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Nearly a Third of Canadians Plan to Cut Spending in 2024 Over Cost of Living Concerns - BMO Survey
  • 42 per cent plan on changing their financial New Year's resolutions due to cost of living concerns. 
  • Majority of Canadians do not currently have a financial plan (69 per cent) and/or a household budget for the year (60 per cent).

TORONTO, Dec. 11, 2023 /CNW/ - A special report from the BMO Real Financial Progress Index reveals nearly a third (30 per cent) of Canadians plan to cut back on spending for 2024 amid growing concerns about the cost of living and economic uncertainty.

Given concerns about the rising cost of living, 42 per cent of Canadians plan on changing their financial New Year's resolutions, including creating financial goals and/or a budget for 2024 (17 per cent). As many as 44 per cent of Canadians do not make financial New Year's resolutions.

The special report explores how concerns about spending and economic conditions have affected Canadians' financial anxieties and approaches to financial planning ahead of the new year:

  • The Background on Holiday Bills:
    • Over half (58 per cent) plan on using credit cards to pay for their holiday gifts. 
    • On average, Canadians believe it will take three months to pay back their holiday bills and 24 per cent are not confident they will be able to pay off their post-holiday bills on time.
  • Financial Anxiety Analysis: The leading sources of financial anxiety are fear of unknown expenses (82 per cent), concerns about their overall financial situation (81 per cent), family-related expenses (65 per cent) and keeping up with monthly bills (61 per cent).
  • Framing Financial Goals: The majority (68 per cent) of Canadians have set financial goals for themselves, including retirement planning (59 per cent), saving for a vacation (46 per cent), paying down debt (39 per cent) and saving for a large purchase such as a car, large appliance, etc. (36 per cent).
  • Planning Prognosis: While most Canadians have financial goals, the majority do not have a financial plan (69 per cent) and/or a household budget for the year (60 per cent).

"While many Canadians are looking forward to celebrating with family and loved ones, it is important not to get financially carried away during the holidays," Gayle Ramsay, Head, Everyday Banking, Segment & Customer Growth, BMO. "As many look forward to a fresh start in the new year, we want to empower Canadians to make real financial progress by encouraging them to get a head start on defining their financial goals, take advantage of online banking tools to conveniently set and monitor budgets, and work with a financial advisor to help build a plan and establish good financial habits."

Plans to establish good financial habits in 2024 come as Canadians reevaluate their holiday spending amid concerns about the high cost of living and the economy. According to BMO Economics, Canadian real consumer spending was little changed in the spring and summer of 2023, and will likely remain flat this winter, as households deal with rising debt payments and ongoing anxiety about the economic outlook. However, relief may be on the way, with markets now pricing in interest rate reductions from the Bank of Canada before the summer of 2024. Also helping is that inflation is moderating while wage growth remains strong.

Tips for Keeping Your Financial New Year's Resolutions

The survey also reveals nearly a third (30 per cent) of Canadians do not believe they are on track to meet their financials goals. While many Canadians believe a financial advisor either from their bank (58 per cent) or investment firm (48 per cent) are important in helping them reach their financial goals, only 40 per cent work with a financial advisor.

Customers can build financial literacy, monitor financial plans and reach financial goals through BMO's innovative digital tools and resources:

  • BMO SmartProgress: This tool helps customers learn more about important personal finance topics and build financial literacy anywhere and at any time. It is a free, online financial education platform featuring customized, interactive content, including videos and tools, on complex financial planning topics including budgeting and credit management, homeownership and investing.
  • BMO CreditView: Customers can quickly and easily check their credit scores and access new tools and advice to manage their credit profile online and on mobile.
  • BMO InsightsCustomers get help saving more, monitoring spending and account values, and spotting unusual activity with 25 BMO Insights that provide customers free, quick, and personalized views of their daily spending to help them make informed decisions. Popular online insights include:
    • CashTrack: Using artificial intelligence, these insights monitor customers' cash flows and let them know if they will run out of money in the next seven days.
    • Spend Categorization: These insights notify customers when there has been a significant increase in a specific spending category or if a free trial has expired.
  • BMO Savings Amplifier Account: To help make saving easy and automatic, BMO's new Savings Amplifier Account offers no monthly fees, a competitive interest rate, and unlimited no-fee transfers to other BMO accounts. In addition, its digital Savings Goals feature enables customers to set, track, and manage their financial goals.

To learn more about how BMO helps customers make financial progress, visit

About the BMO Real Financial Progress Index

Launched in February 2021, the BMO Real Financial Progress Index is an indicator of how consumers feel about their personal finances and whether they are making financial progress. The Index aims to spark dialogue that will help consumers reach their financial goals and to humanize a topic that causes anxiety for many – money.

The research detailed in this document was conducted by Ipsos in Canada from September 11 to October 9, 2023. A sample of n=2,502 adults ages 18+ in Canada were collected. Quotas and weighting were used to ensure the sample's composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. This survey has a credibility interval of +/- 2.4 per cent 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all Canadian adults 18+ been surveyed.

About BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group is the eighth largest bank in North America by assets, with total assets of $1.3 trillion as of October 31, 2023. Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a diverse team of highly engaged employees providing a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management, global markets and investment banking products and services to 13 million customers across Canada, the United States, and in select markets globally. Driven by a single purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, BMO is committed to driving positive change in the world, and making progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future, and inclusive society.

SOURCE BMO Financial Group

For further information: Media Contact: Anke Suwanda, Toronto,, (416) 867-3996