The Number One Reason Being Canadian Is So Expensive

Say goodbye to social outings, and say hello to Netflix and chill

I don’t know if you’ve heard much about Canada *waves passport*, but we are full of fun, extravagant things (like syrup and beavers). We like to do things a little bit differently, such as calling a 401k an RRSP, proclaiming that the letter “Z” is pronounced “zed”, and putting bacon in and on (literally) everything. We’re super cute. And we’re honestly pretty great neighbors if you’re lucky enough to have us.

But for those of you who already knew all of that (thanks for reading my blog, mom), there is one part of being a Canadian that is eternally expensive.

And, it’s coming. Winter is coming (lol guys, I'm hilarious today).

Now, I’m sure some of you are thinking: "Alyssa, it’s a season. How can a type of weather cost you that much money?"

Well, before I get into the good stuff. Let me tell you what they’re predicting of my provinces' winter this year:

They call it, La Nina.

AKA, this:

The Calgary Metro area will see above average snowfall in this La Nina winter. We will see below normal temperatures overall, with January coming in as the coldest month. 

Normal Snowfall129 cm

This Winter (2016-2017)140 cm


Anyways I'll get back to my point. Which is that winter is expensive. In fact, it's one of the most expensive parts of my year. I even have to budget to save money for it. That's right. I have a category of savings for a season. And here's why:

  1. Winter jackets

Do you know how much money I have spent on winter jackets in my life? Me either. But it’s a lot. I basically need a new one every year because I wear mine out almost constantly. I mean, I need the coat every single day, because I have to walk outside to live my (super glamorous) life. And without a winter jacket, you could almost honk a horn slower than I could get frostbite (which is really fast, unless you don't have as much experience honking horns as me).

Average cost: $200

  1. Winter tires

Yes, for those of you who are lucky enough to avoid heavy snow, icy roads and blizzards on your morning commutes, there are tires specifically made for the winter season. And they’re pretty much a must. If you’re willing to risk it with your all-seasons, or never leave your driveway with summer tires, all the best. Although, I do love seeing the one guy who didn’t change his summer tires to winter tires in time (every single year) try to drive uphill.

Average cost: $400 every 3-4 years

  1. Heat

I am finally lucky enough to live somewhere that includes all utilities in their rent. Sadly, it’s not uncommon to see rental listings in Canada that do not include heat primarily due to the alarming cost during the winter months (which are almost all year btw). Your best bet is to fireplace up or buy a lot of blankets if you’re trying to save money. It’s never an easy change to the household budget, that’s for sure.

Average cost: $450/year (1000 sq.ft place)

  1. Gas

So apparently some vehicles come without heaters in them? I mean, this is news to me. In Canada, we decide to opt out of air conditioning if we’re trying to cut costs on a new vehicle. But a heater? NO WAY. Gas costs in the winter month’s tend to go up. A lot. Not only because you’re using your heat (erryday), but also because you have to start your vehicle to get the motor (and your toes) warmed up before you hit the road. I’m actually getting cold just thinking about it.

Average cost: An extra tank of gas per month

  1. Window scrapers and shovels

Although these aren’t annual costs for everyone, they tend to be for me because I have a really great personality trait called “impatience”, and it coincides perfectly with window scrapers and shovels. Why, you ask? That’s easy. Because I break them after about 2 minutes of doing work outside (dressed in 15 layers, sweating but freezing) before having to do that work all over again. Whoever made the bylaw that front sidewalks must be shoveled within 24 hours didn’t think about what should happen if it consistently snows for 24+ hours.

Average cost: $20

  1. AMA memberships

Although not required, for the amount of incidents and roadside accidents that happen in Calgary during the winter, this expense is almost always worth it. I can’t tell you how many news stories I’ve read or heard stating that there had been over 200 call-ins or collisions before 8AM one morning, or worse. It’s always nice to be able to call up a company to come to your rescue (although you should still expect heavy wait times).

Average cost: $125/annually

  1. Sidewalk salt

For those of you who are lazy and hate to shovel (like me), salt is one of those expenses I can always find room to justify. After all, why shovel when you could just dump a bucket of magical melting powder that turns the sidewalk into slushy slop that if you don’t shovel afterward turns to ice and causes a liability on your front porch? Oh, wait…

Average cost: $10/bag

  1. And how could I forget? Winter boots

Last but not least, the one thing essential to surviving winter in all its glory: boots. Another item of clothing you basically have to wear every single day as soon as snow starts to fall, because, again if you’re like me (klutzy AF) you can’t risk slipping on icy sidewalks, or freezing your itty bitty toes. They’re expensive, boxy, and almost always soak through.

Average cost: $200

Of course there are other expenses that turn up each winter (including mittens, toques, etc.), but we don't have all day. After all, I need to enjoy what little time is left of my precious fall weather.

The good news about winter? You save money on basically everything else. Mostly because it becomes perfectly acceptable to hermit up and hibernate forever. Say goodbye to social outings, and say hello to Netflix and chill.

What’s one reason your city is expensive to live in that wouldn’t affect others? Let me know in the comments!