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How to stretch your money further

In BC, the cost of everyday items are rising due to the highest inflation Canada has faced in years. Normally, our annual inflation is 1% but this year’s inflation is 4.8%, its highest point since 1991. If it feels like price increases are starting to take a bite out of your household budget here are a few ways to help stretch your money further.

Check out our tips for saving at the pump, on groceries, your other favourite activities and even your insurance, plus some savings advice from the pros.

Gas saving tips

BC continues to lead the entire country in high gasoline prices, and Vancouver recently hit an all-time record high. So, if you drive a gas-powered or hybrid car which runs partially on gas, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can do to save money on fuel.

 refueling car at gas station

First, it’s good to keep in mind that gasoline is a commodity, and its price reacts to supply and demand, at both a wholesale and local retail level. That means, consumers, like you, can make a difference and cause gas prices to lower if their vehicles are consuming less fuel. Reducing how much fuel your vehicle uses, such as ensuring your vehicle is running efficiently and adjusting how you drive can influence prices. Another great reason to practice fuel-saving driving habits: it’s better for the environment.

Here are fuel-saving tricks that BCAA Auto Experts want you to know about including:

  • Avoid aggressive driving and maintain steady speeds. Punching the gas and driving at high and unsteady speeds uses up more fuel.
  • Don’t idle for more than 60 seconds.
  • Reduce your driving distance by planning your trips. Consolidate errands into one trip or combine them with your daily commute. Avoid high traffic areas and rush hours if you can, to avoid having to sit in traffic idling.
  • Lighten the weight of your vehicle. Carrying extra weight wastes gas, so remove unnecessary items from your car.
  • Service your car regularly and keep your tires properly inflated. A well-tuned vehicle with properly inflated tires not only improves fuel economy, but it also reduces emissions, improves drivability and will help extend the life of your vehicle and tires.

Try these tips out and see your savings rise—and if more drivers do the same, we may also see gas prices fall (and any amount can help!). And if gas prices have you thinking it might be time to go electric, check out this blog to learn more.

father with daughter grocery shopping for dairy products in supermarket

Saving on groceries

Grocery prices are increasing at their fastest pace (5.7%) since 1991. Here are some ways to cut your food expenses this year including:

  • Make simple meals you like.
  • Plan meals around on-sale items at the grocery store.
  • Grow your own food. Start your own garden: here are some beginner gardening tips for spaces of all size, including pointer for starting an indoor garden.
  • Make big batches of meals and freeze the leftovers.
  • Own a slow cooker and know how to use it.
  • Save at the grocery store by making a list and sticking to it. Consider buying items that last in bulk, always bring your own bags and never shop when you’re hungry.
  • Use your BCAA Membership card earn rewards on groceries. Members earn 5% in CAA Dollars® at Natura Market.

Treat yourself for less with your BCAA Membership

Yes, dining out less often is easier on the wallet, but every once in awhile you need to treat yourself. Did you know that you can use your BCAA Membership card to save on your favourite restaurants and coffee shops? Here are a few faves:

couple talking about finances at home

Save on your insurance

There are ways to save on your insurance too. For example, if you purchase your insurance through BCAA, you can save $40 by bundling your BCAA Home Insurance and BCAA Optional Car Insurance. It also pays to be a BCAA Member! Members save up to 20% on BCAA Home Insurance and BCAA Optional Car Insurance. Here are a few other ways to save:

Car Insurance

  • You can save money by driving less (and it’s better for the planet too). If you drive less than 5,000 km in a year, you’ll save 10% with ICBC’s low kilometre discount.
  • Consider increasing your insurance deductible if you can afford the higher out-of-pocket expense. By increasing your car insurance deductible from $200 to $500 on your car insurance, you’ll reduce your monthly premium costs.
  • Insure both vehicles with the same insurance company. For example, you can save up to 10% per vehicle when you insure two or more vehicles with BCAA Optional Car Insurance.

Learn how to get better coverage and save money with these six things you may not know about your BC car insurance.

Home Insurance

  • Purchase your BCAA Home Insurance online and save up to 5%.
  • Remain claims free. The longer you’ve been claims free, the more you’ll likely save on your insurance premiums.
  • Invest in home safety. Having fire sprinklers, automatic water, shut off, intrusion alarms and other home safety systems can help you qualify for extra savings on your homeowners insurance.

Here are some additional home savings tips for improving your energy efficiency and saving money on your heating bill this winter.

man fixing lightbulb at home

Make eco-friendly changes

Another great way to save plus do some good for the planet: do an energy audit around your home. For good local energy-savings advice, BC Hydro published this great list of 20 no-cost ways to reduce your energy consumption and save money. You can also check out these tips for making eco-friendly changes at home and on the road, they’re great both for your wallet and the planet. For energy efficient lights and other home updates, use your BCAA Membership to earn 2% in CAA Dollars when shopping online at Rona and Home Hardware.

Budgeting, banking and investing

The best way to save money, slay your debts, and beat inflation is to make yourself a sensible budget. Here are the top 10 budgeting apps in Canada. We also like these excellent tips on how to budget for inflation and higher prices, courtesy of Forbes. They recommend you streamline your mortgage costs, reduce your debt rates and do an energy audit around your home (see above tip).

Forbes also recommends you get rid of unnecessary and underused subscriptions (do you really need to subscribe to Netflix, Disney+, Crave, AND Starz?). If you don’t have time to track down all your subscriptions, use a personal finance app like Mint. You can link the app to your bank and credit card accounts, and it will search for subscriptions you’re paying for but no longer need or want.

Plus, you can save hundreds of dollars in banking fees by moving to an online bank with a no-fee chequing account. If you do all your banking online, you’ll never pay a transaction fee again. According to Wealthsimple here are the best online banks in Canada.

In addition to maximizing your RRSPs before the March 1st deadline, we highly recommend you take Tori Dunlap’s advice to open a high-yield savings account. These accounts will earn you up to 8x the normal rate of interest—something you’re going to need when you’re fighting against a 5% inflationary loss on any savings you’ve got parked in your bank account. An American personal finance expert, Tori also recommends tracking your purchases and not waiting to invest.

couple sitting on truck bed on road trip

Be a savvy travel & outdoor adventurer

Nothing elevates the soul more than travel and outdoor exercise. You’ll save a ton on travel if you vacation right here in BC—check out our 10+ great restaurants on Vancouver Island, seven unique & cozy cabins in BC, and eight more spectacular cabins and adventures around the province for inspiration.

See all of BCAA’s Travel Rewards Partners here, including hotels and car rentals too. Plus, learn how BCAA Members save up to 20% on BCAA Travel Insurance.

There you have it: many great ways to save money and beat inflation this year. Subscribe to our BCAA Member Rewards e-news for more helpful content, exclusive BCAA offers, contests, deals and more.