Amid economic uncertainty, Canada’s consumers showed restraint during the holiday season.

A new poll from RBC reveals that fewer people overspent and increased their debt burden with an average overspend of $384, 28% lower than a year earlier and the lowest in 8 years.

Young adults (18-34) cut their overspending to an average of $363 and women cut theirs to $379; both were reduced by almost $200 compared to the previous year.

“We're all tempted to toss aside the budget during the holiday season, but what a good news story to see that Canadians showed restraint this year and far fewer are entering 2019 with holiday debt weighing them down," said Vinita Savani, Vice-President, GICs & Savings, RBC. "Canadians are starting 2019 off on the right foot – their next step will be managing their spending throughout the year and seeing if they can build up their savings too."

Saving for a down payment
The poll shows that savings remain challenging for many Canadians – including those struggling with the ever-increasing amount needed for a down payment in many markets.

Asked about saving more this year, 23% responded that they weren't saving regularly now and weren't expecting to be able to save anything 'extra'.

RBC has added NOMI Find & Save to its mobile app. It proactively analyzes spending and saving and finds extra money customers won’t miss and automatically sets it aside in a savings account.

Regional comparisons & national gender findings

 

Overspent?

NAT'L

BC

AB

SK /
MB

ON

QC

AC

M

F

Yes

40%

43%

39%

48%

43%

34%

33%

39%

41%

By how much?

$384

$464

$404

$500

$410

$230

$357

$389

$379

                   

How overspenders
will pay holiday bills?

NAT'L

BC

AB

SK / MB

ON

QC

AC

M

F

Spend less on lunch &
coffee, entertainment

30%

34%

34%

28%

26%

34%

37%

29%

31%

Spend less on day-to-
day living expenses

25%

32%

24%

26%

24%

21%

29%

25%

25%

Carry costs on credit
card; pay off balance
in two months or more

20%

15%

20%

21%

22%

18%

19%

22%

18%

Carry costs on credit
card; pay off balance
immediately

14%

14%

7%

20%

16%

14%

7%

15%

13%

Carry costs on my
line of credit

8%

6%

9%

18%

7%

6%

5%

10%

6%

I've already paid
my holidays bills off

30%

28%

35%

36%

30%

29%

28%

31%

30%

Don't know how I'll pay
holidays bills off yet

8%

9%

3%

6%

9%

6%

12%

7%

8%

Average amount spent
by holiday shoppers
per gift category

 

NAT'L

 

BC

AB

SK /
MB

ON

QC

AC

M

F

Toys

$96

$85

$116

$106

$107

$77

$80

$93

$99

Electronics (e.g.
mobile devices,
computers, gaming
consoles)

$102

$106

$92

$84

$108

$93

$124

$132

$74

Entertainment (e.g.
DVDs, games/video
games, books /
eBooks, iTunes)

$51

$47

$62

$50

$52

$48

$51

$60

$43

Giving experiences to
family, friends

$129

$110

$114

$168

$149

$97

$153

$137

$122

Gift cards

$119

$118

$95

$187

$118

$103

$150

$113

$124

Gifts for pets

$29

$21

$29

$29

$36

$20

$36

$33

$25

Giving to charities on
behalf of yourself or
family, friends

$28

$16

$23

$44

$32

$26

$27

$34

$21

 

Are you looking to invest in property? If you like, we can get one of our mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage. Click here to get help choosing the best mortgage rate


More market watch: