Canadians are addicted to spending

November 12, 2013 | Last updated on November 12, 2013
2 min read

Many Canadians feel they’ve lost control of their finances and are unable to break free from bad spending habits. In fact, 76% admit they spend too much money, and have a hard time stopping the frivolous spending, finds a study by Capital One Canada and Credit Canada Debt Solutions.

Read: Most Canadians spend needlessly

The top vices cited include going out for dinner (29%), buying cigarettes (26%), going out for lunch (25%), clothes shopping (24%) and buying lottery tickets (24%).

“Impulse purchases may seem harmless in small doses but they quickly add up and pull you into a debt spiral,” says Laurie Campbell, CEO of Credit Canada Debt Solutions.

Read: Canadians cut holiday gift budgets

Fewer Canadians have regrets over big ticket items, which typically require planning and saving. Only 9% believe they should have bought a cheaper house and 15% a cheaper car. Regrets vary significantly across age groups. Canadians aged 18 to 29 are twice as likely as those over 50 to regret spending money on drinks and dinners (62% vs. 29%). Meanwhile, 28% of those over 50 regret purchasing too many lottery tickets.

But there’s some good news. Three-quarters of Canadians are ready to tackle their spending vices.

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Here are some tips to share with clients.

  • Keep track of spending habits over the course of a month and identify spending vices.
  • Develop a monthly budget that will help curb bad spending habits.
  • Find thrifty alternatives. If your spending vice is buying expensive coffee, start making it at home.
  • Treat yourself once a month to your spending vice — you will appreciate it that much more.
  • Think before you spend. Before you make an impulse purchase, consider what else you can do with that money.

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