A TikToker Slammed Canada For Its High Cost Of Living & What $70 Worth Of Groceries Got Her

"Literally half my paycheque goes to groceries."

Meelayna Moran on TikTok. Right: The skyline of downtown Calgary.

Meelayna Moran on TikTok. Right: The skyline of downtown Calgary.

If you're frustrated with the cost of living in Canada, you certainly aren't the only one.

A TikToker has gone viral for her rant about just how expensive everything has gotten, focusing on a $70 grocery bill that left her in disbelief. Judging by the reaction, just about everyone knows exactly how she's feeling.

Meelayna Moran posted her now-viral video on TikTok last week and her honest take on the cost of living in Canada has since been viewed close to 900,000 times and counting.

The 26-year-old starts the minute-long video by explaining that she lives in Calgary, Alberta before launching into how Canada's "serious inflation problem" has left her frustrated and struggling to keep up.

"I just got back from doing groceries and I have $70 worth of groceries on my table right now," she explained. "I genuinely don't even know what I purchased that made it to $70."

Meelayna didn't show what she bought at the grocery store on camera but it's certainly no secret that the cost of groceries in Canada has gone up significantly in 2023. Several other social media posts like this have gone viral already this year showing just how much a small bag of groceries or one pack of chicken can cost.

On top of that, a fair share of frustration on social media has been directed at some of Canada's biggest grocery chains, namely Loblaws and its outgoing President and CEO Galen Weston. It's no wonder Loblaws came in second-last place in a new ranking of the most respected grocery stores in Canada.


Literally half my paycheque goes to groceries alone 🥲 #canada #inflation #costofliving #fyp

As for the cost of groceries, Statistics Canada's Consumer Price Index for the month of July showed that price growth has slowed, but still, grocery store prices were up 8.5% for the month compared to 9.1% in June.

Compared to July of last year, the price of bakery products is up 9.8%. On the positive end of things, the price of fruit is starting to look slightly better.

"Prices for fresh fruit rose 4.1% in July, following a 10.4% increase in June," read the report. "The deceleration was driven by the largest month-over-month decline (-6.5%) since February 2008. This decline was largely a result of lower monthly prices for grapes (-40.9%) and oranges (-1.8%)."

In her struggling to afford life amidst these rising costs, the TikToker, who posts a variety of thrift shopping content, said she broke down in tears days earlier in front of her parents while she was trying to create a budget for herself.

"I'm working, like, three jobs right now," she said in the video, while the caption of it reads, "Literally half my paycheque goes to groceries alone."

"I'm not saving anything," Meelayna continued. "The cost of living is outrageous in Canada (...) It's brutal out there."

The comments on Meelayn's video were full of others sharing similar feelings but also some who were surprised to see her complaining about the cost of living in Alberta.

"The fact that Calgary is supposed to be more affordable," one person wrote, likely alluding to the fact that shopping in Alberta comes with the advantage of no sales tax. Perhaps they're even referencing the "Alberta is Calling" campaign, where the provincial government has tried to lure people to the province from more expensive cities like Toronto and Vancouver. Among many things they advertise to be "better" in Alberta, the cost of living and affordable housing were two main focuses of that marketing campaign.

"It’s hard because Calgary is truly such a great city, I love living here," Meelayna wrote back to someone in the comments. "But it’s slowly becoming less affordable which sucks :/."

While the struggle is certainly real, Narcity recently had Canadians share some of their best grocery shopping hacks that help them save money, so that might help you find some new ways to save. We've also done several store-by-store comparisons of stores like No Frills and Food Basics, Metro and Sobeys, and Loblaws and Farm Boy to find out how the similarly priced stores stack up to one another.

The average rent in Canada isn't any better

Still, the cost of groceries is just the tip of the iceberg for some.

"Dude the rent right now… it’s horrendous," wrote another in the comments of Meelayna's TikTok video.

The average rent in Canada just reached a record high of $2,078 in July, according to the latest report from rentals.ca.

"Rents increased 8.9% annually, the fastest pace of growth of the past three months," reads a section of the report. "The 1.8% increase in average asking rents over June represented the fastest month-over-month growth of the past eight months."

Looking back over the last few years, the average asking rent for an apartment in Canada is up by 21%, or $354, compared to July of 2021.

It's a shocking comparison and a climb that has happened for a long list of reasons, but this latest report from rentals.ca explained the reason for most of the more recent price gains for rent.

"Rents experienced further upward pressure last month as post-secondary students rushed to sign leases ahead of the fall term, the population grew by a record level, and homebuyers moved to the sidelines as the Bank of Canada raised interest rates to a 22-year high," the report continues.

Currently, Vancouver's average cost of rent is by far the highest, with the average asking price of a one-bedroom apartment reaching $3,013.

In Toronto, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment is $2,592, while you'll have to move outside of the city to places like Scarborough, Oshawa, Hamilton, or Barrie if you're hoping to pay less somewhere closer to $2,000 per month.

Further highlighting the frustration around the high cost of rent in Canada this week was a viral post about an apartment for rent in Vancouver that is smaller than most parking spots in Canada.

The asking price for the 200-square-foot unit (yes, you read that right) inside of a renovated hotel building is $2,000 per month.

This article's right-hand cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Stuart McGinn
Stuart McGinn was the Money Editor for Narcity Media and focused mainly on covering topics ranging from personal finance, to real estate, and careers. Stuart is from Ottawa and is now based in Toronto.