30 Different Expenses You Might Have Once In Canada

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American Dollar, U.S.A

Today, I’m excited to present you a guest post by Guillermo, a new Canadian originally from Argentina, who lives in Ottawa with his familya. Guillermo writes in Spanish and in English about his experience as an immigrant to Canada. Enjoy!

A few days ago I remembered all the things I had to buy during my first weeks in Canada. That “initial setup” at the beginning can sometimes be expensive… or not. no everyone arrives to Canada with the same amount of money, some people decide to leave some stuff behind and others just decide to move as much stuff as possible. The fact is that we all need to address a series of major expenditures that we must prioritize not to fall into bankruptcy too soon.

So, here are 30 things you may need to buy upon your arrival

  • This is not shopping … but it has to be paid: The rental deposit of your first “home” in Canada … It may be up to three months in advance. That can hurt!
  • And the rent too!
  • Some bed(s) or, possibly, mattresses
  • Sheets, blankets, pillows, bedding …!
  • A table and chairs
  • A TV… or radio.
  • Cutlery, plates and glasses (which can be disposable at first)
  • Phone service (mobile or land)… that will have to be paid every month!
  • Internet Service… in this country you cannot be disconnected! Along with the phone, are a “must have”!
  • Of course… you need a computer.
  • And perhaps a printer, if someone asks for a resume by fax or regular mail
  • Opening a bank account also has its cost.
  • The monthly or weekly public transport pass
  • You may chose to buy a car
  • And if you did you’ll have to pay insurance …
  • …And other related expenses!
  • A Translation Service you may need for some paperwork
  • Having to do errands every day means being away from home… and at some point you have to eat or drink something, right?
  • Long distance calling card.
  • If you have children you may want to send them to a “day care” or “service de garde”
  • Some new Ikea furniture or used ones from the Salvation Army to locate some of the many things you brought.
  • Children always want a toy… are you going to say no?
  • Ooops! Season change! You need new warm clothes!
  • Ooops! Season change! Let’s go for winter tires!
  • Ooops! Season change! Heating goes up!
  • Think about all you may need to face the Canadian winter and you don’t have!
  • Small every day things like washing and drying clothes in the coin operated laundry room of the building  or routine purchases at the supermarket.
  • The low cost French language course for immigrants because the government french classes will not be available for the next 6 months

And the list goes on and on…

You may wonder how can you estimate all this before arriving? Well, let me tell you it’s not simple. But the resources are online: search for supermarkets websites, read newspapers and classifieds online, look for utilities prices… everything can be done on-line and you may have an idea of what may be needed .

Many of these things can also be bought at low cost in the used market (Salvation Army, Comptoirs, garage sales , Kijii, etc.), but still, as I said above, when you arrive in a tight budget, everything may be a major expense and should be prioritized.

And you… how did you “invest” your money on your arrival? And if you are still in your country… what are you plans?

Guillermo, or Mr. G if you want, is a father of three and moved with his family from Argentina to Canada in 2005. He’s the editor of The Zieglers blog, where he shares their experiences as immigrants with a particular point of view. You can visit them at http://thezieglersblog.com


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Too true too true, many of the same expenses here when one migrates. While others are the high price of being a grown up 🙂 Things were much easier when we were kids!

  2. don’t forget the hot water heater rental
    in the USA we didn’t have to rent it! We owned it!
    It does kick ass though! (tankless water heater)

    also don’t forget the milk jug! The milk is in bags here and it took me hours to find one!

    I’ll talk to you soon, since you’re back from your “EUROPEAN TOUR ’10”

  3. Moving is such a headache!
    Probably it’s best to stay put? Ha ha…

    I always wanted to move away from Malaysia…
    But after staying in England for too long; seeing so many different countries.
    The best country is my home country. After all, there’s no place like home.

  4. @Mr. G – No worries, this is a great post!

    @DianeCA – I agree, kids don’t need that much and adapt easily!

    @Rich B – Oh yeah, the milk jug… I don’t drink much milk but come to think of it, I wouldn’t know where to buy the jug. Dollar store?

    Yes, let’s meet soon now you are settled up North. I’ll show you how to build and igloo and get rid of your American accent, eh.

    @London Caller – It depends where home is I guess. When the home you are given at birth doesn’t suit you, looking for another home looks like a good idea!

  5. It’s a very good post that makes think how much money we could need in advance before getting a job. When I moved to Ireland, I was quite “optimistic” and I didn’t have so much saving so, I faced tough months.

    Now I realise that Canada is not the same case. It’s not so close and flight tickets are not so available if you’re out of money!

  6. Ah, memories… we didn’t have money at all so it took us years to assemble all the things we needed. Somebody gave us a dinosaur television (embedded into a piece of wooden furniture!) and we put it on a sturdy cardboard box – it stayed there for year and a half before we could buy a piece of furniture or a new TV. Light years away from a flat screen TV we could afford much later. Guillermo, very nice post indeed – you forgot just one thing: insurance! There are so many kinds of it you suddenly need in Canada. The more material things you own, the more insurance you need.

  7. When I left Paris to move to San Francisco I only took two trunks. One with my clothes, the other with books and records, that’s it. I had planned to stay in San Francisco two years then go back to France. Luckily, through a German friend I found a roommate who had a fully furnished apartment, then I found a job. I did not have a car but in San Francisco you did not need one. On my first job I was paid about $300 a month – can you believe it? Of course that was in the 60s. I got a check every 2 weeks and sometimes I forgot to cash it as I did not need the money since I only spent it on food.

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