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BMO Summer Spending Survey: Canadians Plan to Spend an Average of $5,605, with Vacations and Socializing Topping the List

- Canadians expect to spend an average of $2,038 on weekend trips and longer vacations

- Canadians just want to have fun: Socializing accounts for 39 per cent of summer expenses

- Nearly half say they have often lived beyond their means in the summer time

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 18, 2015) - Driven by vacations, social outings and entertaining at home, Canadians plan to spend an average of $5,605 during the summer - making it the most expensive season for 45 per cent of Canadians, according to the BMO 2015 Summer Spending Survey released today.

The poll, conducted by Pollara, revealed:

  • Canadians expect to spend over $2,000 on longer vacations and weekend trips this summer
  • Summer socializing accounts for 39 per cent of Canadians' summer expenses; they plan to spend $1,160 on social outings and $1,006 on entertaining at home
  • Albertans are expected to spend the most this summer at $6,298

"The longer days of summer bring added opportunities for enjoyable activities, socializing and vacations, and Canadians want to make the most of every minute," said Nick Mastromarco, Managing Director, North American Retail Payments, BMO Bank of Montreal. "With multiple spending priorities packed into one season, it is important to build a budget that incorporates all of one's summer plans without losing sight of everyday expenses."

Top Summer Spending Categories
Longer vacations & weekend trips $2,038
Social outings $1,160
Entertaining friends and family at home $1,006
Summer activities/entertainment $522
Home & Garden Improvements $322
Seasonal consumer goods $227
Big purchases $212

The survey also revealed the driving influences for increased spending:

  • Over one third (38 per cent) say they take a mental vacation from worrying about money during the summer
  • 42 per cent have not set a specific budget for summertime expenses
  • Half (49 per cent) say that regardless of the cost, at the end of the summer they want to know they had fun; 43 per cent want to make the most out of summer

"Summer can lead to the temptation to 'play now, budget later' - causing unpleasant surprises come the fall. Even if having fun is the number one summer priority, budgeting can make a huge difference in preventing overspending," said Mr. Mastromarco.

Credit Cards are the most popular payment method for the majority of summer expenses, particularly for out of town vacations (61 per cent), social activities (49 per cent), home and garden projects (43 per cent), and entertaining (40 per cent). Only 27 per cent of Canadians do not depend on credit cards for any of their summer spending.

Mr. Mastromarco added that when used responsibly, leveraging a credit card with a cash back rewards program is a great way to earn money back on purchases you plan to make anyway. The new BMO CashBack World Elite MasterCard credit card offers a 1.75 per cent base earn rate, meaning customers earn $1.75 for every $100 spent - the highest single base earn rate in market with no caps, tiers or restrictions. With one high earning rate, customers can easily keep track of their cash back earnings in all everyday spending categories, including retail, travel, grocery and gas.

Summer spending by region:

Average Spend by Province
$4,976 $5,797 $5,245 $5,439 $6,298 $6,150

BMO offers the following tips to help Canadians make the most of their earning potential while they maximize their savings and fun this summer:

  • Capitalize on discounts and coupons: Many amusement parks, movie theatres and museums offer discounted prices on certain days of the week or during off-peak hours. Look for promotional coupons to popular attractions and check for group discounts when going with the whole family.
  • Build a budget to prevent overspending: Creating a specific budget for the summer season that incorporates both every day and summer-fun expenses helps provide a clear picture of the months ahead.
  • Maximize earning potential by paying for purchases using your rewards credit card: Pay for your budgeted purchases using your rewards credit card to unlock its earning potential; but remember to pay your balance in full each month to ensure you are not overspending.
  • Conduct regular checkups on your spending: Take the time to track your spending against your set budget, and make adjustments where necessary. The BMO Banking & InvestorLine App for iPad provides customers with the ability to create budgets, set savings goals, track spending and analyze cash flows and transactions.

Survey results cited in the BMO Summer Spending Report are from interviews with an online sample of 1,502 adult Canadians conducted between June 1st and June 3rd, 2015. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is +/- 2.5 %, 19 times out of 20. Data has been weighted using the most recent Census figures to be representative of all adult Canadians.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services provider based in North America. With total assets of approximately $633 billion as of April 30, 2015, and more than 47,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

For further information:
Media Contacts:
Kathleen Savage, Toronto
(416) 867-3996

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224

Twitter: @BMOmedia