With Financial Literacy Month fast approaching, you’re probably going to come across a lot of articles about spending. You may have even heard by now how Canadians have record debt levels. Sure it’s a concerning stat, but what does that really mean to the everyday person?

Stats don’t tell the whole story but they can at least give some insight into how some people view and manage their money. Earlier this year I asked: are you a seasonal spender? According to the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), we spend more in the summer and winter. This wasn’t unexpected due to the nature of the seasons, but I did wonder if these people would be able to stick to their spending plans.

Try not to overspend

Staying on budget

CPA Canada followed up their summer survey and found that almost four in ten respondents (39%) spent more than anticipated this summer. Although it was a different group that was surveyed this time around, 29% of the new participants reported that they overspent by $1,000 or more in the summer.

Surprisingly travel wasn’t one of the main reasons cited for going over budget; yard work, transportation, home renovations, and dining out were the main culprits.

“Sticking to a budget or simply tracking spending is never easy, especially with the opportunities to spend that can come with summer’s warmer temperatures,” says Carine Wilson, vice-president, corporate citizenship, CPA Canada.

The good news is that even if overspending was an issue for you, it’s not that hard to get back on track if you follow a few simple tips.

  • Track your spending and create a realistic budget
  • Watch your spending and only buy necessities
  • Don’t go out as often

It takes discipline to save which you’re going to need with the holiday season coming up.

Are you saving for the holidays?

Overspending in December is a pretty common theme so CPA Canada also just released their Holiday spending survey which had some interesting stats.

  • 35% say they have already started saving for the holidays
  • 18% plan to save for gifts
  • 46% have no plan to save for the upcoming holiday season
  • 1% say they don’t know

Although it’s encouraging more than half of those surveyed plan to save for the holidays, I don’t really get why just 35% have already started saving. The holidays come at the same time every year. We should be building gifts into our monthly budgets so we’ll have the money available when it comes time to buy them.

It’s impossible for me to say how the 46% without a plan to save will spend their money, but I pray they don’t plan on putting it all on credit. Seriously, it reminds me of this episode of Family Guy.

Another way to save for gifts is to sign up to do online surveys. I fill out Harris Poll surveys on a regular basis to collect points which I can use later to claim merchandise or gift cards. Admittedly it takes a lot of time to collect enough points, but I do it passively during my free time. Use my affiliate link now if you’re interested in doing online surveys.

Final thoughts

Regardless of the season managing your spending doesn’t need to be stressful. It’s pretty clear that we spend more in the summer and winter so we need to try our best to make sure we have the funds available to enjoy the things we want to do. That being said, it’s perfectly fine to stay in more often. Saving is way more important than spending and you should never have a fear of missing out.


  1. seattlegirluw on October 30, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    I totally understand with the yard work. My FIL was taking okay care of the yard last year. Or maybe we just were more neglectful. But this year we’ve had to spend a bunch of money because some [expletive] people call us in to the city. Might be the people in the park (we live literally next door) but it’s probably a neighbor. Which is frustrating because several houses in our area have problem yards. Sigh.

    Anyway, this year we’ve spent probably $500. Stupid weeds.

    I broke up the shopping for my husband’s presents. But I’ve got almost all of them purchased, and most of the rest are going to be purchased by my mom or his parents.

    • Barry Choi on October 30, 2015 at 9:00 pm


      Well that’s really annoying. I hate neighbours who feel like they need to police the neighbourhood. Also good for you for getting all your shopping done so early.

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