and filled with many beautiful ladies, you’ll find a good supply of retirees of all ages regularly soiling their Depends. Yes, I am implying a 30-something retiree wears Depends. Are you really retired if you don’t?
But a lot of people don’t want the aggravation of moving to a whole new country. You have to deal with a long and annoying immigration process. Simple stuff like going to the grocery store is suddenly more difficult. Hell, even navigating streets that are all labeled in some weird language is a pain in the ass.
So let’s look at geographic arbitrage another way and see just how inexpensive you can live without leaving the country. Just where is the cheapest place to live in Canada, anyway?
According to my crack research squad (four parrots who only know swear words and a dead kitten), the cheapest cities are located in the eastern part of the country, primarily eastern Quebec and New Brunswick. Ah, New Brunswick. We meet again.
Like Shawinigan, Quebec. The small city in eastern Quebec has approximately 50,000 people and is a short two hour drive from Montreal. It boasts industry like an Alcan aluminum plant and a pulp and paper plant. Unfortunately, the city has been slowly shrinking since the 1950s.
But we don’t care about that. All we care about is cheap living, baby! And Swawinigan delivers, with average rent for a two-bedroom apartment hovering at just $476. I did a little Googling and it’s hella easy to get into a half-decent place for less than $500 per month.
Seriously, Quebec. You guys need to list your real estate like the rest of us. If it has three bedrooms, just call it a g.d. three bedroom place. This isn’t hard.
Other places in Quebec are pretty damn cheap, too. In St. Georges the average two-bedroom place will set you back a mere $515 per month. Victoriaville’s average is $525 per month. Trois-Rivieres (more like manage-a-trois AMIRITE, GUYS?!?) offers an average price of $587 for a two-bedroom apartment. And so oh. These small cities are hella cheap.
Okay, but what about a real city with public transport and whatnot? The cheapest of the six largest metro areas in Canada is Montreal, but the average two-bedroom place is going to cost you north of $1,000 in Canada’s most European city (sorry, Guelph, but Montreal just edged you there).
Without a doubt the cheapest place to live in Canada will end up being some obscure small town nobody has heard of. I don’t doubt you can get your own place for less than $300 per month in some little bullshit place on the prairie that shouldn’t even exist. $300 in Toronto doesn’t even get you a shitty parking spot in Scarborough.
Here’s an 848 square foot house located in Hanna, Alberta, for the low price of $49,000. If you took out a standard 25-year mortgage to buy the place your mortgage payment would be approximately $200 per month. It’s a 15 minute walk from a grocery store (but only five minutes to a liquor store!), and it’s super close to the hospital and arena if you’d like to get a little part-time work action to further stretch your retirement dollars.
But we can get cheaper! Here’s a three-bedroom house in Heisler, Alberta, a place I assure you actually exists, for the low price of $29,900. That includes the lot and everything. Sure, it’s not a great place — the 70s called and want their wall paneling back — but do you really care if you get a whole g.d. house for the price of a car?
Yes, it’s in the literal middle of nowhere. It’s 45 minutes by car to the town of Stettler or the city of Camrose. The nearest grocery store or hospital is like 20 minutes away. But we have Amazon Prime and Walmart.ca. These websites will ship all the necessities of life right to your door. And for free, too! Assuming you hit the $39 minimum, that is.
Think about how little you’d spend if you lived in Heisler. You’d have no mortgage payment since only the poors can’t scrounge up 30 grand. I know you’re not poor because the FU servers automatically punt such people. Utilities would be $500/month, max. Property taxes would be $75 per month; house insurance would probably be around the same. (Remember, house insurance is optional when you don’t have a mortgage.) Even including a weekly trip to Camrose to keep you sane (they have strippers) I think you could still live for $1,500 per month for everything. Easy. You could even be cheap and get it down to $1,000.
Want more? I saved the best for last. $27,000 gets you this fixed up two-bedroom bungalow in Prelate, Saskatchewan, a village of 126 people located 12 km east of Leader. Leader has all the amenities an early retiree needs, like a couple grocery stores (gotta comparison shop, yo), at least one gas station, and a hospital. Prelate is also home to the Islamic Academy of Saskatchewan, which is home to approximately 100 male students looking to learn the ways of Allah. No, rural Saskatchewan isn’t an odd place for such a thing. Why would you even bring that up?
It’s time to end this
The cheapest place to live in Canada is undoubtedly some tiny village in the middle of nowhere, which comes with its own set of problems. But we don’t care about that, at least for this blog post. All we care about today is getting your cost of living down to virtually zero.
It turns out it’s possible to live on a third-world income without even leaving Canada. And let me tell you from experience, these villages are tight-knit groups. They take care of each other. Will you get the same thing in Bangkok? I doubt it.