More than eight out of 10 Quebecers are concerned about the skyrocketing cost of living, reveals a new Léger survey.
This issue is dislodging the pandemic as a hot topic in Quebec, thinks Jean-Marc Léger, who today publishes the results of a web survey carried out from February 11 to 13 among 1,017 Quebecers.
“Politicians don’t understand that it affects people directly, but this file will become the most important in the coming months, particularly because of the upcoming election campaign,” he says.
If 86% of respondents say they are worried about the rise in the cost of living, this is another fact that attracts attention.
No less than 37% of respondents say they have replaced some food purchases with cheaper food in recent weeks. In short, they sacrifice quality for quantity.
“It’s important, and it’s even more so among young people,” said the pollster. Indeed, the proportion rises to 45% among 18-34 year olds.
Worried middle class
Concerns related to the cost of living are now the prerogative of more and more Quebecers. From now on, even the middle class is worried, summarizes Jean-Marc Léger.
And seven out of 10 Quebecers consider themselves to be in the middle class, according to the survey. If these people are concerned about the cost of food (94%), the cost of gasoline (89%) and the cost of electricity (76%), they are also concerned about the cost of their rent or mortgage (58%).
The specter of rising interest rates is no stranger to this last concern, recalls a researcher.
“One of the things that distinguishes the middle class from the poorest households is that these people are often owners,” says Julia Posca, of the Institute for Socioeconomic Research and Information (IRIS).
And it’s even worse among 18-34 year olds, who say they are 80% concerned about the cost of homes and access – or lack of access – to property.
“Inflation is not theoretical, it directly affects people. Hence levels of concern like that, ”summarizes Jean-Marc Léger.
A first for many
If inflation worries the young as much as the old, emphasizes Professor Serge Coulombe, “this is the first time, for many, that they have suffered it”.
“Anyone who has been spending money since the early 1990s has never experienced this,” says the University of Ottawa economics professor.
Inflation hurts everyone, continues the academic, and “governments do nothing to reduce the problem”.
Fighting inflation is not always easy
The cost of living will be one of the main issues in the election campaign next fall in Quebec. But what can governments do in the face of the general rise in prices?
“It’s fun to give billions of dollars to the world in times of a pandemic, but it’s much less to implement measures to fight inflation,” said Serge Coulombe, professor of economics at the University of Ottawa.
He recalls how slowly the authorities reacted when inflation appeared in developed economies in the 1970s.
“It had to be above 10% for a few years. There is nothing populist about wanting to fight inflation. It’s really a challenge, it takes political courage, ”says the professor.
Governments would not target the right problems.
“They should stop doing emergency measures and deal with inflation. We need more restrictive monetary policies, we need to restrict government spending, ”he thinks.
Basically, “we must stop adding fuel to the fire”.
Which is not quite the vision of Julia Posca, researcher at the Institute for Socioeconomic Research and Information (IRIS).
“If governments hadn’t taken on debt during the pandemic, businesses and households should have done so,” she suggests.
The aid programs of the Canadian and Quebec states have simply allowed us to avoid a recession, adds the researcher, and have nothing to do with the current inflation.
The rise in prices is rather linked to factors beyond our governments’ control.
“They certainly don’t control the price of gasoline let alone the droughts that have damaged crops and pushed grain prices up, for example,” says Ms.me Posca.
Even the rising interest rates that are upon us will not do all the good.
“It will put pressure on households that are owners,” she says.
Up to $400 in savings per week with coupons
QMI Agency Archive Photo, Thierry Laforce
For the past six years, the coupon enthusiast Caroline Cadorette has built up a reserve of products from which she draws to make donations or to help out. Thanks to the coupons, she estimates she has saved $120,000 since December 2015.
Caroline Cadorette has the know-how to alleviate the stress of the 93% of Quebecers who say they are concerned about the cost of food, she who saves hundreds of dollars on groceries a week thanks to discount coupons.
Responsible for a family daycare service, she has to feed six children from Monday to Friday in addition to her own meals. She gets there for $100 a week, when her groceries are actually worth $400 to $500.
His secret? Couponing, a “way of life” that she has been practicing for more than 6 years now.
“I couldn’t buy an item at full price anymore, it doesn’t make sense,” says the grocery bill magician.
The resident of Sainte-Julie, in Montérégie, has her routine. She only goes out once a week, on Thursdays. “And I can’t wait for Thursday,” she laughs.
Armed with her coupon satchel, she has enough for “a good two hours”.
She starts with the IGA, and then goes to Metro, Provigo, Maxi, Super C, Uniprix and Jean Coutu.
“I do all the racks in liquidation and I walk in all the rows, ”she says.
Many coupons are placed directly in front of the products, in a plastic envelope. They are also found in newspapers, magazines and the Publisac.
“I also write directly to companies,” says the bargain pro.
Sometimes, she finds specials from the manager in the aisles that are not displayed in the flyer. No matter the discount, it’s not uncommon for her that with the coupon discount, a product ends up being free.
“When that happens, I store it or freeze it,” she says.
This is how she managed to save $120,000 since December 2015, in addition to building up a reserve.
She makes many donations to the community, in addition to the gifts she makes to her two sons as well as to the parents of the children in her care.
This community spirit is also the source of the training it offers for the modest sum of $25.
For 90 minutes, it first offers an overview of good practices.
She then travels to accompany people during their first groceries with coupons – always on Thursdays.
And she remains available for a full year for all questions.
“Flyers are good, but to know the real good price to pay, you also have to use coupons,” summarizes Caroline Cadorette.
The right price according to Caroline
The pound for all the fruits,
The pound for the minced steak,
For a 400 g brick of cheese,
For a pot of yogurt of 650 g.
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