Canadians letting their savings slip

By John Powell | July 13, 2011 | Last updated on July 13, 2011
3 min read

Summertime means good times for most Canadians.

A TD Canada Trust Summer Spending Survey reports that Canadians are taking advantage of summer’s good vibrations by shopping, dining out, taking more trips and relaxing their spending and saving habits. According to the survey, the majority of Canadians have let their budgeting (38%), saving (37%) and bill payments (50%) slip by the wayside.

Two-thirds say the weather makes them feel happier and more willing to spend money (66%) or that there are so many activities to enjoy in the summer they figure they’ll make up the money in the colder months (64%).

Six-in-ten attribute their splurges to eating and drinking out more with friends (61%) or taking more vacations (60%).

“Summer vacations can certainly take a toll on your wallet. If you think you’ve been too carefree with your spending, there are simple things you can do to get your finances under control without compromising on summer fun so that you’re in good financial shape by the end of the season,” says Raymond Chun, Senior Vice President, TD Canada Trust.

Chun offers this advice:

1. Automate your financial responsibilities – Set up pre-authorized transfers to your regular bills and minimum credit card repayments. That way you don’t have to worry about interest and fees incurred on forgotten bills while you’re out enjoying the summer sun.

2. Revisit your budget – Calculate how much money you earn each month then subtract your expenses, like rent or mortgage repayments, food, utilities, insurance and credit card bills, to understand how much you really have left over. Subtract the amount you want to save every month, and only then do you have a true picture of what you have left for discretionary spending.

3. Don’t get carried away – Look at ways to cut down on unnecessary expenses, but don’t deprive yourself or it will be a tough budget to follow. Invite friends over for a backyard barbeque instead of frequenting restaurant patios regularly after work. Canada’s summers are beautiful so it’s tempting to splurge on summer accessories, but remember you may only get another two months out of a new pair of sandals or summer dress before the cooler weather starts rolling in.

4. Get any debts under control – Review your unpaid bills and debt obligations. If you’re low on cash and can’t make all your payments then pay the minimum required. High interest debts like credit cards should take priority. At the end of the summer if you’re still struggling with your repayments, then speak to your bank about ways to consolidate and manage your debt.

5. Start planning now for your next seasonal splurge – While enjoying the summer months can be fun, getting yourself into serious credit card debt is not. You need to break the cycle on how you pay for summer activities like vacations and eating out. Start putting aside money in advance for next year’s holidays.

The TD Canada Trust 2011 Summer Spending Survey polled a 1,000 Canadians through an online survey. The survey was conducted by Environics Research Group between June 21-26, 2011.

John Powell