We all like to compare ourselves with others when it comes to our financial affairs to see how we are doing.

The most recent Statistics Canada compilation of how Canadians spend their money shows an average spending pattern. Figures are from 2013 – so a bit dated considering economics in the past year – but it’s a good guide.

Average Canadian income was $76,550 and average Canadian consumption was $58,592. Here are average amounts in certain categories.

Food $ 7,980 14%
Shelter $16,387 28%
Clothing $ 3,550 6%
Transportation $12,041 21%
Recreation $ 3,922 7%
Health Care $ 2,407 4%
Tobacco & Alcohol $ 1,331 2%
Savings $ 8,764 15%

How does your spending compare?

Budgets are very individual and your spending may not be anywhere near the average noted here.

Related: How to save money on groceries

Grocery purchases, for example, depend on the size of your family and your dietary preferences. A family with four active teenage boys will spend more than one with two toddlers. People who favour gourmet and organic food will have a larger budget than those who buy less expensive store brands and discount produce.

Clothing is another category that can vary widely depending largely on your workplace and preferences. I dislike going to the mall so I avoid shopping whenever possible. Recently, while showing my mom pictures of her great-grandchildren, I was dismayed to see that my wardrobe has hardly changed in the past six, or so, years.

You may want to scrimp on a certain category in order to spend more in another. It’s all about individual choices.

Besides personal preferences, the region you live in makes a difference to how much you spend. Compare these three provinces.

Category Alberta B.C. Ontario
Total Expenditures $71,429 $61,007 $60,718
Food   $9,295 (13%) $8,084 (13%) $7,843 (13%)
Shelter $19,532 (27%) $18,766 (31%) $18,074 (30%)
Clothing $4,610 (7%) $3,451 (6%) $3,680 (6%)
Transportation $15,360 (22%) $11,184 (18%) $12,103 (20%)
Recreation $5,118 (7%) $3,909 (6%) $3,986 (7%)
Savings $9,711 (13%) $11,224 (18%) $9,625 (16%)

Final Thoughts

Your spending habits play a huge role in your overall financial health. It’s important to make sure that your budget is balanced and you are living within your means.

These tables can help you compare your spending with the average Canadian. If you find yourself spending above-average amounts of money in certain areas for no compelling reason, it may be a sign that you need to adjust your spending habits.

Over-spending on regular monthly expenses will have an affect on your ability to save and can result in excess consumer debt.


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