New study shows top spending vices include restaurant meals, cigarettes, clothing and lottery tickets

Toronto (November 12, 2013) – Three quarters of Canadians are ready to tackle their spending vices, suggests new research released today. The study, Every Dollar Counts, was conducted by Capital One Canada and Credit Canada Debt Solutions to kick off the seventh annual Credit Education Week, taking place November 12 to 15 across Canada.

The in-depth study reveals the majority of Canadians feel they have lost control of their finances and a key problem is their inability to break free from bad spending habits. A staggering 76 per cent of respondents admitted that they know they spend too much money on certain items, but have a hard time stopping the frivolous spending.

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

“Spending vices are a form of addiction, so people really do need to work hard to break the cycle,” says Laurie Campbell, CEO of Credit Canada Debt Solutions. “Impulse purchases may seem harmless in small doses but they quickly add up and pull you into a debt spiral.”

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

“Spending vices have one thing in common—immediate yet fleeting gratification,” says Brent Reynolds, VP, Marketing & Analytics, Capital One Canada. “Planning ahead and taking control of your finances means you can now use your money for things that will help you meet your goals.”

This year, Credit Education Week’s focus is “every dollar counts.” Every day Canadians are faced with an excess of spending choices big and small; by making “every dollar count” Canadians are empowered to take control of their spending. Activities across Canada will be taking place throughout the week in an effort to help improve financial literacy. Visit to learn more.

Credit Canada Debt Solutions and Capital One Canada offer the following tips to make every dollar count:

  • Keep track of your spending habits over the course of a month and identify your spending vices
  • Develop a monthly budget that will help curb your 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

About the survey           

In September 2013, Credit Canada Debt Solutions and Capital One Canada commissioned a survey of 803 Canadians equally distributed across the 4 major regions of Canada (West, Ontario, Quebec and East) and the margin of error is +/- 3.5%, 19 times out of 20.

About Credit Canada Debt Solutions

Credit Canada Debt Solutions is a non-profit charitable service that has assisted thousands of people with credit counselling and debt management programs since 1966. Credit Canada Debt Solutions is a member of the Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services and a Charter Member of the Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services.  Visit for more info.

About Capital One

With offices in Toronto and Montreal, Capital One has offered Canadian consumers a range of competitive MasterCard credit cards since 1996, and now includes the Aspire suite of rewards cards which are regularly cited by leading rewards experts for the great value they offer consumers. Capital One Canada is a division of Capital One Bank, a subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation of McLean, Virginia (NYSE: COF). Capital One believes in empowering Canadians to take control of their finances through programs and resources like, Credit Education Week Canada, and the Capital One Financial Education Challenge.

Share This