Is it inflation? Is it price gouging? Why is life so expensive?! Although we’ve seen some decreases to the inflation rate, high prices are still a thing in Canada.
There are a number of reasons why the cost of living is high, but it can still be hard to get used to the final total in the checkout lane.
These money-saving tips can help you offset the extra cash you’re putting down.
Identify wants vs. needs.
Here’s where a budget and a little self-reflection can come in handy. We can’t tell you what not to buy. That’s entirely personal. We recommend looking at all the numbers – from last month’s expenses to upcoming bills – to help you make any needed adjustments to your spending habits. If you’re having trouble letting go of impulse buys, there are ways to curb them. For example, designating an accountability partner for items you’re not sure about, or leaving items in your online shopping cart for a few days, can give you some time to reflect on whether or not you need those purchases .
Spend smarter on experiences.
Vacations, celebrations – they can bring more satisfaction than material possessions. But like everything else, these experiences have become a lot more expensive. Take weddings, for example: one-third of Canadians plan on attending at least one wedding this year*, and the cost can add up fast.
Consider splitting any travel and hotel expenses with friends and family for out-of-town affairs. If you’re included in the 45% of wedding-bound Canadians planning to purchase at least one new outfit for the season*, try renting, or better yet, borrowing your special-occasion wear. And remember, you can always RSVP “no” if it’s not financially possible.
Keep it fun and (almost) free.
You work hard, and you deserve to enjoy your earnings in your spare time. But if you want to stretch your earnings further, you might be pleased with the accessible (and free) options available in your neighbourhood. Get outside and explore local hiking trails or scenic picnic spots. Check local websites or community boards for free events featuring live entertainment. Or, consider a staycation with your besties that’s filled with all the self-care and belly laughter you desire.
Help fight food inflation by buying in bulk (it’s not potatoes to potatoes).
That little package of parisian potatoes is cute, but you might find more value in a large bag of Yukon golds. When you’re grocery shopping, don’t just look at the total price of packaged goods – keep your eye on the unit price, like in the example below:
Bag of small potatoes: $0.41/100 grams
Bag of large potatoes: $0.13/100 grams
The difference in price in the example above is staggering, and not far from reality. Just be mindful of your household consumption – if you’re not consuming colossal quantities of kale by the best before date, you’re technically not getting a deal. Here are some tips to keep your food fresh longer.
Get the bargain buzz.
If you’re thinking about jumping on the 2023 Canadian tuxedo trend, you might want to put it on hold for a sec. Those coveted denim frocks will likely go on sale. And better yet, you could also find some great vintage options at your local thrift store or in “buy and sell” groups (once you catch the thrift bug, you won’t be able to shake it). Just a word of caution: bargain hunting is not an excuse to buy more. So live by this: buy less and spend less – they go hand in hand.
Redeem your rewards – at the right time.
Sometimes the stars align and you find yourself with an abundance of reward points during a promotional period. If you’re a points saver, this would be the time to redeem them. Whether you earn points on groceries, books or items at the drugstore, you can maximize your savings by coupling your points redemption with promotional offers. What’s more, if there’s a remaining balance after you’ve cashed in your rewards, you could pay the remaining balance with your cash back credit card (if you have one) and gain some additional rewards in the process. Fun, right? Check out our rewards credit cards if you’re interested in amping up your purchases.
Save your energy.
In most provinces, Canadians paid more for electricity in November 2022 on a year-over-year basis. You can help uncover more energy savings by turning lights off when leaving a room, switching to LED bulbs, or placing a draft stopper on your entry door to contain your home’s heating and air conditioning. In addition, some provinces offer off-peak energy hours, meaning you’ll enjoy cost savings for using electricity and running water during certain times of the day or week. Check your province’s government website for more information.
While you’re reviewing the numbers, don’t forget to check your credit card statements for any recurring subscription charges. You may come across a charge for an app you haven’t used in a while.
Pay it forward.
Got any coupons or promotional codes in your inbox? Share them with friends, and don’t forget to share this article!
* Capital One Canada commissioned an online omnibus survey through Leger. Leger fielded an online survey of 1,500 adults across Canada in June 2023.