Gas is a recurring expense for Canada’s nearly 27 million drivers. You might consider taking the subway once in a while to lower your gas costs. But during times of inflation, let’s face it: gas prices are out of your control.
How to Manage Debt and Inflation
For many provinces, including British Columbia, Newfoundland, and Quebec, gas prices can be astronomically high. Pair that with expensive groceries, lifestyle inflation, and the everyday stresses of finances — paying for gas can be the sour cherry on top.
Here at Credit Canada, we help thousands of Canadians reclaim control of their finances and get out of debt, even during stressful times of inflation. Whether it’s through money management techniques, debt consolidation, or one-on-one credit counselling, we take pride in offering a light at the end of the dark tunnel of debt.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by increasing costs and gas prices, you’re not alone. We’ll cover some of the pressures behind gas prices in Canada and discuss a few ways you can overcome the burden.
What Impacts the Price of Gas?
Gas price fluctuations can be difficult to understand at first. The product stays the same, so why does the price increase?
The truth is, tons of factors influence gas prices, including:
- Supply and demand
- World events, including geopolitical conflict
- The price of crude oil
- Dollar valuation fluctuations
- Weather conditions
- Local and international competition
How do gas prices affect Canadians? Our clients tell us that expensive gas makes it harder to keep up with their monthly payments, including their credit card payments, rent, vehicle costs, groceries, utilities, and other monthly bills. Canadians with electric vehicles avoid the burden of fluctuating gas prices, but the reality is that many of us can’t afford a Tesla or new hybrid car.
So, what can we do to minimize these costs? Unfortunately, in most cases, these high prices won’t change — if anything, they may increase even more over time. So it's important to learn how to manage our spending in areas we can control.
5 Tips to Find Relief Amidst Rising Gas Prices
You can’t change the price of gas, but you can add some strategy to your spending. Check out these helpful tips:
1. Fill Up Your Tank on Tuesday Mornings
Gas prices fluctuate throughout the week, with weekends (Fridays) having the highest prices. If you can’t make it on Tuesday, try your best to make it before Thursday, when gas prices tend to rise.
Additionally, Canada Drives recommends drivers fill up their tanks early in the morning or later in the evening. Cooler temperatures make gas denser, which means more fuel for the same price in your typical fill-up.
2. Watch Out for Lifestyle Inflation
Our CEO, Bruce Sellery, describes in a Bloomberg interview how “lifestyle inflation” can nudge us to spend more. Lifestyle inflation happens when we spend more as we earn more — or in some cases when we have a surplus of cash due to spending less.
To help avoid the temptation, look at your credit card bill for any superfluous spending you can control. You might not be able to cut down on increased grocery costs, but you can limit other discretionary costs, like eating out at restaurants multiple times per month or subscribing to five different streaming services.
Also, remember to reach out to your cable, cellphone, and internet providers at least once a year to inquire about any savings you might be missing out on.
Catching small savings can help you accommodate the burden of rising gas costs.
Another way to slow down lifestyle inflation is to hide that cash. Automate savings and keep moving money into TFSAs, RRSPs, and other savings accounts to resist the urge to splurge.
3. Download a Gas App
The world of tech has caught onto the universal desire for discounts. That’s why iOS and Android users can download various gas apps to help pinpoint local stations with the most competitive prices. Consider downloading GasBuddy or Waze to get the latest updates on stations with cheap prices.
4. Switch Up Your Driving Schedule
Do you drive to work every day? Pick up the kids from school? Consider carpooling with a co-worker to save on costs, coordinating school pick-ups with another parent, or negotiating more “work-from-home” days if your occupation and employer allow it. You may also want to consider taking public transit into work once or twice a week to help manage high gas prices.
5. Show Your Car Some TLC
Are you putting off maintenance appointments? You could be increasing your gas bill in the long run. A poorly maintained car needs more gas to get you from point A to B. Attend regular tune-ups and check tire pressure to reduce friction (and save on mileage).
Let Credit Canada Help You Manage Monthly Expenses
The bottom line? Soaring gas prices are stressful, and adding credit card debt, high-interest loans, and every other expense to the mix doesn’t help.
But even though you can’t control gas prices, you can take steps to lower your costs. If you need more support, our Credit Counsellors are here to help. From budgeting assistance to debt consolidation, we’re here to walk you through all the options available to you.
Ready to feel empowered about your finances? Contact us today for a totally free, unbiased, and confidential consultation.
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