Cutting back without cutting out

Ontario (August 20, 2009) The basic needs of Canadians have not changed, but the cost of supplying those basics has risen. In a recessionary economy, Canadians need to be prepared for the unexpected and adjust their spending habits to suit the reality of their financial situation.

Unemployment and heightened household debt will drive a substantial increase in consumer insolvencies over the next two years,” said Craig Alexander, deputy chief economist of Toronto Dominion Bank. In this economy, Canadians need to be financially prepared to handle any crisis and support themselves through these difficult times.

A recent WIN/Ledger Marketing Survey indicates that since the start of the economic crisis Canadians have made some cut-backs in their living expenses. The top-five categories that have seen the biggest cut-backs include; clothing and accessories, entertainment, major household purchases, holidays/travel and groceries.

The categories that Canadians have not cut back on are internet connections, healthcare, digital/ cable satellite/ television, mobile phone services and transportation. “Canadians need to spend within their means. Assessing, budgeting accurately, planning carefully and cutting back on living expenses are the initial and proper steps to improving personal finances,” according to Jeffrey Schwartz, Executive Director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada Inc.

When moderating a budget, it is important to remember that every penny counts. Canadians can make small changes to their living expenses, without completely cutting them out. Consolidated Credit offers Canadians easy tips on cutting back and reducing living expenses:

  • Bundle your services: Many service providers offer a value package that incorporates the services you use most and offers them all on one bill and at a reduced rate. The more services you combine, the better the deal. Some companies offer 15% or more in discounts for using this service.
  • Learn to cook: Get creative and healthy. Many healthy gourmet recipes are available online for free. By cooking at home you can spend more time with family and enjoy healthy, delicious, inexpensive meals. Pot lucks are a great way to have a party without spending a fortune.
  • Take a STAYCATION: You do not have to give up your much needed time off work- just make it a slightly more frugal one. Exploring your city or community, are a great way to enjoy your holiday without dropping too much cash. Check local listings for great year-round festivals, many of which offer free admission.
  • Flea and Farmers Markets: support your local community by buying homegrown fresh produce. The produce is fresh and often less expensive than major chain supermarkets. You can also find great bargains and unique items at flea markets.
  • Cheap entertainment: Take advantage of your local public library, rather than buying entertainment materials. A library usually contains a large variety of reading materials, C.D’s, DVD’s, journals, and magazines. There is sure to be something to satisfy every member of the family.

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