‘I just can’t keep up’: Maritime family shares struggles as cost of living climbs

People across the Maritimes are feeling the hurt of a 31-year-high inflation.

From gas to groceries, prices are going into pocket books right across the country.

With two young and growing kids, food evaporates quickly at Alex Place and Tyler Hayes’ apartment. It’s the bills that aren’t as easily digestible.

“Especially food and gas is probably the biggest thing for us right now,” Place said.

The pair has two incomes and two vehicles, but also two car payments.

“Our Mazda 5 went from filling it to around $60, could be a little more give-or-take, to about $90,” Place said. “And I personally drive a truck, so it’s a lot more for me. I’m not able to drive really anywhere anymore when I used to drive everywhere.”

Compared to a year ago, the couple estimates they’re spending about $50 to $100 more on groceries every two weeks and it now costs about $130 more to fill up both vehicles.

“No matter how hard I work, it’s constant. I mean, I could work eight days a week and I just can’t keep up with it,” Hayes said.

One big expense that did drop for the pair is daycare thanks to subsidies from the province and Ottawa. But even that bill still eats up about half of Place’s paycheque.

A year ago, they were living with family to save for a house. It’s a dream they’ve delayed and now face setbacks, like the cost of their dog’s medical bills that keep mounting, which the couple has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help.

Their plan is to sell their truck and explore the possibility of moving West or to a more affordable province.

For now, they’re cutting costs by cutting back.

“Don’t go camping every weekend like we used to, we don’t go out with friends,” Place said.

“We do things, activities with our friends, that might be free instead of taking them to the zoo and paying for entrance fees.”

Place buys in bulk at Costco and use coupons whenever she can. She also buys second-hand furniture. The idea that inflation could keep growing is troublesome.

“It’s scary to be frank because if it’s already hard as a two-income family and we’re paycheque-to-paycheque now. What is it going to look like in the future? What are we going to have to cut out?” she said.

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