British Columbia

Low Canadian dollar: Investment advisor offers tips

Here are four tips for consumers looking to save during tough times

Four things you need to know to save money during tough times

The Canadian dollar closed below 70 cents U.S. Wednesday for the first time since 2003. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Canadian consumers are feeling the squeeze because of the falling loonie, but an investment advisor says there are ways to mitigate losses.

The Canadian dollar has been wavering around 70 cents to the U.S. dollar for weeks, but on Tuesday it dipped below that threshold, and on Wednesday closed below it for the first time since 2003.

And this time around, the Canadian economy may be at an even bigger disadvantage because of a reliance on oil and gas, say analysts.

"The loonie has traded below 70 cents in '97 and 2003 when manufacturing made up a larger part of our economy. And now, oil and oil services make up a larger part," said Troy Iwanik, an associate investment advisor with HollisWealth.

"It has taken quite a lot of revenue out of our economy and a lot of capital out of our economy."

He says there's a good chance the Canadian dollar will slide further before rebounding.

Here are a few tips Iwanik has for Canadian consumers looking to save money despite the low loonie.

1. Plan travel in advance

Look around for other vacation spots besides the U.S., says Iwanik. "Do a lot of planning ... you want to look at a currency that's lower relative to ours." For instance, people may want to head to Mexico instead of Hawaii for that sun holiday.

2. Compare prices

Iwanik says there are apps designed to help people compare prices on consumer goods.

Redflag Deals, Shopbot, Pricegrabber: "These are tools Canadians should use to explore the prices of things they're looking to buy. Those are mainly bigger ticket items."

Goods that require big investments, like appliances, can even cost less during certain parts of the year, he said. He suggests taking a look at to find out when is the best time to buy.

3. Save on groceries

But sometimes the smaller, but regular expenses are what counts.

"I would say groceries are especially important," said Iwanik.

He recommends taking a look at apps like Checkout51, and Flipp.

Iwanik also suggests buying from farmers markets or signing up for an organic delivery service to save money.

Some grocery stores even offer discounts on imperfect goods.

"Loblaws does offer 30 percent off on their blemished produce."

4. Diversify investments

Canada only makes up three to four per cent of world GDP, acccording to Iwanik.

"You don't want to be too heavily weighted in Canada with your equities and your bonds."

Iwanik suggests adding global and U.S investments to the mix.


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