Food Inflation 2016

Food Inflation 2016

Are you spending more at the grocery store? An increase in the cost of food was one of the main reasons for a recent jump in inflation and a study from the University of Guelph Food Institute says we should expect more of the same in the new year. The research team there forecasts that food inflation rates will be two to four per cent in 2016, much higher than the overall inflation rate. That’s after this year, in which the cost of meat, vegetables, fruit and nuts jumped more than anticipated, pushing up your food bill by more than 4 per cent. The main driver is the value of the loonie, which has fallen its lowest level in more than 11 years. Given that 80 per cent of vegetables, fruit and nuts are imported, all of these items are more expensive and are set to become even pricier as our dollar falls further. The cost of meat is also expected to go up as much as 4.5%. The institute says the average Canadian household will spend $8,600 on food in 2016, an increase of $345. That figure includes $2,416 spent at restaurants. Canada is the only industrialized country where you find the food inflation rate to be above...
Online Shopping Safety

Online Shopping Safety

More of us are shopping online than ever before – with two thirds of consumers making one to four online purchases in the last six months. And most said they were happy with the experience according to Statistics canada. Here are some tip to make sure you are too: Only shop at websites that have secure payment systems. Look for the padlock logo on the checkout page. Make sure you understand shipping costs whether duties are included and what your rights are regarding returns. Sizes vary from designer to designer and country to country – do your homework. Have parcels shipped to work so you don’t have to waste time going to the post office. You may be disappointed because some US sites don’t serve Canada. For a fee you can hire an intermediary service that will have the goods shipped to them and then on to you. Check out...

Women More Generous

Do you and your spouse or siblings have different approaches to charitable giving? A study out of Indiana University says women are more generous than men when it comes to making donations. The research, prepared for the university’s Women’s Philanthropy Institute, showed that women are more likely to give in all income groups and in four of five groups, they give more than men do — sometimes twice as much. In the study’s middle range of income, between $43,000 to $68,000, the average donation was $728 for women, compared to $373 from men. The report also found never-married and divorced women more likely to give than their male counterparts, and they gave more. The one exception to superior female generosity: Widows were less likely to give than...

Money can’t Buy Happiness

You know the old saying money can’t buy happiness?  A study by three University of Rochester researchers confirms it.  It says having lots of money, good looks, or fame can actually make you less happy. And the things that make your life happy are growing as an individual, having loving relationships, and contributing to your community. The study published in the Journal of Research in Personality, tracked 147 alumni from two universities during their second year after graduation. As with earlier research, it confirmed that the more committed an individual is to a goal, the greater the likelihood of success. But unlike previous findings, this analysis showed that getting what you want is not always a good thing. It showed that reaching materialistic and image-related milestones actually contributes to negative feelings like shame and anger and more physical symptoms of anxiety like headaches.  By contrast, the subjects who valued personal growth, and close relationships, experienced a deeper sense of well-being, more positive feelings toward themselves, and fewer physical signs of stress. The researchers aren’t sure if this applies to people of all ages and...

Promotions Timing

If you’re looking for a promotion at work, it turns out that January is the best time. But if you didn’t move up the ladder last month, career advisers recommend starting to plan for the next big opportunity in April. Professional networking site LinkedIn analyzed the job histories of its 90 million members worldwide, including three million in Canada, to chart when moves up in rank and authority are most likely to occur. In Canada, the peak month for promotions is January, followed by April and September. The survey found that in Canada and most other countries, August is the least likely time to get a promotion, unless you are in education or retailing, where managers are preparing to gear up for the fall. This is also essential information for people who want to make a career change, because these are months when job shuffles will create openings. The timing is most likely because of the budget cycles that organizations have. Many employers, are on a calendar fiscal year, so they have a fresh budget to work with in January. Others work on a quarterly basis which is why April is the next best...

Personal Finance Apps

If getting a better handle on your finances is on your resolution list this year, here are some of the top personal finance apps from 50plus.com. Your bank’s app is a good place to start. Use it to check balances, make transfers, pay bills, keep track of your investments, or find the nearest branch or bank machine. Some of the other top-rated free  apps include Mint.com and Easy Envelope Budget Aid which lets you create a system using up to 20 virtual envelopes for regular and irregular expenses. The ability to sync your account with your smart phone, tablet and computer has another bonus: you can go online to disable the app on your devices if you lose them. If you’re willing to spend a bit, you can get the wildly popular You Need a Budget ($4.99 on iTunes and Android) It lets you check your budget and enter transactions on the go, and will automatically sync to your desktop when there’s an internet connection available. Receipts ($1.99, iTunes) makes it easy to manage all those receipts. Using the camera in your device, the app lets you take a picture of the receipt or bill and enter relevant details on the spot. If you don’t have an Apple product, there are similar apps jfor other devices like Smart Receipts Pro ($1.98, Android). Before you download… make sure the app meets your needs. Read the user reviews, consider the screen shots and see if there are any demos or tutorials online. Many apps have “free” and “pro” or “deluxe” editions. The upgraded versions often have additional features you may or may...