Family Day in B.C. celebrated amid mounting financial challenges

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Employees at Mary’s on Davie spent Monday making milkshakes and chicken fingers some of their youngest customers.

The West End restaurant invited families to a free meal for their children to mark Family Day.

“We’re giving away, to give back,” said Brent Christensen, the Director of Operations of Mary’s on Davie.

The holiday aims to give people a chance to spend time with their loved ones. But with soaring inflation and high interest rates, having a family in 2023 is more expensive than ever.

“I’m a family guy myself and I think about all the struggles we went through. Down here in the West End where it’s really expensive to live, I know that families down here they could use the extra help,” Christensen said.

“These last few years have felt like a battle royale for everyone in the world and now it’s time to stop thinking about the challenges for ourselves and to start thinking about our brothers and sisters and the community around us.”

The decision to give families a break on the cost of food comes in the wake of. Statistics Canada reporting an 11 per cent increase for food at grocery stores. And that’s just one way the cost of living has skyrocketed.

“Wages have still not kept up, the cost of childcare has increased, the supports to family members from government have actually decreased but they’re starting to pick back up. I do think it’s harder to be a parent in so many ways right now,” said Julia Chung, the Senior Financial Planner and CEO at Spring Planning.

She believes that could play a part in Canada’s decreasing birthrate, which has seen a steady decline since 2008, according to Statistics Canada.

“Children are very expensive,” she says, offering some advice. “Manage your own expectations about what you’re going to be able to accomplish when your kids are young.”

She says the average parent spends the most money on their children until about the age of seven.

To save money, many parents have turned to coupon clipping or price matching to help offset costs but Jung reminds people that is time consuming.

“I always say to people: What’s my time budget? What’s my monetary budget? And then, what’s most important to me?”

With Monday being a day off, time is on the side of families looking for something budget-friendly to do. Many local attractions and museums offered free admission.

Whether it’s a free meal or a free event — experts say finding freebies where you can is one way to decrease stress while celebrating.

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