If someone told you a year ago that comfy sweats would become far more important in your life than fancy clothes, would you have believed them? In the past year, just about every aspect of our lives changed – and so did the things we prefer to buy. The change in supply and demand has meant some things have become cheaper but, alas, many things also cost more than they did a year ago. No, it’s not your imagination: Statistics Canada keeps track of the price of food and other items, so we can tell you for sure about these 20 things more expensive this year than in 2020.
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The Great Toilet Paper Panic of early 2020, as everyone started preparing for the first lockdown, naturally led to higher prices and we’re still feeling the effects nearly a year later. A four-pack of toilet paper is now over 11% more expensive than this time last year.
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Paper towels may be convenient but they’re terrible for the environment. If you still haven’t given up the paper-towel habit, now is the time. It will save you money too, since a two-pack of paper towels is now almost 5% more expensive than this time last year.
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We’re not going to lecture you if you’re a smoker. After all, you know by now that quitting is one of the things that can help you live longer. So we’ll just throw this little tidbit out there: a carton of 200 cigarettes is now nearly 6% more expensive than it was this time last year.
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Beef is one of the things Canadians pay less for than their neighbours south of the border. Still, it’s cold comfort, considering that beef is generally more expensive now than a year ago, with a more than 8% increase in the price of prime rib roast. Sirloin steak saw a price increase of about 2.4% and stewing beef is just over 3% more expensive. If you’re not ready to give up red meat just yet, it might be time to switch to burgers, meatballs and meatloaf: ground beef is now over 6% cheaper than last year.
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The smell of bacon is one of those things that can make even vegetarian mouths water. It’s not very good for you, however, so maybe the fact that it’s over 4% more expensive this year than last will inspire you to eat it in moderation.
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Looking for foods that will boost your immune system? You can’t go wrong with eggs. It’s not only their health benefits that make them a pantry staple either: they can be a meal on their own but they’re also a main ingredient in so many other dishes. In fact, it’s probably because everyone started baking during lockdown that eggs are now nearly 9% more expensive than they were before Covid.
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Lean chicken is one of those fat-burning foods because it actually takes more energy to digest it than the calories it puts into your body. Unfortunately, chicken is over 8% more expensive this year than last year so you might want to consider other ways to burn energy too.
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Salmon is one of the best foods to eat for younger-looking skin and is great for your heart: both in the physical and emotional sense. In health terms, canned salmon is usually just as good as the fresh stuff. However, it’s now more than 12% more expensive than at the beginning of 2020.
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Canned soup is versatile and convenient but it also tends to be chock-full of sodium. If you haven’t done so yet, now is the time to invest in a slow cooker and make your own, healthier soup. Considering the fact that canned soup is nearly 5% more expensive this year than it was last year, a slow cooker will turn out to be a great investment.
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Canned baked beans
No camping or hiking trip is complete without baked beans eaten straight from the can. They’re a great source of energy and fibre and let’s face it: they’re delicious. However, they’re more than 12% more expensive this year. It’s probably a good thing then that gas is cheaper, so at least you’ll save money just getting to those amazing camping spots.
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That mushroom omelette is a tasty, quick and easy meal that’s actually better for you than you thought. If only mushrooms weren’t so much more expensive: the versatile fungi saw a price increase of around 8% in the past year.
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Potatoes have always been a staple food and back in Granny’s day, they were about as cheap as the dirt in which they were grown. However, they’ve seen a price increase of over 4% just in the past year. Still, it’s better to buy a big bag of potatoes and make your poutine from scratch: frozen fries are over 8% more expensive this year.
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Junk food is just not junk food without a good helping of ketchup. Unfortunately, ketchup is nearly 8% more expensive in 2021 than it was in 2020. It may be more economical – and, frankly, much better for your health – to learn how to make your own: after all, canned tomatoes saw a price increase of only about 1.4%.
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Tomato juice is rich in Vitamin C and a great option if you crave something salty without the calories. It’s also a staple in many a cocktail. While tomato juice has seen a price increase of more than 6% in the past year, mixing your Bloody Mary at home is still a cheaper – and safer – option than going to a bar.
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Oranges are one of those foods that naturally elevate your mood. Just think of that clean, fresh smell when you peel one of these juicy babies. Alas, they’re over 3% more expensive now. Even worse for your mood may be the more than 5% increase in the price of orange juice, though. It’s probably not a bad idea to invest in a juicer.
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They’re sweet and crispy, help clean your teeth and freshen your breath and are one of the easiest, healthiest snacks to pop into your bag or keep on the kitchen counter. Unfortunately, apples saw a price increase of nearly 4% from last year to this year. At least the price increase for apple juice hurts a little less: just over 2%.
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Because of their high Vitamin A content, carrots are one of the best foods to eat to keep you thriving while indoors. This might be a factor in their price increase of over 6%, though. After all, more people have been staying indoors during lockdown and needing ways to thrive.
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The baby food diet is probably not the best option for you if you are on a strict budget. It’s probably not the best option for your baby either. A jar of baby food is nearly 5% more expensive this year than in 2020. You – and your baby – will be much better off if you just mush some cheap, fresh fruit and veggies in a blender and skip the additives.
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Processed cheese slices
There are many reasons to switch from processed cheese slices to a mature cheddar or Parmesan. For one, decent cheese that doesn’t taste like plastic adds more flavour to your food, so you’ll need less of it. Besides, processed cheese slices are now over 9% more expensive than they were last year.
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In most of Canada, the cost of real estate has seen a big increase over the past year, with places like Toronto even seeing record-breaking prices. The percentage change obviously depends on location, location, location but in Muskoka, for instance, there’s been an increase of over 20% in the average price of real estate, according to RE/MAX. There is a caveat, though: the price increase mainly applies to single detached homes like the Real Housewives’ "cottages". Downtown condos have generally seen a drop in price.
Written ByDoug Murray