Why inflation may be 'starting to bite' in Saskatchewan

The Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre says rising prices already have more people looking to access food.

“We're seeing an increase by several, several 100 people a month,” said director of operations & engagement Deborah Hamp. “As we're looking ahead and looking at the rising costs, looking at inflation, looking at shortages in grocery stores of inventory, the challenges that people are up against, definitely it's cause for concern.”

Hamp says people are less likely to donate food when prices are rising, but are still asking for donations.

“Definitely calling on on folks to consider donating food to the food bank, consider donating funds to help us get through what could be a very taxing time ahead.”

University of Regina associate professor of economics Jason Childs says over the next 12 months, Canada could see inflation increase by one per cent, driven in part by a supply and demand issue due to the pandemic.

“The other thing that happened is we printed an amazing amount of money,” he said. “We have radically increased the money supply in a way that is completely outside modern experience.”

“We created money to fund a lot of these government programs that were introduced during the pandemic. That was done not with borrowed money in the more traditional sense, but money borrowed, printed, from the Bank of Canada. And when you do that, you're going to introduce more dollars chasing a smaller number of goods.”

Childs says that from December 2020 to December 2021, the price of groceries climbed by about five and a half per cent.

“So if you're spending $100 at the grocery store, you're now spending $105, $105.50, every time,” he said. “So it's not a huge squeeze right now, but it's starting to hurt, and it's starting to bite.”

Childs says interest rates could increase as well, which would affect people’s abilities to spend.

“After you service your debt, after you paid your mortgage, after you paid your car loan or whatever, that means there's less dollars floating around,” he said.

“To pay for beer or pizza or whatever other goods, so the demand for those other goods isn't growing as much or isn't as large, so the pressure falls off and the prices don't rise as quick.”

Owner of Brightrock Financial Janea Dieno says when life gets more expensive, it’s important not to make panic decisions.

"'Well maybe I should stop investing or take money out of my investments,’ and that's probably the worst decision,” she said.

Next, Dieno says people should make a budget, splitting expenses into four categories; housing, transportation, financial obligations, and lifestyle.

“The first three categories housing, transportation and financial obligations — those should be automated expenses,” she said. “Everything from paying your mortgage, your rent, to utilities to property taxes to health insurance to even fueling up your vehicle, or paying for a transit pass, to paying for daycare if you have kids.”

The rest she says can fit into a weekly plan.

“Anything you spend on groceries, eating out, extras, clothing, entertainment, that should all be done on a weekly budget plan in that you should have in place.”

Dieno says to be fiscally responsible, people should also focus on the things they can control, like streaming services and the weekly food bill and menus.

“Setting yourself up where you're only going to the grocery store once per week, and really kind of sticking to a budget and then even going further than that and doing meal and menu prepping so that you really are not going to be overbuying on anything extra,” she said.

You can also look at selling things for extra cash, she says.

“For a lot of us, especially in these nice Canadian winters, we like to hoard things. But there's a lot of online marketplaces where you can sell stuff for second-hand and maybe make a little bit of extra pocket money that way,” she said.