Budgeting During Inflation in Canada
There are many reasons why inflation occurs. Food and fuel prices are often considered the biggest culprits, but the average consumer’s spending habits can play a big role as well. Inflation is inevitable and there’s no way to stop it, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend more money than you need to just because prices go up over time. It’s important to be prepared for inflation as best you can so that it doesn’t hurt your budget too much or even worse, put you into debt!
- Being prepared: The most important thing you can do is to draw up a budget and plan for the future. As inflation creeps in, you want to make sure that your income keeps pace with it and doesn’t lag behind. This means planning ahead so that you can save more money when things are good, but also being flexible enough so that when things go awry (as they inevitably will), there’s still some cash flow left over each month.
- Saving enough money: If your income is steady, then saving is easy—just set aside what’s left at the end of each month for savings or investments and keep doing it until it becomes habit! However, if your income varies from month-to-month or week-to-week (sometimes even day-to-day), then saving may be more difficult because sometimes there won’t be any money left over after covering expenses like rent/mortgage payments or groceries; this is where having an emergency fund comes in handy!
Look at your mortgage
If you have a fixed-rate mortgage, consider refinancing if rates drop. The longer the term of your mortgage, the better it is to refinance at lower rates. If you’re already in a variable rate, look into getting a fixed or capped rate that matches your current mortgage if rates drop.
Get ahead of things
Inflation is a tricky beast. It can sneak up on you without you even realizing it, and before you know it your budget is in shambles. It’s important to stay on top of inflation so that your financial situation doesn’t fall apart!
- Look at your budget: If you’ve done a good job of tracking where your money goes each month, then this may be a breeze for you. If not, we recommend using an app like Mint or Quicken to track expenses for at least two months to get a better idea of how much money comes in versus how much goes out. Once that’s complete, create categories where appropriate and try to come up with some creative solutions if there are any red flags (for example: “Eating Out” might be too high).
- Look at other areas of spending: Are there any areas where we could cut back? Where are our priorities? Is there anything else we could eliminate completely? This step will likely take some time—and possibly some tears—but setting aside personal luxuries means that when inflation hits hard again next year (or sooner), we’ll still have enough saved up for those rainy days.*
Save on food
If you are looking to save on food, there are some easy ways that you can do this. The first option is to buy in bulk. This will allow you to get a lot of the same product at once and then store it for later use. It may also be more cost effective than buying smaller quantities throughout the month or week.
Another good way to save money is by looking for sales and coupons from various stores that sell similar products, particularly grocery stores and supermarkets. You can also look for cheaper alternatives like lower quality items or cheaper brands than what you normally buy as well as cheaper stores and meal options like eating out less often or cooking your meals at home instead of ordering out on nights when possible (which will save even more money).
Buy cheaper brands
There are many ways of lowering your grocery bill without sacrificing quality. Some options are as simple as buying generic brands, while others might require some planning and preparation. Here’s a list of tips to keep in mind when shopping for groceries:
- Buy store brands instead of name-brand products
- Buy in bulk when possible (e.g., at Costco)
- Buy in season or on sale
- Buy on Amazon (if you have a Prime membership)
Coupons are one of the easiest ways to save money on your groceries, and they’re also a great way to save money on other items you purchase. You can find coupons in newspapers, magazines, online and in stores. Coupons typically allow you to buy an item at a lower cost than normal price; however some coupons may even include free products!
The following are some examples of how you can use coupons:
- Use them as currency for trading within your community (e.g., swapping clothes with friends).
- Give them away as gifts for birthdays or holidays.* Don’t throw away expired ones! They still have value!
Cut back on eating out
Eating out is a luxury, so you should cut back on it when times are tough. The best way to do this is to eat at home more often and only eat out less often. If you do decide to go out, try eating at cheaper restaurants or even fast food chains like McDonald’s or Burger King. You’ll save yourself some money and get some good value for your buck.
Buy generic brands
- Generic brands are usually cheaper
- Generic brands are usually the same quality as brand names
- Generic brands are usually available at the same stores as brand names
Take stock of your bills
To start, list all of the monthly bills you pay. These include things like rent or mortgage payments, car insurance and gas costs, grocery bills and utility bills (water/electricity). Next, figure out how much money you spend on each bill per month, per year and even per week/day/hour if possible.
Now that you have a clear picture of how much money is going out every month, we can begin to identify potential areas where we can cut back on spending.
One of the first things you should do as a budgeter is to look at your utility bills. Look for anything that can be done to lower your cost, whether it’s changing providers, using less electricity or water, or switching from heating oil to natural gas. If you find yourself driving long distances every day for work and need to cut back on gas usage, consider taking public transportation instead of driving yourself (or maybe even getting rid of one car altogether).
Inflation is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead.
Inflation is a natural process that occurs when the supply of money grows faster than the demand for it. When this happens, prices rise and the purchasing power of your money decreases.
Inflation does not happen overnight; it takes time for inflation to increase from 0% to 2%. And it’s important to remember that inflation is not just something that affects you and me as consumers in our day-to-day lives, but also affects businesses who need to adjust their prices accordingly in order to stay competitive in the market place.
However—just because we know what causes inflation doesn’t mean we have control over how much it will occur or when! Inflation can be very unpredictable so we all have a role here: stay informed about current economic news so you can plan ahead accordingly!
With inflation being a fact of life, it’s important that you take steps to plan for it. By being prepared and looking at ways in which you can cut back on spending when prices go up, you can avoid getting caught off guard when your grocery bill suddenly goes up or electricity rates increase without warning.
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