Cost of living

The costs of living in Waterloo depend on a student’s lifestyle.

The costs listed below are intended as a guideline of prices for accommodation and other living expenses. Students usually spend most of their money during September, when the school term begins (tuition, books/supplies, first and last month’s rent, etc.).

Estimated cost of rent

Lease terms are usually 4, 8, or 12 months. However, it is not unusual to see 48 month (4 year) leases in Waterloo.

Housing type Estimated rental cost*
Room/shared accommodation  $485 per month
Bachelor apartment $580 per month
1-bedroom apartment   $804 per month
2-bedroom apartment $950 per month
3-bedroom apartment   $1350 per month
Full house    $1463 per month

*The average rental cost in Waterloo is $601 a month, including utilities. Keep in mind this can vary depending on the location, style and condition of the property.

Subletting

If you sign a 12-month lease but do not intend to live there for the full 12 months, you may need to sublet your place. In the summer term you may have to accept less rent from a subletter and make up the difference yourself, so be sure to factor this cost into your budget.

Utilities

Utilities may or may not be included in the cost of rent.  If you are living with roommates, you will be dividing the cost of utilities amongst yourselves.

  • electricity (hydro) / heat / water:
    approximately $35  -$75 per person per month

Transportation

Local bus transportation is provided by Grand River Transit (GRT).  If you drive a car, you must consider parking fees and gas expenses. uWaterloo provides the Yellow Bike Program which allows students to loan a bike for a fixed term fee.

  • Student Bus Pass is included in your tuition fees
  • Parking on campus: $140 - $160 for 4 months
  • Gas expenses: $50 - $125 per month depending on driving frequency and distance to campus
  • Yellow Bike rental: $25 per term (4 months)

Phone / TV / Internet

Costs of these services should be divided amongst roommates.  Some services require initial set-up/installation/connection fees and/or modem purchase.  You can save money by purchasing phone/cable/internet bundles from a service provider (BellRogers)

  • Phone: $15 - $50 per month depending on rate plan and long distance calling
    • Plus installation charge ($60)
  • Cable TV: $30 - $100 per month depending on channels ordered
    • Plus installation charge ($50)
  • Internet: $22 - $100 per month depending on connection speed
    • Plus modem purchase ($100 - $200)

Food

Cost of food expenses depend on whether you will be cooking your own meals at home, buying meals at food outlets, or purchasing an off-campus meal plan.

  • Groceries: $120 - $350 per month
  • Off-Campus Meal Plan: you can put $10 - $1000 on your Watcard, which can be spent for as long as you are a uWaterloo student.

Laundry

Laundry facilities may or may not be available within your living arrangement. If they are available but not included in the cost of rent, you must consider the cost of coin-operated laundry machines. 

  • Coin-operated laundry machines (Laundromats): $20-$60 per month

Entertainment

To relieve stress from schoolwork, you must balance it with leisure.  There are many inexpensive ways to enjoy a social life. Expenses such as going to the movies, shopping, shooting pool, or social time with friends at a local pub, should be considered in your budget.

  • $100 - $250 per month depending on lifestyle and social interests

Miscellaneous

Leave space in your budget for unexpected costs.

  • Extras: $50 - $150 per month

Sub-total

Depending on your lifestyle, interests, and lease agreement, your monthly budget (not including rent) could range from $500 to $1200.