In Budgeting, Canada, Money

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.


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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  1. 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?

    1. 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 🙂

  2. 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.

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Imagine if you had credit card debt on top of that!

      Then again you might not be saving/spending as much if you had CC debt.


    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?!

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Food, Clothing, Shelter and Accessories? 🙂

      I think people spend very impulsively as I can attest to. It’s hard to spend less money when you don’t consciously force yourself to not do it.

  4. cj

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

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      You know, I wrote this post a long while back. After my little No More China change (read: expenses), I may not be on that $30K mark any more…

  5. 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.

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Imagine that once your debt is gone, that money is FREE to go into you savings!!!


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