For one Winnipeg mom, the need to manage her daily expenses has become more important than ever.
Taking care of her three children, Patricia Marquez sees her household expenses increase. That’s why she’s been monitoring the numbers closely since 2017, when she was first pregnant.
“I was initially looking for ways to save on diapers and formula,” said Marquez, who came across places to use coupons on social media. Since then, she has used coupons to reduce costs.
“I usually budget $300 a week for all of us. I have formula coupons (and) diaper coupons. I print food coupons and toiletries. That would definitely bring me down to less than $100,” said Marquez, who added that she wasn’t concerned about that. On the contrary, she finds coupons addictive.
She said she plans the week every Thursday when the flyers arrive. She then matches prices with the coupons she has available and browses other options like apps to determine which points she can redeem. For her, the importance is making sure each item costs a dollar or less.
“If it’s more than a dollar, I think it’s expensive,” Marquez said.
The focus, she emphasized, is budgeting.
Now that the provincial election is fast approaching, Marquez is in the same boat as other Manitobans. For her, as for others, affordability is a priority – a concern that arises as expenses rise. Malcolm Bird, an a*sociate professor of political science at the University of Winnipeg, said the provincial government has the power to help in areas like housing.
Concerns about rising grocery or fuel costs are being handled more by the federal government. What the province can do to improve affordability, Bird said, it should do.
“The provincial government and cities must manage the needs to provide more housing. And where provincial governments really play an important role is also in the rental housing market,” Bird said.
The professor highlighted other elements, like taxes, as a way for individuals to better understand how affordability is affected. He said when it comes to filing taxes, Manitobans can earn up to $15,000 tax-free. According to tax expert Evelyn Jacks, this is something that will save individuals around $1,600 per year.
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But more should be done, Jacks said.
“Take a look at the different tax profile groups…the federal government has allowed student loan interest forgiveness,” Jacks said. “(The) provincial government can waive interest on student loans.”
Jacks said there are ways to tackle taxes in a way that makes life more affordable, such as increasing tax credits or creating a graduate credit that would encourage more people to stay in Manitoba.
The importance, she added, is making sure people file their taxes to find out if they qualify for existing tax credits.
– with files from Teagan Rasche of Global
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