Canadians don't track discretionary spending
Candice Malcolm, spokeswoman for the non-profit advocacy group, says Ontario's debt has doubled under 10 years of Liberal rule to $272.8 billion, which cost nearly $11 billion this year just to pay the interest.
Published Friday, February 1, 2013 11:02AM CST
Going out for lunch instead of bringing one, a new video game every month, or an impromptu family dinner out – discretionary spending adds up. According to a new poll commissioned by Edward Jones, Canadians aren’t keeping track of their non-fixed finances.
Most people are good at tracking their fixed payments such as mortgages and car payments, but when it comes to the little things in day to day life, people let those dollars slide in their tracking.
“People spend $50 here, $2 there. It’s never added up so it seems insignificant,” said Colleen Schneider, a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Saskatoon.
It’s when those small purchases become a habit that people can wind up blowing their budgets. A $5 café late a day may not seem like much, but if it’s a habit five days a week, every week of the year, that’s $1,300.
Clearly, the small things add up. According to Statistics Canada, Canadian household debt-to-income reached a new high in the third quarter of 2012. For every $100 Canadians earned in after-tax income, they owed $164.60.
According to Schneider, not tracking all of your spending can lead to trouble in the long-term. “I always say short-term pain for long-term gain. If all you’re doing is focusing on your needs for today and not tomorrow, sometimes retirement can have a different outcome or outlook,” she said.
There are several tools available to help people track where there money goes, including Edward Jones mobile retirement calculator. Schneider said the tool is about awareness, and helping people see retirement as an achievable goal.