6 Ways to Keep Your Hard-Earned Money in Canada this Year

... even when you can't read every label

Canadian and U.S. relations are tense at best, and the trade war between countries is causing a lot of the strain. Earlier this month Canada retaliated to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports by applying tariffs to over $16 billion worth of Made in USA products.

Canadians have been claiming that they will be pulling their support from U.S.-based companies and products, and favouring Canadian products. Although the sentiment is nice, the application is often more complicated.

Baby steps are better than no steps, and making small changes to your typical consumer choices is often easier to maintain than a complete buyer overhaul. You may not have time to read every label, or be able to pay more for local produce when imported is less, but there are some very simple changes you can make that supports the Canadian economy during the trade wars.

Here are six simple ways to keep your money in Canada:

Drink cucumber water

I love to add a bit of flavour to my water, especially on a hot summer day. I normally reach for a lemon or lime, but I’ve started using local cucumbers in my water instead, and have found the act both cost cutting and just as flavourful.

Support your Local Farmers’ Market

During the summer and fall months, there is an abundance of local and seasonal produce. Most cities and towns have a weekend Farmers’ Market, and creating space on a Saturday morning to stock up on some local produce, bursting in flavour, is an excellent way to support your local economy. You might also find produce sold in parking lots during the weekdays, or even local Ontario produce at your grocery store.

Buy cards at local boutiques

There are plenty of places to buy cards besides chain stores with marked up prices on mass-produced cards. Consider buying a package of handmade cards from local boutiques or small businesses to give out for birthdays, anniversaries, or thank yous.

Make your own salsa using fresh ingredients

Instead of buying premade salsa, consider making your own using fresh local tomatoes, onion, garlic, and a dash of oil. You can also opt out of guacamole to save on the high price of imported avocados and replace it with your homemade salsa.

Buy gifts from local businesses

Social media is a beautiful place to find local businesses, and if you follow your favourite local shops online you’ll even be notified of sales. I always try to create a budget when buying a gift, and find a local small business to support with my budget, instead of buying something at a big commercial retailer.

Support Microbreweries

Beer made by small local microbreweries are booming, and there are so many options and types of beer to choose from. Consider supporting your local microbrewery by buying straight from them, or finding local and Canadian-made beer.

Even without the relationship strain with our neighbours to the South, getting into the practice of creating these micro-acts of support is a great way to put your money into the local economy, and support the Canadian economy.


Brianna Bell is a writer and journalist based out of Guelph, Ontario. She has written for many online and print publications, including Scary Mommy, The Penny Hoarder, and The Globe & Mail. 

Brianna's budget-savvy ways has attracted media attention, and led to newspaper coverage in The Globe & Mail and The Guelph Mercury. In April 2016 Brianna will be featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less, alongside co-writer Brooke Burke. You can find Brianna's website at Brianna Bell Writes.