Skip to main content
carrick on money

I’m not sure how annoyed to be about the smaller packaging phenomenon in stores called shrinkflation.

Rising prices are everywhere these days and we’re all starting to feel some inflation exhaustion. Shrinkflation is when a company cuts the size of its product to keep costs in line. You get less instead of having to pay more.

A recent Associated Press story published on the Globe and Mail website offered a perfect example of shrinkflation: One box of Kleenex with 65 sheets and another with 60 sheets. It’s a clear case of inflation getting right up in your face.

Where I’ve noticed shrinkflation is in breakfast cereal. Some cereal boxes these days are laughably thin – I doubt a hungry teenager gets more than a few servings.

Shrinkflation is inflationary pricing by stealth. It’s near impossible to track precisely because few of us have old packages of grocery items available to compare to those we’re buying now. Still, I wonder if there’s a positive side to shrinkflation. OK, a modestly positive side.

For one thing, you’re not assaulted with yet another supermarket price hike. A little price stability on things you buy often is a welcome development with overall inflation running at 6.8 per cent. Also, there’s an opportunity to make up for smaller packaging by consuming less of a product. Finally, getting a bit less for your money isn’t always a bad thing. One less chicken and cheese tacquito might actual be a net plus for your health.

I’d love to see any photos you have documenting shrinkflation – send them to me at I also want to hear your views on shrinkflation. Would you rather the clarity of a straight price increase, or the more subtle approach of smaller packaging?

I did a little research for this newsletter in our cereal cupboard and found something interesting. Sometimes, a bigger box doesn’t mean you’re getting more. Both of these boxes have the same 311 grams, but one’s quite a bit larger. BTW, Oreo O’s are great. Better than the cookie.

The Globe and Mail

Subscribe to Carrick on Money

Are you reading this newsletter on the web or did someone forward the e-mail version to you? If so, you can sign up for Carrick on Money here.

Rob’s personal finance reading list

Behind the scenes on home makeover shows

Admit it, you’ve watched TV shows where a team of designers and contractors descend on a home, gut it and then rebuild it better than ever. The New York Times reports on how that better than ever part doesn’t always work out.

Scene+ vs. Air Miles on this week’s big developments in customer loyalty programs for people who shop at the grocery and drugstore chains owned by Empire Co., including Sobeys, Safeway, FreshCo and IGA. Say goodbye to Air Miles and hello to Scene+.

Attention, recession preppers

Solid advice on how to prepare in case the fight against inflation pushes the economy into recession. Aimed at a U.S. audience, but is quite relevant to us all.

Crypto critic cites predatory behaviour

Molly White is a 28-year-old software engineer who writes Wikipedia articles. She’s also a leading voice among people who are skeptical of some of the claims being made about cryptocurrency. “Most of my disdain is reserved for the big players who are marketing this to a mainstream audience as though it’s an investment, often promising to be a ticket out of a really tough financial spot for people who don’t have many options,” White says. “It’s very predatory.” Here’s some additional information on crypto scamming.

Ask Rob

Q: Will you have a robo advisors review this year including performance?

A: Here’s my latest Globe and Mail robo-adviser guide, with comparative data on returns, fees and portfolio holdings.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer everyone personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

Today’s financial tool

Ontario’s Ukrainian Credit Union is offering no-fee bank accounts, debit cards and credit cards to Ukrainians taking refuge in Canada from the war in their country.

The Money-Free Zone

Here’s a cult favourite from 1969 – Spirit of the Golden Juice, by F.J. McMahon. A laid-back country-rock-blues mix that feels just right. BTW, the golden juice is a reference to bourbon. A good starting point is the first song on the album, Sister Brother.

Watch this

A portfolio manager looks at the benefits of using a ladder of guaranteed investment certificates as opposed to bond ETFs. His analysis hinges on the fact that rising interest rates have hurt the price of exchange-traded funds holding bonds.

Has inflation derailed your financial plan?

Get some FREE advice from The Globe and Mail about your unique financial situation by e-mailing to be part of our Financial Facelift series. You can share your story under a false name and our photographers will obscure your identity in one of our trademark Financial Facelift photos. We’re especially keen to hear from the young, the struggling, the self-employed, the partially-employed, restaurant workers, freelancers, contract workers, and small business owners. Hopefully, our advice can help you weather these stormy times and help make sure your financial future is secure.

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories

More Rob Carrick and money coverage

Subscribe to Stress Test on Apple podcasts or Spotify. For more money stories, follow me on Instagram and Twitter, and join the discussion on my Facebook page. Millennial readers, join our Gen Y Money Facebook group.

Even more coverage from Rob Carrick:

Are you reading this newsletter on the web or did someone forward the e-mail version to you? If so, you can sign up for Carrick on Money here.