It’s looking like it’s going to be a frugal year for Canadians.
Saving more money was the most popular financial resolution (55 per cent) among Canadians for the new year, followed by paying off debt (42 per cent) and sticking to a budget (34 per cent), according to a new report by Finder, a personal finance comparison site.
Many Canadians (27 per cent) will be paying off their holiday purchases well into 2023, with 13 per cent choosing to carry a balance on their credit card and six per cent opting to skip or delay paying bills, Finder’s holiday spending report found in December.
“Many Canadians take stock at the start of a new year, and after hefty price increases and so much economic uncertainty, it’s not surprising that a large portion of holiday spenders are carrying debt into 2023,” Romana King, senior finance editor at Finder, said in a press release.
Nearly half (43 per cent) of Canadians already changed their financial resolutions before the start of the year because of inflation, the Bank of Montreal’s Real Financial Progress Index found last month.
But they seem to be determined to stick to their resolutions, with 64 per cent either somewhat (39 per cent) or very (25 per cent) optimistic about achieving their financial goals in 2023.
“There are lots of reasons why resolutions get derailed, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make them,” King said. “It’s the process of setting an intention that matters, not the outcome of the goal. To make a resolution, you need to reflect, take stock, evaluate goals, assign responsibility and find inspiration — all of which are critical to developing a plan and adopting new habits.”
The study showed that debt has also made Canadians reluctant to make a big purchase (13 per cent) or increase their charitable contributions (six per cent).
Most Canadians plan to save money by cutting down on discretionary expenses such as takeout food (51 per cent), restaurant dining (43 per cent) and alcohol and tobacco purchases (29 per cent).
Finder’s tips for saving more money include waiting 24 hours before purchasing an item, cutting down on meat and animal products, borrowing more items and lowering the thermostat while sleeping.
The study also found that the most popular place Canadians are planning to stash those extra savings is in high-interest savings accounts (37 per cent), followed by tax-free savings accounts (36 per cent) and no- or low-fee savings accounts (27 per cent).
“We all make money mistakes,” King said. “Rather than hide our errors, use this hard-won knowledge to motivate you. Last year was tough, so use this New Year as a fresh start.”
The study interviewed 1,000 Canadians across the country in December.