Living in Toronto the Financially Smart Way

Financial difficulties can fall into the lap of anyone at any time. A sudden change in employment, health issues, family matters, and more can disrupt someone’s way of life and require a period of recalibration.

If you’re ready to face your debt and want to put an end to the collection calls and stress, then it’s time to team up with the financial professionals at David Sklar and Associates.

Simply visit our homepage and you can start to quickly see what services are available to those with financial difficulties who are looking for a way out.

As it stands, Canadians around the country are worried about the economy, especially as it pertains to mortgage rate increases, debt repayment, and a high cost of living. Couple that with high-interest rates and the normalization of debt and it can be difficult knowing what financial decisions to make.

Without expert advice, there’s no way to know what the best course of action is for seeking debt relief. You might not even know what a firm like ours can do for you. If you’re looking for support to help you get out of debt, then you could use the helping hand of an experienced professional.

This article will cover ways to improve your lifestyle to head towards a debt-free future. To actually take the legal steps to address debt in the form of bankruptcy or a consumer proposal, you will need to do so through a professional. Don’t be afraid of making a change. You’ll be thanking yourself down the line once things start to turn around.

It’s easy to visit our head office in Toronto and to meet face to face with a knowledgeable and empathetic credit expert who can give you the advice and information you need to make a decision about your debt.


The city of Toronto is known for being an exciting, safe, and accessible place to live. As a home to a multitude of universities and colleges, it’s a prime location for students to live and study. But everyone knows that student living comes with its fair share of financial woes.

After all, students are learning how to live on their own and budget for the first time all while paying for tuitions that can be pretty steep.

High Tuition

Students face high tuition rates and a difficult renter’s market in the city, so it’s important to have a strong support system and a budget for managing your finances.

Observation Period

For those who are learning to budget for the first time, you can try a simple three-month observation period where you spend as you usually would for your usual living costs, luxuries, and miscellaneous expenses.

Use a Budgeting App

Use a budgeting app to track your spending during those three months and at the end of the observation period, categorize your spending and see where your money actually goes. You’ll be able to see how much you spend on the essentials and how much might be going towards frivolities that you could do without. From there, structure a budget that will work for your lifestyle and make it a priority to regularly save money.

Payday Loans

There is no singular, steadfast secret to living debt free in Toronto. You have to be committed to making financially smart decisions on a regular basis and you need to have a healthy relationship with your finances. Out of those who turn to Licensed Insolvency Trustees (formerly known as bankruptcy trustees) for help with debt relief, many individuals are seeking help after having tried to stay afloat using payday loans.

The Trend

When you’re under serious financial stress and struggling to make your regular bill payments, it can be quite tempting to rely on payday loans to cover costs. In fact, out the most commonly used loan products in Ontario, payday loans represent an increasing share of the province’s insolvent borrowers. In 2018, 37% of insolvencies were attributed to payday loans, a notable increase from the 32% in 2017. Between 2011 and now, the number of Ontarians who use payday loans has tripled.

The Larger Issue

These trends are symptomatic of a larger issue between Canadians and debt loads. The numbers are also quite troublesome when you consider that just under half of the people who turn to payday loans do not understand the interest rate they are being charged. Without the money to repay a payday loan, the sky-high interest rates only work to further complicate a person’s debt and cause more problems down the line.

Avoiding PayDay Loans

With all that in mind, it makes sense that one of the most important things you can do for living debt free in Toronto is to stay away from payday loans. Some of the latest figures from the Bank of Canada indicate that in the average Canadian household, the debt for every dollar of its income is over $1.70. Debt can grow quickly and it’s a common problem for many, but payday loans do not offer true relief. It’s best to avoid them and look to alternatives for debt relief.

Credit Card Use

It’s pretty easy to slide into trouble with unsecured debt when using credit cards. The high-interest rates and easy way to make purchases often spell out trouble for those who do not (or cannot) make full payments on time. That’s why one of the ways to reduce your debts while living in Toronto is to pay the full balance on your credit card every time you receive a statement.

If you are unable to make the full payment, then that’s a sign that you are living beyond your means or that you budget is not adequately distributed. It means that you need to make an adjustment to your spending behaviour in order to avoid collecting even more debt in the form of interest charges.

Responsible Credit Card Use

Responsible credit card use can have highly beneficial effects on your financial profile. When you pay the full balance on your card on time, not only do you avoid the extra interest charges but you also build good credit. Effectively, your credit card can work like a debit card where you only spend what you have and the funds come out of your account as you go. This is a great strategy for those who have credit cards that collect points or offer cashback rewards.

You can put purchases through the card, but those purchases are within your means, you aren’t borrowing anything you don’t have. That way, you can collect points that can be put towards travel or necessary costs like groceries or gas and you build your credit score, too. With this good credit score, you’ll be looking at more favourable loan terms down the line, better mortgage rates, and more.

Living Expenses

Do you know the full extent of your living expenses? There’s a lot to consider and sometimes more than we account for. What’s more, Toronto is known for being an expensive city with a high cost of living, so it’s essential that you have full knowledge of how much it costs you to maintain your lifestyle.

Cost of Living

In 2018, some sources were reporting that the cost for a single person to live and rent in Toronto was $1,672 per month on average. This number is a significant $300 more than it was last year.

When the rule of thumb of personal finance is that the amount you spend on rent should be no more than 30% of your overall monthly income, these numbers can be a little daunting.

In fact, it’s been said that it’s more realistic these days for the amount an individual spends on rent to be 50% of one’s gross monthly income. Just one glance at a rental service provider will show that the prices of various rental units in the city are quite high. For instance, a one-bedroom condo averages at around $1,919/month for rent, a one-bedroom apartment can cost around $1,683/month, a studio or bachelor is not much less at $1,600/month, and sharing a two-bedroom condo with a roommate ends up costing each individual $1,486/month.

Cutting Down on Living Costs

With all that in mind and the predictable costs of living expenses, those who wish to live debt free in Toronto should never borrow money to cover basic costs. It can be difficult to cut down your living costs, especially when it already feels like you’re stretched thin. But if you are in a position where you are borrowing for basic living expenses or even turning to short term loans to cover costs, you need to look for ways to trim down your spending even further.

Impulse Shopping

One way to cut down on your everyday expenses is to reduce impulse shopping. You can do so by understanding your own spending behaviour and knowing the triggers that lead you to an impulse buy. Try following the 24-hour rule for things that you want to buy that suddenly catch your eye. If you are compelled to buy something that is not a part of your regular spending budget, hold off on the purchase for a full 24 hours. When the time is up, you’ll be in a different mindset in regards to the purchase and likely will find that you do not need the item as much as you originally thought.

You can cut costs by choosing to shop smart by foregoing convenient fast food in favour of fresh produce according to your grocery store’s specials. Learn to differentiate between your must-haves and want-to-haves when it comes to your food, and try to trade out your trips to Whole Foods for trips to the No Frills. Cutting down on living costs might also take the form of otherwise more serious changes to your lifestyle such as downgrading your living arrangement from a home to a smaller apartment or rental.

Trade Your Car

If you have substantial car payments to make, then it could be time to trade your car (and the associated car payments, insurance costs, and gas spending) for a transit pass and a trusty bicycle. Owning and maintaining a car in Toronto isn’t cheap, and you never know when an unexpected car cost like a flat tire or faulty engine could end up setting you back. With the cost of car ownership and parking in the city, switching from a car commute (20km per day, 5 days a week) to public transit can save you easily $300 per month.

Start Saving for Retirement

If you are in a position where it feels like you can barely keep up with your current expenses, saving for the future might not even seem like a possibility. Too often we get caught up in trying to make ends meet with our everyday living costs that we delay the need to save, promising ourselves that we will finally open that tax-free savings account (TFSA) or Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) as soon as things hit smooth sailing.

The truth is, however, that saving money should be a priority as long as you are generating an income. Long-term financial success is based around smart savings decisions, and one big thing that you can do to ensure that you can retire in comfort is to start saving for your retirement right away if you aren’t already. As it currently stands, only about half of working Canadians are saving for their retirement.

Don’t get left behind. Part of a debt recovery plan is the promise of being able to make fruitful investments one day. Invest in an RRSP to start saving for your retirement as soon as you can. When meeting with a credit consultant to discuss how you’re going to solve your debt problems, mention that you want to make saving for retirement a priority. Your trustee can help you come up with a budget and savings plan that works with your income, living costs, and long-term financial goals.

Avoid Debt Consolidation

You may be tempted to turn to a debt consolidation loan since it can look like the ideal solution. You get a loan to pay your debts and from there you have some much-needed breathing room to recover and then pay back the debt consolidation loan. But the lenders of these loans often use aggressive advertising techniques targeted to those who are already struggling with debt. When you’re in that position, you’re vulnerable and might not see the red flags of this type of debt relief route.

Debt consolidation works like this: a lender such as a bank or debt consolidation company loans the individual a lump sum to pay down unsecured debt like credit card bills or payday loans. But these loans come with incredibly steep interest rates, some as high as 30%, which can only mean more trouble down the line.

Leave Debt Behind

You want to get out of debt. You have to address the situation at its source and take a course of action that will lead you towards debt relief one day. A debt consolidation loan is much like a payday loan, it might work in the short term, but it’s not the best solution for the long-term.

Your bankruptcy trustee can guide you towards your long-term financial goals. It’s entirely possible to live without debt one day. It just takes a committed attitude and the right help from skilled bankruptcy trustees to lift those who struggle with debt out of money troubles and into the green. Don’t wait any longer to take charge of your finances, schedule an appointment with a bankruptcy trustee today.

Take Your First Step Towards A Debt Free Life

If you are overwhelmed by debt and live in the Toronto area, call us at 416-498-9200 to book a FREE, confidential appointment. We will review your financial situation in detail and discuss all of your options with you. Alternatively, you can fill out the form below and our team will reach out to you. 

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Ready to live debt free?

The best decision I've made was to contact David Sklar & Associates, they are experts in this matters and also have dedicated Licensed Counsellors that provide the best customer support, like Rhoda Lewis, who I highly recommend. She worked tirelessly on my case, explaining ever detail to me willingly. She demonstrates a true interest in her clients. I appreciate how she patiently walked me through what to do, step by step. I now have control over my finances, as a result my life is much more peaceful and I can focus on what matters. Thank you!
Nilda H.
20:18 16 Jun 22
Very helpful and friendly! I am more than satisfied with my experience here. And more than happy with the outcome! Would definitely recommend .
Peggy Bulger
15:10 14 Jun 22
Jerry at David SKLAR helped me thoroughly understand my options and made me feel at ease. If you are looking at this type of service/help, I 100% recommend you give them a call.
Colleen H
12:50 14 Jun 22
Rhoda is a wonderful person, She help me and guided me throughout the process. I couldn’t do it without her support and expertise. Now I can start fresh and full of hope of a better life ahead of me.
ariezel erandio
21:33 06 Jun 22
The service I recieved from David Sklar and Associates was great. I was able to meet with Christin Sylver. She is kind, understanding and, professional. She was able to answer all the quesions that I had regarding my debt. At the end of our meetings, I felt that there is a heavy burden lifted from my shoulders. I recommend Chistine to anyone who is looking into debt relief.
Aliya H
12:11 04 Jun 22
Jerry is a very patient person, he answered all my questions and made this experience so smooth and easy for me. I was not sure what to expect but dealing with him made me feel so much better. He sure knows what he is doing and how to put people at ease for sure (should have done this long ago). I recommend him to anyone I am so glad I had him on my side and now to do my part. Thanks Jerry ur greatPattie
Patty Murphy
21:34 18 May 22
Rhoda Lewis helped me achieve a fresh start two and half years ago! She was very professional with a very warm, caring personality! I emailed her today with a question and she responded quickly. She's great at her chosen profession!!
Debbie Livingston
01:24 11 May 22
Nothing but good things to say about Jackie. She was so nice and so understand and everything was so quick and easy. In a matter of a week, there was the solution that I never thought was possible. Thank you so very much for everything that you have done. ❤️❤️❤️
Cassandra Keenan
21:05 10 May 22
I was in a lot of debt and stress, Jackie Stanley with David Sklar & Associates was very professional, and extremely helpful with getting out of debt. I should of did this sooner, they take the all the weight and stress of a persons shoulders, amazing team at David Sklar & Associates!!
Hubert Z
03:08 10 May 22
Jackie helped me out during a really tough time and she made the entire process very easy and painless. I highly recommend reaching out to her if you find yourself in any financial trouble. You won’t be disappointed!
prettylush 13
02:42 10 May 22