Save. Spend. Splurge.

How much will working cost me in Toronto versus Montreal?

As you all may have read, I gave up a $250,000 contract in another city to stay local and at home every night with Baby Bun.

I was pretty bummed about the whole situation, but I do feel that I’ve made the right decision because I love seeing Baby Bun grow by leaps and bounds (even if I am currently still itching to go back to work ASAP..)

(As a side note, sometimes, I even think he understands what I am saying when I tell him it’s time for babies to nap or go to sleep.)

Anyway, I thought I’d do a financial comparison of freelancing in Ontario versus Quebec.

Since I don’t have a car (donated my last one to charity), I have the option of taking public transit (if possible), or buying a car.

I did the preliminary budgets for both, and the two major budget busters are DAYCARE and CAR INSURANCE.

See below.


  • Rent, Food and “Other” (the rest of the budget stuff) stays the same between both cities
  • Everything is my half, my partner pays for the other half, so the daycare amounts you see for instance, are my half only
  • My income is not a factor in this because it fluctuates, but suffice it to say, it’s worth it for me to work.





Yes, the rest of Canada, EAT YOUR HEARTS OUT.

In Quebec, they have government daycares at $7/day, which is about $154 a month. It sounds great and all, but the waiting lists are LONGGGGG. People sign up to be on these lists while they’re pregnant or sometimes EVEN BEFORE they get pregnant.


I had no idea, so I didn’t even look into this stuff until after Baby Bun was born, and I signed up for every $7 daycare within a reasonable radius of where we’re living, but it looks like private daycares are where it’s at until I can find a spot for him.

Private daycare in Quebec can cost the same as in other provinces, at around $1425/month or on average $65/day, but the government acknowledges that it’s ridiculous and subsidizes it based on your income:


I am a freelancer who controls her income, so I can choose to take out as much or as little as I want in any given year. I am planning on staying under the income range listed there to get the maximum advantage of that 75% subsidy until I can find a $7/day daycare for Baby Bun.

We’re going to try and keep our household incomes under $34,000, but even if we go up higher, it isn’t so bad, even at the $93,000 range. 60% subsidized means at $1425/month, it will only cost us $570/month or $285 each.

Depending on if I have to buy a car or take the bus, I may need to take out more money, and subsequently, receive a lower daycare subsidy.

Not too shabby.


I’m also exploring the possibility of having to buy a car and drive it to work because it may be located in the middle of nowhere (so I can’t use public transit)… or just because I don’t want to take the bus in the dead of winter.

Aside from having to also spend about $2000 – $10,000 on buying a used car, this is what it’ll cost me on a monthly basis:



So here’s another great perk of living in Quebec, the car insurance is way cheaper.

I guesstimated my insurance would be about $300 a month, and comparably speaking in Quebec, it would only be around $28 a month, or $300 a year for basic car insurance.

You just can’t beat that.

I’ve only really had car insurance in Quebec so I’ve never had to feel the pain of paying anything over $300/year, but I’ve heard horror stories.

Even if it’s only $150 a month, it’s still way more expensive than in Quebec.

So.. those are my budgets. I can expect to spend about $1700 – $2100 a month in net living expenses.

The $500/month for “other” is actually quite low, considering household expenses, household equipment, and Baby Bun needs, but I can make it work if it means I get to work.

If my partner is not working, I’m going to transition having him stay at home with Baby Bun (unless we manage to snag a $7/day daycare spot), and save the cost of daycare there.

There you have it.

How much does it cost for you to go to work?


  • atinuke

    Hi, I just joined your blog and I love you and your work.$ what you do is inspiring. Especially for those of us who just relocated here and don’t know much about the system. I am curious about what you do, could you do a blog on that, to help inspire people like me who is a stay home mum and looking to do something with herself. Your job sounds intriguing, tho I don’t know what you do.

  • Helen

    As long as the political climate doesn’t affect you too much, Bonjour Quebec indeed. 🙂

  • femmefrugality

    Holy moly is Quebec cheap! I pay almost half of your yearly car insurance premium in one month! And that’s the cheapest quote I could get without sacrificing the coverage we need as a family. And $7/day daycare….man. Around here, we only have private but some government assistance money if you’re below a certain income level. The competition for the daycares you’d actually want to send your kids to is fierce, much like your government run ones.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      The super basic coverage in Quebec is very cheap. I never take anything more than that with theft and so on because my car is usually a beater car. No one wants to break into it. 🙂

      The daycare competition is so fierce I am wondering if there’s a business to be made in all of this.

  • Alicia @ Financial Diffraction

    Doesn’t Quebec also have the highest taxes in the country (speaking from someone who pays the second-highest). So will the tax difference come into play as to how much you actually bring home? Granted, everything is in the “many hundreds” cheaper versus likely a $100 difference per month in tax.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      It doesn’t matter to me because as I mentioned, I’m a freelancer, so I control my income which means I control my taxes.

      In addition, I also take my income in dividends, and I am taxed very favourably as a result.

      See, my corporate tax is about 20%, then whatever I take out as dividends as a salary, gets taxed as my personal income… I can just take out a low amount. *shrug*

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