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 Post subject: PEI Cost of living?
PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 1:59 pm 
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Joined: October 22nd, 2012, 1:34 pm
Posts: 1
I'm thinking of bring the family to PEI for an early retirement and I see in this months Moneysense that PEI has the lowest cost of living in Canada.

Now this claim is from International Living magazine, which I'm a bit wary of...so I'd like to see if anyone would help me out to see if this true?

Being a spreadsheet guy, I love to crunch numbers and I'd like to know the following. THANKS IN ADVANCE TO EVERYONE!

How much does it cost to run an average 3 to 4 bedroom detached house, rural and city(average monthly over a year).

Heating(type)
Hydro
Hotwater Heater
Insurance
Property Taxes


Are there any other costs I should pay special attention in living in PEI?

And if anybody can give me an anecdotal cost to insure their small SUV(3 years old) with a 10+ year spotless record that would be very helpful!


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 Post subject: Re: PEI Cost of living?
PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 2:08 pm 
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Joined: August 23rd, 2005, 11:52 am
Posts: 11991
Location: Summerside
This study doesn't share the view that cost of living is so low in PEI. Yes real estate prices are cheaper on PEI, but we have the highest electricity costs in Canada. We also have the lowest weekly wages in the country. Here's an excerpt from the study.
Quote:
There is a misconception about the cost of living. While it is true that to buy a home is cheaper than in other provinces, to maintain that home is very expensive. Heating and electricity costs are outrageous, and often double a mortgage payment during the winter months. In addition, the high cost of fuel combined with the limited public transportation make it very difficult for someone new to PEI to get around, find a job they can get to and afford to begin a life here.


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 Post subject: Re: PEI Cost of living?
PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 2:20 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2011, 12:15 pm
Posts: 1493
livincheap wrote:
I'm thinking of bring the family to PEI for an early retirement and I see in this months Moneysense that PEI has the lowest cost of living in Canada.

Now this claim is from International Living magazine, which I'm a bit wary of...so I'd like to see if anyone would help me out to see if this true?

Being a spreadsheet guy, I love to crunch numbers and I'd like to know the following. THANKS IN ADVANCE TO EVERYONE!

How much does it cost to run an average 3 to 4 bedroom detached house, rural and city(average monthly over a year).

Heating(type)
Hydro
Hotwater Heater
Insurance
Property Taxes


Are there any other costs I should pay special attention in living in PEI?

And if anybody can give me an anecdotal cost to insure their small SUV(3 years old) with a 10+ year spotless record that would be very helpful!


In comparison to wages, PEI has the highest cost of living in Canada. But if you look at it from a Canada view we may look to be the lowest only because of the cost of home purchase. So if your coming in with an 'away' pension then you should be ok.

Most homes are heated with oil, currently we are among the lowest for gas/oil but that is because we don't have HST yet, which we will in April 2013 so we will be at national average for that cost soon.

Property taxes are extremely high for the province in comparison to other provinces when you factor in what increases property tax value.

We have the lowest wages in Canada.

We have the highest electricity (Hydro) costs in Canada.

Insurance is cheaper for auto than average, not sure about house insurance.

Food will cost you more (we have to ship it from further away, high cost of gas means we pay more).

Smokes will cost you more than national average.

Houses are about half of what you will pay in the bigger cities, but way to high for the average wage on PEI.

Not sure about the cost of alcohol, I don't drink.

Purchasing used cars here is cheaper than national average, we have a higher supply than we do demand because we are a small province.

Some other fees are higher here than in other provinces like marriage license, registration, etc.

I have a 3 bedroom bungalow, 2 adults one pre-school child.

Heating - $400 per month (this is with a brand new energy efficient furnace that is never set above 19C)

Hydro (Electric) - $140 per month (and that is making sure lights are always off unless your in the room, unplugging unused appliances, purchasing all low electric use appliances and all that other fun energy saving practices)

Hotwater Heater - (mine is included with heating cost, most hotwater here is mostly oil/wood or electric so would be covered in other bills)

Insurance - Auto for 35 year old with no convictions/accidents $55 per month

Property Taxes - depends on where you move to http://www.taxandland.pe.ca/index.php3?number=52839&lang=E

Rent - $1200 per month for 3 bedroom bungalow (edit to add this is a rental in Sherwood area of charlottetown, this price will change depending on where you move to, other towns may be cheaper)

Food - $150-200 per week (minimal junk food, maybe one bag of cookies every two months, nothing frozen except fries)


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 Post subject: Re: PEI Cost of living?
PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 2:39 pm 
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Joined: September 5th, 2006, 8:12 pm
Posts: 1351
If you're spending $4800 a year to heat a three bedroom bungalow, you're doing something wrong. $2500-$3000 would be more on par with the average.

To buy a house, I would budget a minimum of $225,000 if you're looking to be in Charlottetown or the surrounding suburbs. At least $175,000 if you're looking at rural but within 30 mins of the city.

Property taxes.. For an average home I would say to expect to be around $1500 a year rural, or about $3000 a year in the city. Something to keep in mind - even if you go rural, but are within a small municipality, taxes can be on par with the city.

I agree with most of the other figures previously mentioned. Electricity and food are expensive.

Something else to consider - the cost of travel is higher. Getting to or from the island is not cheap. Things like all-inclusive vacations and seat sales are not as attractively priced as they are in larger centers.


Last edited by G-Unit .. on October 22nd, 2012, 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: PEI Cost of living?
PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 2:41 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2011, 12:15 pm
Posts: 1493
G-Unit .. wrote:
If you're spending $4800 a year to heat a three bedroom bungalow, you're doing something wrong. $2500-$3000 would be more on par with the average.

To buy a house, I would budget a minimum of $225,000 if you're looking to be in Charlottetown or the surrounding suburbs. At least $175,000 if you're looking at rural but within 30 mins of the city.

Property taxes.. For an average home I would say to expect to be around $1500 a year rural, or about $3000 a year in the city.

I agree with most of the other figures previously mentioned. Electricity and food are expensive.

Something else to consider - the cost of travel is higher. Getting to or from the island is not cheap. Things like all-inclusive vacations and seat sales are not as attractively priced as they are in larger centers.


I am sorry, I should say $400 over 10 months, not 12. I am on a payment plan with my oil company, and if we want to be really precise its $390 a month for 10 months.

Its a rental, that is in better shape than most in charlottetown. Not sure what else I can do to reduce it, I even put that plastic crap on all my windows for the winter to reduce heat loss through the windows.


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 Post subject: Re: PEI Cost of living?
PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 3:35 pm 
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Joined: March 4th, 2009, 11:37 pm
Posts: 1007
Location: Summerside
We have more or less "early retired" on PEI (after first doing so in not-so-urban Manitoba, coming originally from Toronto). We've found that the general rule of thumb when moving to a "cheaper" place is that real estate and *services* tend to be much less expensive but most day-to-day *products* tend to be more expensive and often a more limited selection of them. In MB, eating out was expensive because food had to be trucked from so far away to so few restaurants. Here, items need to be brought onto the island, and there are certain brand-name stores you might be used to that simply aren't on the island at all.

So if you're looking to create the cheapest overall lifestyle, it really depends whether you're content to buy an inexpensive home and put more of your money towards utilities, food. In some ways, it's cheaper to live in Toronto where utility rates are generally reasonable (not the cheapest but neither are they the most expensive in the country), rent can be expensive but you have a lot of options and if you wanted to, you could eat out cheaply at a different place every night for weeks.... but good luck spending less than $70 on a women's haircut unless you happen to be in particular little nooks of the city. Here, I had a fancy bridesmaid dress significantly altered for $20.

We cut down on our living expenses by buying an inexpensive home in Summerside walking distance from most things we care about so we don't own a car. Taxis are $6 flat rate (for 2 ppl) so that takes care of the occasional errands uptown. (We also find that cuts down on impulse spending, because we can't just duck into Shoppers Drug Mart on our way to Superstore, for example.) We also do a lot of online shopping, even for basics, so those prices would be similar no matter where in Canada we lived because many Canadian retailers don't vary their shipping rates all that much (if at all) from province to province.

It helps to think about what you plan to *do* with your time (especially if you're not going to be working full-time) and compare those costs in different cities. The cost of a rec centre family pass or golf membership might be much less expensive here, for example, and that might offset your increased food/utility costs.

With respect to food, though, we buy just about everything directly from farmers here, which we simply couldn't do in Toronto or even Manitoba. (And we haven't lived here that long and don't know too many people, so it's really easy to do. Not like MB where you just needed to know that so-and-so's aunt sold beef sides every year.) We may not always pay cheaper than grocery store prices, but the quality of food here from local farmers is simply outstanding, and we've noticed a real difference from other parts of the country. We would have moved here for the food alone!

So do add these things to your spreadsheet as they apply when comparing potential retirement places (we're spreadsheet people too, and we've been all through this ourselves!):

cable
internet
telephone
cellphone
gas for the SUV
eating/drinking out budget
entertainment budget (movies, club memberships, community activities)
travel/transportation to your common destinations (if you're a traveller)
cost of hobbies (especially if you need a steady supply of hard-to-get or shipped items)

Also keep in mind that provincial services, including health care, vary from province to province. PEI does not currently have a catastrophic drug plan, for example. I don't know which things are or aren't covered that may be in your current place. For example, Manitoba covered a TON of stuff (e.g. a certain number of chiropractic visits per year) that Toronto never did. Especially if you're not going to be employed and under a company's health plan, you'll want to think about which health services you'll want to plan for longer term.

Anyway, those are just some things that come to mind after specifically moving to a different province two different times specifically for lower cost of living.

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It's hard to keep your mouth shut / Harder still to make noise ~ Page/Robertson


Last edited by sarah11918 on October 22nd, 2012, 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: PEI Cost of living?
PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 5:02 pm 
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Almost an Islander

Joined: September 15th, 2009, 8:58 pm
Posts: 314
I live in a 4 bedroom house and my electricity bill is usually between $60-$70.


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 Post subject: Re: PEI Cost of living?
PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 5:10 pm 
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Joined: July 25th, 2007, 5:10 am
Posts: 696
Location: Charlottetown
Nomie you should get an energy audit done. $3900 is incredibly high for heating. I also have a 3 bedroom house with oil heat/hot water. I spend about $2200.00 for oil per year at today's prices.

Better yet, see if your landlord will investigate. Have you ever peeked in the attic to see how much insulation is there?


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 Post subject: Re: PEI Cost of living?
PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 5:13 pm 
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Almost an Islander

Joined: February 16th, 2012, 9:52 pm
Posts: 167
Don't forget to factor in the income tax rates across Canada:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/fq/txrts-eng.html

Might make a difference depending on where you move from.

Once I get around to retiring, I calculate it will cost me more than $3,000/yr MORE in income tax to live on PEI than it would to live in Ontario for instance.

That's more than $8.30/day surcharge. Or a two-week vacation somewhere every year that could be taken.

If you drink - you'll be in for a shock. 24 beer in Quebec is $24-27. Here its much closer to $40.


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 Post subject: Re: PEI Cost of living?
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 7:31 am 
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Joined: August 23rd, 2005, 11:52 am
Posts: 11991
Location: Summerside
sawguy wrote:
Nomie you should get an energy audit done. $3900 is incredibly high for heating. I also have a 3 bedroom house with oil heat/hot water. I spend about $2200.00 for oil per year at today's prices.

Better yet, see if your landlord will investigate. Have you ever peeked in the attic to see how much insulation is there?

Yes, that is a crazy amount to spend on oil in one year. I also have a three bedroom bungalow with forced hot air furnance and oil fired hot water heater. Our basement is finished as well. My budget plan is $189/month for 10 months, the highest it's ever been. When we moved in five years ago, one of the first things we did was put in more insulation in the attic. I would do that immediately if I were you as it will quickly pay for itself.


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 Post subject: Re: PEI Cost of living?
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 1:04 pm 
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Joined: June 2nd, 2010, 9:31 am
Posts: 347
craiger wrote:
sawguy wrote:
Nomie you should get an energy audit done. $3900 is incredibly high for heating. I also have a 3 bedroom house with oil heat/hot water. I spend about $2200.00 for oil per year at today's prices.

Better yet, see if your landlord will investigate. Have you ever peeked in the attic to see how much insulation is there?

Yes, that is a crazy amount to spend on oil in one year. I also have a three bedroom bungalow with forced hot air furnance and oil fired hot water heater. Our basement is finished as well. My budget plan is $189/month for 10 months, the highest it's ever been. When we moved in five years ago, one of the first things we did was put in more insulation in the attic. I would do that immediately if I were you as it will quickly pay for itself.


Definitely worth looking in to - I live in a two-floor house with more than 2200 sq ft of living space, and pay 1750.00 per year for oil (175.00 / month for 10 months). And I always have the heat turned up to at least 21, because I can't stand being cold.

As for the rest, I moved here from Alberta many years ago. I found that the rent here was fairly on par with what I was paying in Edmonton, but food and utilities were much more, and I started my job here (which was similar to the one I left in Edmonton) at $4.00 per hour less. I had come from having decent cash flow and being able to go out with friends frequently, and ended up living paycheck to paycheck for a long time.


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 Post subject: Re: PEI Cost of living?
PostPosted: October 27th, 2012, 8:52 am 
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From Away

Joined: July 22nd, 2011, 9:01 pm
Posts: 66
We live in a three bedroom split level in York. The basement is half finished (one bedroom and a play room, the play room has electric heat.) We have I believe about 1600sqft finished. Not sure exactly, it is a rental. We pay $850/mth rent, which is pretty good since we're only a few minutes out of town.

Heating(type) Oil. ~$2500/yr. We've only been here a year and a half so it's hard to give a good accounting as last year wasn't particularly bad. We do keep the house pretty cool. It's poorly insulated on the whole, but as we don't intend to be here more than a couple more years, it's not worth it to us to upgrade the insulation. Our landlord certainly won't since it doesn't matter to him how much the heat costs us. We use an electric fireplace for a bit of extra warmth in the living room if we want it, and even using it often though the coldest months, it didn't make any significant impact on our electric.

Hydro: $80 a month on average. Sometimes a few dollars more or less.

Hotwater Heater: It's oil, so that is part of our heat cost.

Insurance: $180/yr renter's insurance. We have a great policy, and have a prior claim (water damage) so it is a bit more than others would spend.

Property Taxes: No idea what the landlord pays. Based on the location and house, I'd guess around $1500-$1800/yr at the most.

Our utilities and food costs are significantly higher here than they were in Ontario. Rent and daycare significantly less.


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 Post subject: Re: PEI Cost of living?
PostPosted: October 27th, 2012, 9:37 am 
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Joined: December 30th, 2008, 9:41 pm
Posts: 1398
Location: Queens County
I think when you consider similar locations in other provinces the average cost of living will be quite close. It balances out for the most part. The quality of the life you can have is probably the biggest factor that should play into whether or not to retire on the island.


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 Post subject: Re: PEI Cost of living?
PostPosted: October 27th, 2012, 9:58 am 
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Joined: April 17th, 2007, 5:56 pm
Posts: 3559
Location: Provincal Capital
You should consider the healthcare system we have. Hope you are healthy if you move here to PEI.

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 Post subject: Re: PEI Cost of living?
PostPosted: October 27th, 2012, 10:24 am 
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Joined: October 27th, 2012, 10:05 am
Posts: 19
I live on PEI and if I did not have ties here I would leave due to problems with the medical system here. There are currently over 8,000 people without a family doctor and it just keeps getting worse. Even those with family doctors are waiting as long as four to six weeks to get appointments. Many medical services that are provided in other provinces are not available here. PEI is a great place to live unless you need medical care.


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