Budgeting for food

A new poll suggests Canadians are feeling the pinch of rising food costs. This and more in the daily roundup.



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  • The vast majority of Canadians polled for an RBC  report (91%) say they’ll tighten their belts and make smarter decisions at the grocery store to deal with rising food costs. Food inflation rose 2.4%  last year, after increases of 3.8% and 1.4% in 2011 and 2010, respectively. Prices are poised for bigger jumps in 2013, the bank says. The average Canadians spends $411 per month on groceries, the poll found. Fifty-seven per cent are comparison shopping more  these days and 43% have cut back other expenses to make up the difference.
  • This Victoria Day long weekend marks the unofficial start to summer for many Canadians. In fact, some 83% of us are planning to take vacation between May and September spending $3,073 on average, according to BMO estimates. Top destinations include the U.S., Europe and Central and South America. The bank also found that only half of Canadians always buy travel insurance. “While it’s great news that so many Canadians will be taking advantage of the great weather to hit the road and get some rest and relaxation this summer, it’s a concern that so few will be protecting themselves against the unexpected by purchasing travel medical insurance,” said BMO Insurance’s Julie Barker-Merz. A broken leg in the U.S. can cost up to US$20,000 while treatment for decompression sickness in Thailand up to US$40,000. For travel insurance tips on what to buy and how to save, read, “Are you really covered?” from the April 2013 issue of MoneySense.

4 comments on “Budgeting for food

  1. My spending spreadsheet (courtesy GV-O) says we are averaging $987/month. Probably a bit high for 3 adults, but we live in the north of the country, therefore our food is always more expensive than the southern folks pay – and less competition for sure. That figure always includes my household cleaning supplies etc that are in my grocery store for purchase. We spend nothing on tobacco and alcohol, and limit our dining out to once a month, so we do splurge on buying good food to cook for ourselves. I do have a greenhouse for growing tomatoes, cukes and eggplants in summer, have an asparagus bed and never buy it from the store, and try to get locally raised meat and veggies at the farmers' market as often as possible, which costs more but is so much better for you!

    Food is one of our major pleasures and we do spend more on it – at least we eat healthier than if we were buying more processed foods.


  2. Saying what Canadians spend on average for food means nothing. The cost of food varies immensely across the country. When we moved to BC from Ontario over a decade ago our food bill increased by a good 50%. I've gotten used to it but when I return to visit family in Southern Ontario I just about cry when I go grocery shopping with my Mom. We have family in the Maritimes and their costs are much lower than ours as well.


  3. For the past fifteen years (that's a long time) – food costs have been killing us! We live in BC, in a particularly TRENDY neighbourhood, and unless you were to go completely vegetarian (maybe not a bad way come to think of it) – you would get slaughtered. What is the average for a family of four to spend on groceries (food and sundries)? Anyone know (and yes, it varies from west (more expensive) to east. Any and all tips are welcome (websites, books, etc).


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