High inflation is forcing many Canadians to cut back in order to make ends meet. Here, we offer tips for getting through these tough financial times.
The last two-and-a-half years have created a whole host of financial shocks and stressors that have impacted many of us and our bank accounts. Some people lost their lives to Covid-19, some lost their jobs and/or businesses, and many of us have simply tried to keep the proverbial water below our necks to stay afloat. More specifically, many people living in Canada are struggling with soaring housing costs, high interest rates and an ever-increasing cost of living. Inflation is forcing many Canadians to cut back to make ends meet. Here are some strategies to help keep inflation from taking over your life:
1. PLAN YOUR MEALS
The price of food is as tough to swallow as three-day old bread! Meal planning helps save us time and money by focusing only on what’s needed from now until the next grocery shop (e.g., one week or two weeks away) and creates less food waste, which is hard on the wallet (as well as the environment!). Other possibilities include shopping for sales and eating less pricey products. This is a hard expense to trim but it’s definitely something to try.
2. TAKE AN ALTERNATE ROUTE
Gas is a tricky expense to cut, especially if you need a vehicle to get to and from work and family activities. Is there a possibility of commuting with a colleague? Perhaps public transportation will be more economical? Maybe your job allows for work-from-home or hybrid opportunities to take advantage of saving on fuel. As well, we can also continue to ask for and receive virtual services when possible, to alleviate the pressure at the pump.
A) Do you have subscriptions and accounts that are automatically withdrawing a monthly payment? Ask yourself if you and your family are still using these and to the same extent? If you’re making good use of a subscription, keep going. However, many of us have small automatic payments that tend to drain our budget every month.
B) Consider deleting all those unused email subscriptions that clog your inbox. It doesn’t cost anything to receive newsletters and email deals, but they can easily lead us into the temptation to spend.
C) Entertainment is a quick category to address. Does your family have multiple music, film, television and video game streaming services? The companies that run these services have done a brilliant job creating small monthly fees that don’t make most of us gasp in horror. We think, “I can afford $16.99 per month. I can afford $4.99 per month.” But each of these “I can affords” add up. Consider a family meeting to pick the top three. Perhaps every three months or so, you re-evaluate, and opt to cancel some and re-order another.
4. CONSIDER A SIDE HUSTLE
Think about the other side of the budget equation and consider your income. Are there ways to increase your household income, either just temporarily or on a permanent basis? Could you turn a skill or talent into a side hustle? Would there be value in your teen finding some part-time work to cover off some of their costs?
To ease some of the stress of inflation on your pocketbook, you don’t need to take all of these steps. Find one or two of these strategies you’re willing to try, just temporarily. Even a short-term strategy can alleviate some stress, and when the cost of living settles a little, you can review your plan and decide whether to continue with it or not.