Toronto, ON (October 11, 2017) – Everyone has a “guilty pleasure” they can’t ignore. Whether it’s a shoe obsession, ordering takeout when there’s food in the fridge or signing up for that subscription box, Canadians are finding that their regular indulgences can quickly add up – and wreak havoc on essential household expenses when not managed properly. In support of Credit Education Week, which runs from November 6-10, Capital One Canada and Credit Canada asked Canadians about their financial guilty pleasures and ways in which they account for them in their budgets.
According to a study on financial guilty pleasures, Canadians overwhelmingly admit that restaurant food is their most popular indulgence, with 72 per cent dining out and 71 per cent ordering takeout more than a few times in a typical month – and spending upwards of $199 on this each month. After restaurants and takeout, Canadians most frequently treat themselves to daily coffee purchases (50 per cent), online shopping (44 per cent), clothes shopping (33 per cent) and beauty services (23 per cent).
“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,” says Brent Reynolds, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Capital One Canada. “To keep track, regularly review your credit card account statements or mobile app against your monthly budget. Ask yourself honestly if your guilty pleasure is getting out of hand, and if you need to re-evaluate how often you indulge to find a balance that works with your finances.”
Indeed, it is all about balance. In fact, when it comes to making sacrifices to better afford their guilty pleasures, millennials seem to have the edge, being more willing than those over the age of 55 to hunt for coupons (38% vs. 20%), sell possessions (23% vs. 5%), cancel subscriptions (20% vs. 7%) or get a second job (19% vs. 4%). But there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. While one person’s guilty pleasure may seem like a waste of money to another, financial responsibility comes down to managing essential and non-essential spending against income and saving for the future. Knowing how to create a monthly budget and using a budget calculator can help identify essential and non-essential expenses. Tools like Credit Keeper™ also make it possible to view one’s credit score, a good indicator of overall credit health, so Canadians can better understand and manage credit.
While the majority of Canadians (65 per cent) believe that they are in good financial standing, one-third (33 per cent) under the age of 55 admit that they are not putting any funds into savings, with 25 per cent of consumers attributing their lack of financial goals to their spending habits. In fact, this increases to 39 per cent of millennials who also experience contention with their spouses (29 per cent) over their indulgent spending and hide their spending from others (27 per cent).
“The occasional indulgence may seem harmless, but they can quickly add up and actually stand between you and your financial goals, like home ownership or retirement,” says Laurie Campbell, CEO of Credit Canada. “According to the study, people heading into retirement are the most likely to not save. If indulging means sacrificing savings, or adding to your overall debt level, you need to take a step back and consider the impact on your financial standing over time.”
Tips for Managing Guilty Pleasures
Capital One Canada and Credit Canada offer the following tips to help keep indulgent spending in check:
- Budget building: Create a realistic budget based on your income. Include necessary expenses like transportation and rent, saving for the future and any discretionary spending. Place spending limits by categories in your budget, and then take your budget for a test drive. Remember that tools like a budget calculator can help identify areas in your budget where expenses can be cut to achieve a specific financial goal, such as a winter getaway.
- Track and evaluate: Track your spending regularly against these set categories to see where your money is actually going. A budget tracker can help track this against your budget, as well as looking at your credit or debit account statements. If guilty pleasure spending is getting out of hand, re-evaluate how often you indulge or consider a cheaper alternative.
- Mindful monitoring: A credit card offers many perks, but it’s important to use it responsibly to reap all the benefits. If you’re consistently holding a balance on your card at the end of each month, take a step back, review your budget and see where you can find efficiencies. Tools like Credit Keeper can help you better understand credit and the importance of a healthy credit score to your overall financial health. Credit building programs designed to teach Canadians how to build or rebuild their credit and increase their credit score are also a good resource.
This year’s Credit Education Week is focused on the theme of “guilty pleasures,” which includes helping Canadians understand how they can make responsible financial decisions and successfully reach their financial goals. Visit www.cewc.ca to learn more.
About the Guilty Pleasures Study
Survey responses were collected from 1,510 randomly selected Canadian adults aged 18+ who were Angus Reid Forum panelists from August 17th to August 21st, 2017. The margin of error (which measures sampling variability) is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. All results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
About Capital One Canada
With offices in Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo and Montreal, Capital One Canada has been offering Canadian consumers a range of competitive Mastercard credit cards since 1996. We challenge ourselves to see the world through the eyes of our customers, so we can deliver the market-leading credit products and exceptional service they’re looking for. Capital One Canada is a division of Capital One Bank, a subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation of McLean, Virginia (NYSE: COF). Visit www.capitalone.ca to learn more.
About Credit Canada
Credit Canada is a not-for-profit and charitable organization that provides free and confidential credit counselling, personal debt consolidation and resolutions, as well as preventative counselling, educational seminars, and tips and tools in the areas of budgeting, money management, and financial goal-setting. Credit Canada is Canada’s longest-standing not-for-profit credit counselling agency, helping Canadians manage their debt since 1966. Please visit www.creditcanada.com for more information.
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