Majority of Manitobans cutting back on spending to deal with inflation, survey shows

A majority of Manitobans are tightening their budgets to deal with the rising cost of living, according to a new survey out from the Angus Reid Institute.

It paints a stark picture of people’s personal finances amid a summer of price increases.

While inflation slowed last month, rising grocery bills, gas, interest rates and rent increases are putting pressure on consumers across the country.

“We are more cautious than we were back a couple years ago,” said Len Klassen, a Winnipeg retiree who said he’s among those feeling the pinch.

According to the online survey of 2,279 Canadian adults between Aug. 8 and Aug. 10, 83 per cent of respondents from Manitoba are cutting back on spending in some way, compared to 80 percent of all Canadians, to deal with rising prices.

“In Manitoba, I think we’ve seen people in that province a little bit more shocked by some of the rising costs of just every day items combined with the rising cost of living,” said Shachi Kurl, president of the Angus Reid Institute.

Kurl said compared to people in major urban areas who have been getting used to high rents and mortgage payments for many years, the impact of inflation in markets where housing has been more stable may be more noticeable.

“And that is leading people to come to a place where they’re saying it’s time to tighten the belt a little,” Kurl said.

Sixty-three per cent of Manitoba respondents said they’re cutting back on discretionary spending compared to 57 per cent nationally.

“One place is we don’t eat out as much now,” said Edward Sorokowski. “And some items you just drop.”

Forty-six per cent of Manitobans are delaying a major purchase, compared to 42 per cent nationally.

Forty-seven per cent said they’re driving less and 39 per cent said they’re cancelling or scaling back travel – two more categories where Manitoba outpaces Canada as a whole.

“We have property at the lake and so we did a little bit less of that this year because of the gas prices,” said Debbie Johnson.

Sixty per cent of Manitobans said they’re concerned that they or someone in their household could lose a job because of the economy and more than half of the survey’s respondents nationwide said they couldn’t manage a one-time unexpected expense of more than $1,000.

“Certainly we’re cutting back where it’s not absolutely necessary to replace at this point in time,” said Klassen.

He said while they’re managing, he knows many families are struggling. One purchase he’s decided to put off is buying a new car.

“That’s one thing I’m certainly going to delay,” Klassen said. “Big ticket items.”

Fifty-nine per cent of Manitobans said they can’t keep up with the cost of living and 42 per cent said they would use a one time surprise bonus or gift of $5,000 to cover day-to-day expenses or pay down debt.

While inflation has slowed largely due to a decline in prices at the pumps some economists and business leaders are expecting another interest rate hike from the Bank of Canada that could put further pressure on households as the cost of borrowing increases.

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