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Summer Sizzle: Canadian Families Spend Average of $2,735 Per Month on Social Outings, Entertaining, Groceries and Gas

- Spending on basket of four typical monthly expenses more than doubles during the summer months

- Half of Canadian families say they spend the most money during summer

- BMO CashBack World Elite MasterCard credit card offers 1.75 per cent cash back on all everyday purchases

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 23, 2015) - Canadian families' spending on a combination of social outings, entertaining, groceries and gas more than doubles (111 per cent) during the summer months compared to non-summer months, according the BMO 2015 Summer Spending Survey.

The survey, conducted by Pollara, revealed that these typical monthly expenses cost Canadian families an average total of $2,735 during a summer month, compared to $1,296 per month during the rest of the year. Additionally:

  • Spending on social outings and entertaining nearly triples (194 per cent)
  • Families spend 75 per cent more on groceries
  • Spending on gas more than doubles (109 per cent more)

Average Summer Monthly Spend vs. Average Monthly Spend

Spending Category Summer Months
June - September
Non-Summer Months
October - May
Social Outings and Entertaining $904 $307
Groceries $1,210 $693
Gas $621 $296

For summer-focused expenses such as vacations, seasonal activities, home and garden improvements, kid's camps and big purchases, Canadian families plan to spend an average of $4,348 throughout the course of the summer.

The poll was released on the heels of the latest Statistics Canada Consumer Price Index, which showed Canadian consumer prices rose 0.2 per cent in June. The increase was led by a 6 per cent surge in gas prices, which are on pace to climb another 1.7 per cent in July. Furthermore, BMO Economics indicated that the renewed slump in the loonie suggests that imported goods prices are going to continue climbing in the next few months.

"Summer is one of the most expensive periods for Canadian families, making it especially important to build a separate budget for the summer months," said Nick Mastromarco, Managing Director, North American Retail Payments, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Canadian families should not assume that monthly expenses such as groceries and gas remain constant year round. Doing so may lead to surprises when balancing the books each month during the summer."

The survey also revealed that external pressures and the desire to have fun lead to the increased spending during the summer months:

  • 45 per cent of families say they want their kids to have the best summer possible
  • 44 per cent want to enjoy every minute of summer
  • Over one third (36 per cent) have not set a summer budget

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.

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 everyday spending 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 paying interest.
  • 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 BMO 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