Household Expenses by Province in Canada: 3 Key Takeaways

household expenses by province

What is the average expenditure per household in Canada? On average in 2019, a Canadian household spent $68,980. This is according to Stats Canada’s survey of household spending. 

This number does not include income tax, pension contributions, or charitable gifts.

Surprisingly, Albertans are the biggest spenders, with over $79,849 per year spent, and Prince Edward Island is the least at $56,662 per year spent. 

Not so surprisingly, British Columbians spend the most on shelter, at $23,874 per year.

What does the Average Household Spend on Food and Groceries in Canada?

Food is a large portion of what Canadians spend on. $10,311 is the average amount spent on food per year by a Canadian household in 2019. This is split up as food purchased in a grocery store at $7,536, and food purchased from restaurants as $2,775

What does the Average Household Spend on Shelter?

No surprise here, shelter is a very big portion of what Canadians spend on each year. $20,200 is the total cost. Split up into $18,371 in principal accommodation, which is things like rented living quarters, owned living quarters, and utilities. $1,829 in other accommodation such as hotels.

What does the Average Household Spend on Transportation?

Transportation is the second largest expense for Canadians, at the average household cost coming in at $12,737. 

Average Household Expenses on Household Operations

Total spend on household operations is $5,448. This includes things like communications (cell phones, internet), and household furnishings and equipment. 

Average Household Expenses on Clothing and Accessories

$3,344 is the total spend on clothing and accessories in Canada. 

Other Household Costs

Other important contributors to expenses in Canada in 2019 are:

  • Health care at $2,780. This includes direct health care costs, and personal care costs. 
  • Recreation at $2,624. This includes things like recreational equipment and related services, home entertainment equipment and services, recreational services, and recreational vehicles. 
  • Education at $1,691 per year.
  • Reading materials at $165 per year
  • Tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis at $1,785 per year
  • Games of chance at $186
  • Miscellaneous expenses at $1,838. 

How to Improve Your Spending Habits in Canada Using This Data

This breakdown of expenses provides some valuable insight on how to improve your spending and saving habits in Canada. 

Focus on the Big Three Expenses

Look at improving on three of the biggest expenses: Food, shelter, and transportation. 

Food

Canadians spend $10,311 per year on  Here are a few ways to save on food costs:

  1. Meal prep – You can prep meals for a few days at a time, to make it super convenient to grab food and go. Not only do you save money, but you will probably eat way healthier also!
  2. Host meals or barbecues at your own place, or at a friend’s places instead of going out to eat. You still get to socialize and save a lot of money also. 
  3. Have fun cooking: Look up new easy recipes, take a cooking class, try cooking with a friend. 
  4. Substitute fun things for restaurants: If you really need to get out of the house and socialize, how about a walk outside, or go to a cafe instead of a restaurant? There are a million other fun things to do than go to overpriced restaurants. 
  5. Look up ways you can save on groceries in Canada.
  6. Find different ways you can save on dining out, whether it’s going less frequently, or choosing better places with deals to go to. 

Shelter / Housing

$20,200 is the average amount spent by Canadians on housing. A few ways to save on shelter and housing:

  1. Live further from the city core: downtown rent is usually a lot more, so try to live outside the core. Be mindful that depending on where you work, this might increase transportation costs.
  2. Look for a new place in the wintertime: Demand is usually lower because people don’t want to move in the winter, so homeowners have more trouble renting out their units.
  3. Negotiate when re-signing a lease: If you’ve been a good tenant, your landlord might not want to lose you. Try to ask for 10% less to start and see if they would consider negotiating down. It doesn’t hurt to try!
  4. Sublet your place: If you’re gone for a while, consider subletting your place so you can save on rent costs. 
  5. Negotiate better mortgage rates: If you’re up for new mortgage rates, look outside of the big banks. Pit multiple mortgage brokers against each other for the best rates, they have access to hundreds of lenders and work on commission so are motivated to get you the best deal. 
  6. Learn to use Airbnb: Whenever you need to leave the city, you could be using your home as an income-generating asset. It’s a must if you live in a high tourist area, you could be missing out on a lot of money!
  7. Buy below your means: Even though you’re approved for a maximum amount for a mortgage, it doesn’t mean you should take that amount. By buying lower than the maximum, you leave yourself some wiggle room to spend on other areas of your life.

Transportation

Canadians spend on average of $12,737 per household on transportation. Here are a few ways to save on that expense:

  1. Take your time to buy a vehicle: Don’t wait for your current vehicle to die before shopping for a new one, so you’re not too desperate.
  2. Negotiate insurance – if you live in a province where you can buy car insurance from a private provider, contact multiple brokers and shop around online for the best rates. There’s a big difference in price for the exact same type of product. 
  3. Buy used, and look for good deals: The first few cars that I bought, I owned them for over a year and sold them for at least the same amount that I purchased it for. If you buy new, you will not get even close to what you paid for, since the first few years of depreciation on your car are the heaviest.
  4. Avoid buying premium fuel cars: Have you seen gas prices lately? Premium fuel is super expensive now!
  5. Aim for a three to five year-old used vehicle: The average new car loses between 20-25% of its value in the first year alone. By buying a car that’s a few years old, you can still not worry much about maintenance and have a relatively new car. 

Conclusion

Looking at the expenses data can tell us a lot about spending habits as Canadians. By figuring out what Canadians spend the most money on every year or month, you can use it to cut down on what you’re spending also.

Household Expenses by Province
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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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