Toronto is not a cheap city to travel in. That being said, here are some tips to help you keep your spending in check:
- If you're arriving at Pearson International Airport without much luggage, you can take the TTC (which is the operator of city of Toronto public transportation) all the way downtown for $3.25, by far the cheapest way to get downtown. It's a lot of hassle though, you need to take their bus, and then transfer to subway, so only do it if you don't have a lot of luggage. The whole journey will probably take 1-1.5 hours. The cheapest alternative is the Union-Pearson Express (which is a much more comfortable train) that costs $9.
- Chinatown has some cheap restaurants (the area around Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street West). You can also go to food courts instead of restaurants for quick, cheap meals on weekdays. Food courts are available at the Eaton Centre, as well as in the underground concourse (called PATH) that snake through the entire financial district.
- Get groceries from No Frills and Food Basics. Others grocery stores like Loblaws, Metro and Sobeys are more expensive
- If you need to use the public transportation a lot, get tokens instead of paying cash with TTC. Cash fare is $3.25 per ride whereas tokens are $3.00 per ride. When you board make sure to get the transfer to get free connecting rides until your final destination on the TTC network. Here's the current TTC fare
- The Art Gallery of Ontario (which is the main painting museum in Toronto) is free on Wednesday nights between 6pm and 9pm. The downside is that it will be very crowded
- For cheap drinks, many bars have happy hours where they discount their drinks a lot. Happy hours are generally weekday after work hours between 4-7pm, but the specific hours and discounts vary by bar. Check https://www.blogto.com/eat_drink/2013/08/happy_hour_drink_deals_in_toronto_by_day_of_the_week/ for some examples (but this may not be up-to-date).
- If you're going out to a night club, research ahead of time to make sure they don't have a cover charge. Many clubs here have cover charges and it can be pretty expensive. On a related note, avoid buying alcohol from nightclubs they are insanely marked up.