Canadians have shaken off the winter blues but their spending appears to still be frozen. The Quarterly Spending Report released by Moneris Solutions Corporation used credit and debit card purchases to discover consumer spending habits: what Canadians are buying and how much they are spending.
The main takeaway from the study was that consumer spending declined by 0.32% in the second quarter of 2014 as compared to the same time frame in 2013. It was also the first time Moneris had recorded two consecutive quarters of decreased spending since they started to examine consumer spending habits in 2010.
Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, says he sees some positives in the data –
“I hope this means Canadians are being more selective in their purchases,” says Schwartz. “Saving more and spending less will create positive results for an individual’s personal financial situation.”
Although the country saw a decrease in spending as a whole, there were some regional differences. British Columbia and Prince Edward Island saw consumer spending increase by 1% and 2% respectively while Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan all reported drops of more than 2%.
Angela Brown, President and CEO of Moneris Solutions, was disappointed with the findings –
“After a flat first quarter, which we attributed to this year’s harsh winter, we were hoping consumer spending would rebound in Q2,” says Brown. “We believe the slow start to spring has to do with the continuation of trends seen in Q1.”
Consolidated Credit has prepared a list of things Canadians should think about before spending their hard-earned money to ensure a successful financial future –
- Buy what you need – Focus on the important things first. Things like your mortgage, debt payments and basic necessities like food and utilities should be the first priorities when spending your money. Avoid using too much money on impulsive purchases that you suddenly want, but don’t really need. These may include kitchen gadgets you see on TV, expensive new clothes or candy and snacks.
- Keep track of spending – Making a budget and sticking to it is the cornerstone to developing responsible spending habits. Keeping track of every purchase you make on a daily, weekly or monthly basis will keep you on track and prevent you from spending money unnecessarily.
- Research before you buy – Seeking out a good deal will help you avoid racking up credit card debt. Take the time to look online, through the bargain rack or negotiate with a salesperson. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save when you make the effort.
- Go used, not new – Before you make a purchase, do a quick look around Kijiji or EBay. There’s a good chance you may be able to find a used version of the exact item that you plan to buy. You’ll be able to save lots of money by being willing to ignore a couple of dents or scratches instead of having to purchase the shiny, new version.
If you want to learn more about making responsible financial decisions, check out Consolidated Credit’s free Personal Finance educational section. If you’re struggling with debt, call one of our trained counsellors today at 1-888-294-3130 for a free debt analysis.