More Than a Quarter of Canadians stressed about summer spending: CPA Canada survey

As we head into warmer months and sunnier days, some Canadians are worrying about whether they can afford all the summer-time things they’d like to do. According to a new survey commissioned by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), 31 per cent of Canadians anticipate stress when it comes to expenditures this summer.

While winter is the time of year that Canadians spend the most money, summer is when many Canadians incur vacation, additional childcare and home maintenance spends, among other expenses. This year’s biggest stressors according to CPA Canada’s 2019 Annual Summer Spending Survey? Unexpected (39 per cent) and large (22 per cent) expenditures were top worries, as well as existing debt (21 per cent), and budgeting (19 per cent).

In comparing summer spending from 2019 vs. 2018, many Canadians felt their spending would remain the same in areas such as food (45 per cent), entertainment (57 per cent) and home maintenance (44 per cent). However, 38 per cent expect to spend more for vacations and travel, with the average cost pegged at $3,226 and 12 per cent of Canadians taking vacations plan to spend more than $5,000. For 57 per cent of Canadians, a major cause for concern was an anticipated increase in transportation fuel costs.

Despite some Canadians’ financial misgivings, most plan to travel somewhere during the summer, although 18 per cent are not taking a vacation. International travel to the U.S. (20 per cent) or elsewhere abroad (14 per cent) is on some Canadians’ agenda. However, a good portion will have a “staycation” within their own communities (27 per cent), in their home province/territory (35 per cent) or will visit another jurisdiction in Canada (23 per cent).

When it comes for paying for their holidays, the 59 per cent vacationing plan to dip into general savings and 30 per cent will use savings specifically set aside for holidays. Of those planning to borrow money (16 per cent), most will use a credit card (79 per cent) and/or line of credit (28 per cent).

“While about a third of respondents report no summer spending stress, many feel they will have less money this year than last,” says Doretta Thompson, CPA Canada’s Financial Literacy Leader. “A significant number of Canadians are worried about how they will cover summer expenses. Curbing spending now can help alleviate a lot of stress. Can you find ways to be less stressed about money? Yes, you might feel you need that vacation, but if you are planning to borrow for travel, will a more modest close-to-home trip or even a “staycation” do the trick?  Remember: being debt-free is a great stress reducer. It also allows you to start setting money aside now for unexpected costs, and to start saving for next year’s vacation.”

Beyond self-reflection, Canadians can also reach out to CPA Canada to get impartial, practical advice and resources for mapping out daily expenses, forecasting long-term goals and understanding how to plan so that they feel in control of their finances.

Nielsen conducted the CPA Canada 2019 Summer Spending Survey via an online questionnaire, from April 17 to 26, 2019 with 2,001 randomly selected Canadian adults, aged 18 years and over, who are members of their online panel. A background document on this study can be found online at: cpacanada.ca/summerspending2019.