The level of inflation in Canada caught me off guard when I arrived here. Many things have doubled in price. Eating out is most times astronomically expensive compared to 2 years ago. A meal size salad can cost around $18. I am quoting everything in Canadian dollars.
Most entrees used to be around $10 to $15 in 2020. It is now around $20 and more. Add $4 and up for a drink. The one item that I find astronomically expensive is luggage. In 2020 we paid $75 for a very large suitcase. In most places, it's around $170 on the cheap side to $300.
When I arrived there was a lettuce phenomenon. I paid $0.99 to $1.99 in 2020 for a head of lettuce. It's now $6.00 to $10.00. Some restaurants stopped serving it in their meals. When I was told that, I couldn't believe it. I mean, this is Canada, the land of plenty of everything! I could not order a caesar salad anywhere.
While food is still abundant compared to every other place I've been, there are sometimes empty shelves for some food items. I feel as if I'm in the twilight zone when I see empty shelves here. It's not something I am used to. This is also seen in the pharmacies where cold and flu medications are hard to come by. I've looked for a particular over the counter item and have not been successful in finding it. It's sold out on Amazon too. I think even though it is reported that the level of inflation is just under 6 percent, I believe it must be much higher than that. It feels more like 15 percent or higher. Add rents, higher mortgage payments, higher interest rates, increasing cost of gasoline, heating, electricity, clothing, the federal tax, the provincial tax and also the personal income tax to consider. I wonder how people make ends meet. Even the discount malls have become more expensive. Some of my friends who were thinking about retirement have postponed it to much later. Some people who have never been here forget that there is the cost of clothing and bedding for Canada's four seasons which adds to the cost of living.
I've been looking at people's grocery carts. I no longer see extravagant shopping. Even at Christmas time, I only saw a few people with almost full shopping carts. The items in it no longer include as much unhealthy food. I even had a junk food check. When I saw the price of a bag of chips, I nearly fainted. It was $4. I headed over to the fruit section and spent the same money on healthier raspberries instead. I'm learning that people are not wasting as much food as they used to. It's far too expensive to allow things to spoil. I saw the price of a plump whole chicken in the grocery just before Christmas and had to do a double take. It was almost $30.00.
I've been asked if it is cheaper to live elsewhere. My answer is yes. Even though prices have increased in Portugal, it is more affordable. It was the same in Brazil. In Brazil, there's a much wider variety of seasonal food. In both countries, the meats taste more organic and are less fatty than in Canada. Inflation is affecting everyone everywhere on a global scale, even in this land of milk and honey.