NATIONAL PULSE – Soaring prices have four-in-five pinching pennies
By ANGUS REID INSTITUTE
August 22, 2022 – Statistics Canada may have reported cooling inflation rates in recent days, but the summer of price increases continues to simmer.
The level of month-to-month price increases was the lowest so far this year. However, prices have risen by 7.6 per cent since July 2021, meaning there is much work for the Bank of Canada left to do to return the country to its target rate of two per cent.
Through it all, many Canadians are responding to price increases with spending decreases, according to new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute
Fully four-in-five say they have cut spending in recent months by either trimming their discretionary budget, delaying a major purchase, driving less, scaling back travel and charitable donations, or deferring saving for the future. This represents an increase from the three-quarters (74%) who said so in February.
A financial temperature check of Canadians finds many sweltering in the heat of inflation. Half (52%) say they couldn’t manage a sudden expense of more than $1,000. For two-in-five (38%), a surprise bonus of $5,000 would be used to alleviate the pressure of debt. For one-in-ten, it would immediately be put towards daily expenses.
Regionally, some parts of the country seem to be feeling more financial pain than others. Those in Saskatchewan (58%) and Atlantic Canada (50%) are much more likely than those in other parts of the country to use a sudden gift of $5,000 towards paying off debt. As well, people in those provinces – and Alberta – are more likely than others elsewhere to say they have been cutting back spending in recent months.
More Key Findings:
- Approaching four-in-five (78%) say grocery stores are taking advantage of inflation to make increased profits. Fewer than one-in-ten (7%) believe instead the increased margins are due to good management by grocery chains.
- The one-in-five (22%) Canadians who say they are never really stressed about money are in the minority. Three-quarters (76%) say the opposite.
- One-quarter (27%) of Canadians say they have trimmed back donations and charitable giving as they have adjusted their budget recently.
- More than half (56%) of Canadians say they can’t keep up with the cost of living, while two-in-five (39%) feel they are keeping pace.
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