What to do when the cost of everything is going up
June 16, 2022
By now, any of us who drive a gas-powered vehicle are experts in what inflation means. It’s when something that cost $60 in the winter costs $100 five months later.
Are there any tactics we can employ to help spending our hard-earned/hard-saved dollars more effectively during this crazy period of runaway prices? Save with SPP took a look around to see.
An article from Global News discusses the plight of mostly retired Mike and Marylou Cyr of Campbell River, B.C.
They are, the article notes, living on a fixed income consisting of workplace pensions and government benefits (the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security), Mike is still working a little. The couple looked first at reducing the costs of their insurance premiums, and switching to a cheaper telecom plan, the network reports.
With gas prices jumping $50 a tankful, the couple is now planning to sell off one of their vehicles and sharing the other, Global tells us. The other big jump for their spending is food, which has gone up more than $100 a month already, the article reports. “I am very concerned with the inflation, the rising food costs, as well as the rising gas costs. I think those are two main things,” states Marylou Cyr in the article.
So to fight that, the Cyrs are growing their own veggies and have four laying hens to supply their own eggs, the article says. “Maybe I’ll start canning again like our parents and grandparents did and store everything for the winter,” she tells Global. “If I could get a cow in the yard, I might do that, but I can’t.”
OK – trim insurance, telecom, go to one car, and grow your own food. Run some cattle if you can. What else can a person do?
According to CTV News, there are other ways to save on food. The network says folks are trying to buy grocery items that are on sale, buying items you use regularly in bulk, and targeting the groceries you use up rather than those you often throw out are good approaches.
Another way to save is through pooling costs, states University of Saskatchewan associate professor Stuart Smyth in the CTV report. “For example, (if) you’re buying 20 pounds of meat, but you’re splitting that up between three to four households, you’re saving some money that way,” he tells CTV. He underlines the importance of being a little more selective in shopping – target items that you tend to fully consume, rather than those you wind up throwing out. (An example in the Save with SPP home is yogurt; we always buy some because it is supposed to be good for us, and then almost never eat any before it expires.)
In addition to gas and food, other categories of consumer goods have been affected mightily by inflation, reports the Globe and Mail.
Meat is up 10.5 per cent versus 2021, and surprisingly, meat alternatives “like faux burger patties or plant-based ‘chicken’ nuggets” are 38 per cent more expensive than meat, the Globe notes.
Household appliances are up 23 per cent over the last two years, the article continues, and buying a typical soup and sandwich lunch “costs nearly $18 on average, up 24 per cent.” Other items that are particularly impacted by inflation include the cost of new homes and of housing in general.
We can’t fully protect ourselves from inflation. Following some of the steps outlined in these reports will at least help trim your spending.
Tips from Save with SPP’s own experience include shopping for clothes at consignment stores – you always pay less than at retail stores – and trying to brown bag lunch rather than having that $18 soup and sandwich. Friends like making fun of our $4 sand wedge from Value Village, but it gets us out of the bunkers right enough. All of these steps can help you save a few dollars, perhaps even enough to put away for retirement.
It’s interesting to read associate professor Smyth’s description of pooling purchases of meat. The same concept of “pooling” is a key way that the Saskatchewan Pension Plan reduces investment costs for its members. If you buy a stock on your own, there’s a fee for buying it and later, a fee for selling it. There might also have been annual fees to maintain your account. With SPP, you pool your savings with those of others in one big fund. That lowers the management costs to less than one per cent. It’s a great way to save on the cost of investment management, and SPP has an outstanding track record of steady investment returns. Check out SPP – available to all Canadians with RRSP room – today!
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Written by Martin Biefer
Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.
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