An $18,451 Vancouver budget, in pictures!

-Written by Steph

Do you have a hard time picturing what an $18,451 Vancouver budget looks like, other than eating SPAM while living in a cave? This is the post for you! For the first time ever, I’m attempting to create an illustrated version of our annual spending, which was $18,451 for 2016.

Housing – $9518, $793/month

The only way to manage this one is to live in a tent in the bush and chop wood for heat, as below:


Just kidding. We actually have a nice little apartment. We live in a downtown non-profit housing co-op. This means that there’s no landlord, the building operates at cost, and we each put in a few hours a month of volunteering to help run the place. Here’s what our place looks like in reality:


It’s 400 square feet, but we have cool space saving features like this Murphy bed that help make it feel downright roomy:


Moving on to our next largest category of spending…

Food – $3665, $305/month

This is an easy one. I spend a lot of time in here:


This is my favourite kitchen I’ve ever had. I especially like the big window and balcony door that clears out smoke quickly if I set anything on fire. Well, I don’t really do that much these days, but it’s nice to know that there’s a contingency plan. Anyway, I cook most of our meals, and also do a lot of baking. Here’s our fridge on a Sunday night, all packed full of leftovers to bring for lunches through the work week:


And here’s some of my fun baking projects, starting with $200,000 cookies:


And continuing with ninja-bread maple cookies:


We also grocery shop with this thing, minus the cat, because it has great carrying capacity (40-50lbs!), and fits on the bus:


Finally, we’re both vegans. Here’s some cool veggie meatballs and burgers we picked up in Iceland to illustrate that:



Shopping – $1413, $118/month

This encompasses everything from computer parts to underwear. It was heavily skewed towards replacing Cel’s computer in the summer, when it died suddenly. We basically just don’t buy stuff, outside of replacements. Who needs matching socks, anyways?


Entertainment – $1004, $84/month

Most of our entertainment is free or cheap. I don’t have any pictures of discounted concert tickets, but I promise they exist! We do things like hiking:


And jumping in waterfalls:


And I also do ballet (badly):


Bills – $938, $78/month

Here are our sexy, modern phones, which were around $50 each to buy new. Our plans cost us $22 and $29 a month, and have basic talk and texting (and caller ID/voicemail etc.), which is all we need.


Other than that, we just have cheap internet through a small local provider.

Personal Care – $701, $58/month

Want to get your personal care costs this low? Try this!


And yes, I sewed that badass cape myself. We don’t buy a lot of personal care stuff, and I cut Cel’s hair. Not wearing makeup helps a lot to keep this one low.

Everything Else – $1209, $100/month

Finally, that little category at the end that encompasses all the random shit that doesn’t fit nicely anywhere. This is fairly evenly divided between public transit fare, our gym memberships, and this guy, who eats like a horse and makes funny faces in his sleep:


And that’s it – our illustrated guide to living in Vancouver on under 10K/person/year. Hopefully you enjoyed getting a sneak peek into our lives!


  1. Pingback: The Other Ben and FIRE, or One Final Note About Income – Unconbentional

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