The Real Cost of Living in Vancouver (July 2019)

There are so many reports stating how Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities to live in Canada and there are other various articles breaking down statistically how much it costs to live in Vancouver. This blog post is breaking down my own personal cost of living in Vancouver as a millennial who works full-time while living in Downtown.

  • Rent – $1,195 for a studio apartment in Downtown Vancouver (this is 29% of my full-time income after taxes, you should pay 30% of your household income before tax)
  • Groceries – $180
  • Dining out – $752 (includes 10 orders of Uber Eats at $129)
  • Coffee – $120 (note: I do a lot of freelance work in coffee shops)
  • Home – $547 (includes Apple subscriptions, NYT Digital subscriptions, pet supplies)
  • Gym – $60 (note: Anytime Fitness membership, it’s a 24/7 gym with over 4,000 locations around the world)
  • Debt Payments – $4,481 (!!!!)

This month is really dedicated to paying off credit card debt, I anticipate to pay off all my credit cards before mid-September. Credit cards and credit score is a huge part of purchasing a home and obtaining a good interest rate, so this is the focus of my expenses for the next few months. With that being said, it is currently not following my previous post about how much to save each month.

I will be projecting my cost of living report for August and September will be very different from this report.

This is full break-down of my July expenses and income.

July 2019
Full-time Job$4,120.00
Hard costs – must pay
Rent $1,195.00
Phone bill$65.00
Utilities $13.00
Variable costs
Dining out $752.00
Transit $78.00
Home $547.00
Charitable donations$56.00
Bank charges $144.00
Debt Payments $4,481.00
Student Loan Payments$250.00
Travel (flights)$308.00

How to Protect Yourself After the Capital One Data Breach

I am one of those Capital One customers that was affected by the data breach. I first heard about it through the news and I was shocked!

Capital One claims that there was ‘unauthorized access by an outside individual who obtained certain types of personal information relating to people who had applied for our credit card products, and to Capital One credit card customers.” The unauthorized individual has accessed data including:

  • Social Insurance Numbers of approximately 1 million Canadian credit card customers
  • Customer status data, e.g., credit scores, credit limits, balances, payment history, and contact information
  • Fragments of transaction data from a total of 23 days during 2016, 2017 and 2018

These are 3 things you can do to protect yourself after the data breach:

  1. Activate Purchase Alerts

You should activate real-time purchase alerts to protect yourself from fraudulent charges if your credit card or debit allows it. You will get a notification on your phone if there were any charges, even if you made them. This will also alert you if there were any fraudulent charges. If someone hacked into your account, you will get notified and call your credit card company immediately. DO NOT wait many weeks or months to deal with fraudulent charges because your credit card company will give you a hard time, trust me.

2. Take advantage of free credit monitoring and score reports

I actually check my credit score every two weeks or at least every month when I get notified. In Canada, there are 2 agencies that provide your credit report, Equifax and TransUnion. For some reason, the scores are not identical and sometimes they’re off by a few points. Which doesn’t make a big difference overall if your credit is in the same range (e.g Fair, Good, etc).

I actually use Credit Karma, which uses TransUnion. Credit Karma will update your score EVERY WEEK, and you can see what the credit score companies are rating including your:

  • Accounts – any credit card accounts including those open and closed.
  • Installment loans including student loans.
  • Open loans – includes cell phone bill.
  • Collections – if you have fallen behind on payments, it will be sent to collections.
  • Bank Accounts – if your bank account was closed or if you have a record for bad cheques or insufficient funds.
  • Public Records – include any bankruptcies or legal judgments
  • Credit Inquiries – including if you applied for a new credit card or any hard credit inquiry.
  • Personal Info – your name, employment info, addresses.

3. Freeze your account

If you have multiple cards and can afford to not use one. I would recommend freezing your credit card in these situations. IT will be helpful to prevent others from having access to your reports without your consent and hackers from successfully applying for credit in your name.

Ecolab: Top Social Responsible Stock to buy

It’s the end of the 2nd quarter and this is a great Social Responsible Investment stock to buy for the mid-year.

Ecolab Inc (NYSE:ECL) is the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies. In 2018, Ecolab helped companies at nearly 3 million locations around the world:

  • Conserve more than 188 billion gallons of water, equivalent to the annual drinking needs of 650 million people. Ecolab is ahead of schedule toward reaching its 2030 goal of saving 300 billion gallons of water. This is equal to the needs of one billion people.
  • Save 19 trillion British thermal units (BTUs) of energy
  • Avoid 2.4 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Eliminate 54 million pounds of waste

This is a great Social Responsible Investment stock to buy because it has increased by 57% and year over year. On average it’s increased 10% per year.

Ecolab has also ranked 34th on Corporate Knight’s list of World’s Most Sustainable Corporation.

Why invest in this Social Responsible company?

The reason to invest in a global water company is simple: WE NEED WATER. We need water to survive and many of us take water for granted. We think there is unlimited water supply that comes out of our taps but it isn’t all clean and usable.

What are the challenges in the world right now?
According to Groundwater Association, only 0.3% of water is usable by humans. Even though 71% of our planet is covered in water. Water is actually a rare commodity and should be treated like any other natural resource like gold and silver.

The global usage of water is exponentially increasing every year. According to UN Water, our “water use has been growing globally at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century”. There are many opportunities for organizations to solve this current epidemic. They state that “Integrated water resources management provides a broad framework for governments to align water use patterns with the needs and demands of different users, including the environment.”

What is the Social Responsible Business Model?

The business model of Ecolab is quite simple. They work with global giants as customers and provide their expertise in water as a solution. To summarize a few of their business segments:

Global industrial customers – Ecolab provides water treatment and cleaning and sanitizing solutions primarily to large industrial customers. Their customers include manufacturing, food and beverage processing, chemical, mining and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Global Institutional customers – Ecolab also provides specialized cleaning and sanitizing products. Their key customers include foodservice, hospitality, lodging, healthcare, government, education, and retail industries.


Ecolab is a great Social Responsible Investment stock to purchase and will be a great asset for the coming years.

How much should you save each month?

Ever wonder how much to save each month when you get paid?

This is a very popular method of how to manage your personal money through the 50/30/20 Rule. This just means dividing up your net income (after-tax income) into the 3 categories.

50% Need:

This is defined as the expenses that you NEED to survive. It will include your rent/mortgage payment, utilities, cell phone bill, groceries, and anything else that you need to pay monthly — the hard costs.

30% Wants:

This is defined as expenses that are not vital to your daily life but are nice to have. This includes dining out, entertainment, clothes/shoes, Netflix subscription.

20% Savings / Debt:

This is defined as funds for yourself, either your personal savings or paying down debt (credit card, student loans or personal debt).

An example of how this works for an annual income of $65,000. According to, for my income in British Columbia, Canada, my net take home pay per month is $4,365 or $2,182.50 per paycheque every two weeks.

50%$1,091.25Rent, groceries, bus pass
30%$654.75Dining out, home purchases, entertainment
20%$436.50Credit card and student loan

What is Sustainable Investment?

According to EY, the sustainable investment trend is being driven in part by people like myself, millennials. We are children of baby boomers and are the next wave of young professionals seeking to invest funds in sustainable methods.

The report by EY states that millennials will receive more than $30 Trillion of inheritable wealth and sustainable investments will grow from that demand.

Sustainable Investment is also known as “Social Responsible Investment” (SRI), which includes environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment decisions.

Individuals who invest sustainably choose to invest in companies, organizations, and funds with the purpose of generating measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Impacts are spread across various sectors, from renewable energy and climate change, to health, safety, and community development.


Sustainable investing has experienced a compound annual growth rate of 107.4% from 2012 to 2014 and have tripled since 2008.

Millennials are incorporating sustainability 

  • 29% of investors in their 20s and 30s seek a financial advisor that provides values-based investing. Millennials rank this priority third in a list of nine identified priorities.
  • Millennials are achieving greater integration of their money and values by seeking personal fulfilment in their careers, applying a global consciousness to purchases and investing in sustainable, impactful business models.

The Future of Sustainable Investment

Financial Services Firms must prioritize advisor awareness of millennial values and assure advisors are fully trained and equipped with the tools required to have meaningful discussions around sustainable investing.

Firms most adequately prepared to address sustainable investing and the intergenerational wealth transfer together will not only capitalize on the acquisition of new clients, but also effectively serve their current client base.

If you are interested in Social Responsible Investments, I recommend using Wealth Simple App because its a simple way to learn more and invest using their robo app.

Disclaimer: The link provided is a referral link.