Canadians are splurging on ‘guilty pleasures,’ and it’s adding up: survey

Grabbing takeout for dinner can seem like a relatively small indulgence, but a new study suggests that Canadians are giving in to “guilty pleasures” quite often — and it’s adding up.

A survey conducted by the Angus Reid Forum and Capital One found that most Canadians admit to spending money on things they don’t really need each month.

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The most popular indulgence was food, with 72 per cent saying they dine out several times a month and 71 per cent admitting to regularly ordering takeout. Half of Canadians buy daily coffees.

The report indicates that millennials are more likely to order takeout and buy coffee. Two-in-five say they order takeout at least once a week, compared to one-in-five Canadians over 55.

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When it comes to how much money they spend on food, 52 per cent of Canadians said they shell out less than $50 a month on takeout food, additionally, 38 per cent said they spend between $50 and $99 a month on eating out.

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Most respondents said they spend on food and coffee to treat themselves, but millennials were more likely to cite convenience as the reason.

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Other common monthly indulgences Canadians admitted to included online shopping (44 per cent), buying clothes (33 per cent), and spending on beauty services (23 per cent).

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The survey highlights that while giving in to guilty pleasures occasionally is OK, some Canadians may be doing it too often.

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And one-third of Canadians admit they don’t put anything into their savings on a monthly basis.

“It’s easier than ever to order in, hail a ride and shop online without ever opening your wallet, but you can lose sight of where your money is going if you’re not careful,” Capital One Canada CEO Brent Reynolds said in a news release.

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The company explains that striking the right balance between spending and saving is key, and in some ways, millennials are beating out older Canadians.

Millennials were more likely take budget-friendly actions such as use coupons, sell possessions, cancel unnecessary subscriptions. Nineteen per cent of millennials said they would get a second job if needed.

Budgeting tips

Canadians looking to cut out some unnecessary expenses should set monthly goals and consistently track them, Capital One explained.

Making a budget that fits unique needs should be based on three aspects: your net income, a list of living expenses, and other things you spend money on.

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Credit Canada, a non-for-profit that advises Canadians on how to manage money, says putting a budget in writing is important.

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It advises Canadians to be smart, but also realistic about how much they will end up spending. Then, set up short-term goals such as saving for a trip, medium-term goals such as saving for a car, and long-term goals such as retirement.

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Along with cutting out unnecessary expenses, and setting savings goals, Canadians should also have an emergency fund to cover up to six months of living expenses in case of unexpected events.

This survey was completed by 1,510 Canadian adults by Capital One Canada and the Angus Reid Forum, between Aug. 17-21. The margin of error is +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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