Canadians fret about meeting day-to-day expenses and inflation’s impact on Saving

With rising inflation driving up the costs of goods and services, a Scotiabank survey released Monday reveals over half [53%] of Canadians are worried about their ability to pay for day-to-day expenses. The majority (78%)of expect to be spending more on basic necessities like groceries and food, or gas (71%), and 53% expect to spend more on utilities (53%). 47% say these issues are impacting their ability to save for longer-term financial goals and 37% feel it’s impacting their current standard of living. Scotia Economics expects inflation to peak later this summer before starting a slow descent to 3.6% in 2023 and back to target by 2024.

“Canadians are feeling heightened levels of anxiety as a result of inflation: especially younger people and women who were also hardest hit by the pandemic,” said D’Arcy McDonald, Senior Vice President of Retail Payments and Unsecured Lending at Scotiabank via a press release. “The cost of everything is on the rise and Canadians are worried about their ability to afford the essentials such as food and gas. At the same time, there have never been so many jobs in the Canadian economy, wages are picking up, and inflation will come down over time.”

Financial stress hits differently across the country

Where Canadians live dictates how much they believe rising costs will impact their finances and ability to pay their bills. 49% of residents in the Atlantic think inflation is having a major impact on their ability to set and stick to a budget, compared to 36% of residents of British Columbia and Quebec. 

When it comes to feeling financial anxiety, 57% of Quebecers are least likely to be concerned about their ability to pay for day-to-day expenses, compared to residents of Alberta (45%), Manitoba/Saskatchewan (44%), Ontario (43%), and the Atlantic (39%).

The young are most impacted and most concerned

Women, younger Canadians, and those with lower household incomes are significantly more concerned about their financial situation over the next few months. Women (44%) are more likely than men (35%) to say inflation and the rising costs of goods and services is having a major impact on their ability to set and stick to a budget.

Canadians between the ages of 18-34 (45%) and 35-54 (46%) say inflation and the rising costs of goods and services is having a major impact on their ability to set and stick to a budget, compared to Canadians 55+ (30%).

Notably, 20% of Canadians think rising costs will have no impact on their finances and their ability to stick to a budget. These tend to be age 55 or older (28%) compared to Canadians 18-34 (13%) and 35-54 (18%). More men (23%) than women (18%) also say that inflation will have no impact on their ability to set and stick to a budget.

Younger people aged 18-34 comprise the highest contingent (43%) of people who say they are majorly affected by the ability to maintain their current standard of living in this high-cost environment, versus older Canadians over the age of 34 (38%), who say that they are not impacted at all.

Scotia Smart Money by Advice+ tool tracks spending and sets a budget (CNW Group/Scotiabank)

New Tool

To address these concerns, Scotiabank has developed Scotia Smart Money by Advice+ on its digital banking app to help customers plan for the future [see screen shot above]. To access it you must have an active personal banking retail product, have transacted at least once on your account in the preceding 6 months and have logged into the Scotia Mobile Banking App. The tool facilitates careful and simple money management that helps customer adjust to the new landscape: they can manage their cash flow, build budgets, and receive personalized advice to look ahead and plan for the future.

“We know that younger Canadians are disproportionately affected by life becoming more expensive, but we also know they are more likely to make use of a digital tool to help track their finances,” says D’Arcy McDonald. “Scotia Smart Money in Scotiabank’s mobile banking app will help customers understand where they are spending their money, allow them to set up budgets, flag any concerns and uncover savings opportunities – all in the palm of their hands. They’ll be able to see where their money is going and free up cash for where they want it to go. It will directly help younger customers make the financial decisions that will get them through the current economic challenges and benefit them in the long run.”

The online survey  of 1,512 randomly selected Canadian adults was conducted on behalf of Scotiabank by Maru/Blue the last two days of June.  The results of this study have been weighted by education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data.

More on inflation and rates today on Allan Small Financial show

Financial advisor and commentator Allan Small and I discuss rising Inflation and interest rates Wednesday noon on the Allan Small Financial Show. Catch it at:



Commenting on the above-mentioned Scotiabank Survey, Allan said “Inflation is a huge problem for all Canadians especially for young adults, women and lower-income households according to” Scotiabank, “How will raising interest rates help? In my opinion it will only make things more difficult for everyone. Increasing debt costs at a time when your food and energy costs are rising dramatically, will just make things even more difficult for people. Inflation is at high levels because of a lack of supply of goods. We shouldn’t be dampening demand for goods by raising interest rates to slow down the economy and risk putting the whole country into a deep slowdown or recession.”


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