Here are some basic figures about living in Halifax:
The RENT we pay: 950 (Canadian) dollars a month, including heat and hot water, and wireless internet which is not working for the past few days. This is for a 1-bedroom flat plus a den. A den is an additional space, as big as a small bedroom, which can be used as part of the living room, or can be partitioned off to make an extra bedroom. We use it as an extra bedroom. Further off (much further away from the university and downtown area), you can get two-bedroom flats for as little as 700 dollars a month.
Closer to downtown, and the rent for a 1 bedroom plus den would go over 1000 dollars. Some landlords refused to rent a 1-bedoom (with or without den) to a two-children family, saying we had to rent a full two bedroom. Others didn’t care.
For TELEPHONE: About 38 dollars a month for a cellphone line. We didn’t get a landline, which would have been another 20-30 dollars.
For ELECTRICITY: About 40 dollars a month.
For DAYCARE: After the Government’s subsidy, parents have to pay about 164-184 dollars for EACH child. That’s another 380 dollars a month.
For TRANSPORT: Leasing the cheapest new car would cost around 200 dollars a month. To buy, you can go from 500 dollars for a 1984 car which “still runs” to the sky. Add to that, the price of parking (37 dollars a month outdoor paking in our building), insurance and gas (still no idea). Public buses cost 2 dollars for each ride. Children are free. Cabs cost about 5 dollars for a five-minute walk. From our place to downtown is a 20 minute walk.
GROCERIES: We do a major shop about once a week, costing over 200 dollars. This includes proteins and meat goods, enough for about eight meals for a four-person family (fish, chicken and meat), salad greens and groceries enough for about five days, and a variety of light snacks, bathroom items etc as needed in the household. A bottle of no name olive oil costs about 10 dollars.
To SET UP the house: we shopped around 4 times at Walmart to get the necessary equipment to set up the household: basic utensils, dishes, vacuum cleaner, towel etc. Each time, we spent over 200 dollars.
CLOTHES: You can get clothes cheaply enough at the sales rack in Sears and Walmart. Prices are favourable compared to Iran. A pretty ladies’ tee-chirt costs 8 dollars in sale. Children tee-shirts for as little as 4 dollars.
The GOVERNMENT of CANADA considers 20,000 dollars to be an adequate sum for a family of four to live for a year in Halifax. I beg to differ.