How Much Money Should I Bring to Canada?

How Much Money Should I Bring to Canada?

After getting your acceptance letter from a Canadian college or university, you need to prepare to travel to Canada. And one of the most important questions that bug an international student before they move to Canada is, “How much money should I bring to Canada?” And we are here to help you determine the amount of money you need to take with you.

It would be best if you had an idea of your living costs before you move to Canada so you can prepare your finances. You also have to prove to the Canadian government that you can finance your expenses while you are here. If you are planning to do a part-time job along with your studies to cover your expenses, note that it will take some time for you to get a job. Therefore, you need to be prepared to cover your expenses during that time. 

To know how much money you need to bring to Canada, you need to understand how much you might need to spend on various things apart from your tuition fees. Please note that the costs might vary from province to province. Let us break down the expenses to help you determine how much money you should bring to Canada. 

Living Expenses of International Students

Accommodation Costs 


The cost of accommodation is dependent on the type of accommodation you choose. Most colleges and universities provide accommodation on campus. But some international students prefer off-campus accommodations like shared apartments, unfurnished rentals, etc. Here is a summary of the accommodation costs in Canada:

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AccommodationCost (per month)
Dormitory350 CAD-600 CAD
Unfurnished Apartment Rentals300 CAD-500 CAD
Shared Apartments250 CAD-800 CAD
Homestay400 CAD-800 CAD

Cost of Food 

The international students living in dormitories are offered an option of a meal plan, so they don’t have to worry about cooking their meals. The ones who opt for homestay also don’t have to worry a lot about their meals as cooking would be done by the host family. 

International students staying in shared apartments or unfurnished rentals will have to cook their own food. Here are the prices of some of the basic food items you’ll need.

Milk2.96 CAD
Chicken Breasts8 CAD
Eggs (a dozen)4.74 CAD
Tomatoes (2 lb.)4.36 CAD
Apples (2 lb.)4.27 CAD
Cheese (16 oz.)9 CAD
Potatoes (2 lb.)2.79 CAD

Transportation Costs

public transport

Public transport in Canada is very safe as well as efficient. Canada has a number of means of transportation, such as public buses, subways, trains, etc. A great thing about being a student in Canada is that you can get discounts on transportation by showing your student ID card. 

Here is an estimated average amount of money you would need to spend on transportation in Canada:

Means of TransportCost
Local Bus (Monthly Pass)90 CAD-156 CAD
Taxi (1 km)1.19 CAD- 4 CAD
Taxi (1-hour waiting, normal tariff)25 CAD- 60 CAD

Health Insurance

Health insurance is another important factor that you need to consider while determining your expenses. Canada is known worldwide for its free health care, but a large portion of it is reserved only for its citizens. Health care is expensive in Canada for international students; therefore, you need health insurance. Some provinces provide health insurance to specific groups of international students either for free or for a fee. 

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If the province you are going to study in does not provide health insurance, you will have to avail private health insurance. Some of the popular private health insurance plans are as follows:

Insurance PlanCost
AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan264.63 CAD for 12 months
iMED225 for the first 3 months
BC MSP Program75 CAD per month

Books and Study Materials


The cost of books and study materials is another factor that international students need to consider while determining how much money they need to bring to Canada. You might be required to spend from 500 CAD to 1,000 CAD on books and study materials.


Apart from the expenses on transportation, housing, health insurance, etc., you will also have to set aside money for leisure, clothing, etc. Miscellaneous expenses can range from 500 CAD to 1,000 CAD. 

Other Things to Note

You won’t get a part-time job as soon as you land in Canada. It will take some time. So you need to have money to cover your expenses incurred during this period. So make sure you have enough money to take care of at least twelve months of expenses. It is advisable to have at least 10,000 CAD in your bank account.

You should transfer the money to your bank account in Canada. But the transfer of money to the Canadian bank account will take some days.

You need to have some amount of cash with you when you’re moving to Canada. But many international students prefer to carry a MasterCard as it is more convenient and is accepted worldwide. 

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If you carry more than 10,000 CAD, you must declare it at customs. Otherwise, it will be confiscated by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).

You will have to provide proof of funds to show that you can finance your expenses while in Canada. You will be denied entry to Canada if you fail to do so.


How much cash can I carry to Canada as an international student?

You can carry any amount of cash with you while travelling to Canada as an international student. But if you carry more than 10,000 CAD with you, you will have to declare it at the customs office. Or else, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) will confiscate your cash, and there is also a risk of getting penalties.

Is Canada very expensive for international students?

You will have to spend a considerable amount of money to study in Canada. The tuition fees of an international student are much higher than that of domestic students. But if you compare the tuition fees and cost of living with other countries like the USA and Australia, Canada is pretty affordable.

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