Save. Spend. Splurge.

What do Canadians buy and spend their money on average? (2011)

StatsCan released some numbers on what Canadians spent in 2011.

Their average Gross Income = $55,151

After taxes of $10,633, they have about $44,518 to spend.

Click to biggify

They also had some notes and details in regards to this spending


  • Homeowners spent $17,123 or $1426.92 per month
  • Renters spent $11,320 or $943.33 a month
  • Spending difference between rural and urban areas is about $5072 a year or $422.66 a month


  • Average spending on gas was about $2606 or $217.16 a month
  • Homeowners spent about $6806 or $567.16 a month more than renters on their cars


  • Senior households spent about 6.8% on healthcare, or 4.2% more than those under the age of 30
  • That works out to about an additional $1869.76 a year or $155.81 a month


  • Cellphone spending increased 5.1% from 2010
  • 79.4% of all homes own at least one cellphone
  • Households like mine, who only have a cellphone and no landline, make up 12.8%
  • Quebec at 70.4%, had the lowest cellphone-ownership rates
  • Alberta at 88.5% had the highest cellphone-ownership rates


The 20% of households with the lowest incomes spent an average of $29,129.

  • 50.5% of that went to food, shelter, clothing and accessories, or $1225.84 a month

The 20% of households with the highest incomes spent an average of $143,519

  • 28.9% of that went to food, shelter, clothing & accessories, or $3456.41 a month
  • Almost the same amount (27.8%) went to taxes, or $3324.86 a month

To pay those taxes, the average household income for the rich would be around $130,000 gross.

The difference in spending between the 20% with the lowest and the 20% with the highest for food, shelter, clothing and accessories is about $2230.57 a month.


If 2011 was a typical year, I spend about $523.53 more per month than an average Canadian.

If we were to look forward towards 2013, my estimated budget as a freelancer (looking at things yearly), is about $30,000 this year.

I’ll be $958 UNDER each month, versus an average Canadian.



  • Miss Amanda

    How do people spend over $200/month on gas????? I think I drive too much, and I spend less than $50/month on gas…. And $280/month on clothes??? That’s what I spend in a year!!

    Although, my income is significantly lower then the average Net Income, so I guess I’m just living within my means a little better?

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      $200 a month on gas is correct if they have 2 cars.. which most dual-income households have.

      I know it takes about $100 to fill up a tank in a truck, and if people drive SUVs or minivans, it might be the same amount.

      I think you are living within your means better 🙂

  • Bridget

    Interesting! My average salary is higher but I put way less towards shelter ($1,200 my god) and car ($850?! WTF?!) and groceries.

    I spend more on internet, cellphone, dining out, and clothing.. as well as savings and retirement contributions.

    With these kinds of numbers no wonder debt is so crippling. $250 left over? The minimum payment on my student loan is half of that — if I still had my original $20K balance the minimum payments would have taken nearly all of that leftover $250! Imagine I had a credit card or something.


    I cannot believe some people spend $3456.41 in one month on food, shelter, clothing and accessories! That’s crazy to me. I mean, what are they spending it on?!

  • cj

    Congrats on the huge turn around. How did you do it?

  • Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle

    I spend less on housing than the average Canadian but I spend more on debt. I also seem to make less than the average gross income. In 2011 I made 47K not 55K.

    I am also saving less than average but that is because I am putting as much on to debt as possible.

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