Rights & Money

Almost Half of Us Have Less Than $200 at Month’s End

Three in 10 Canadians say they can’t keep up with monthly costs, with many more debt-ridden

Photo: iStock/tommaso79.


After paying the bills and debt obligations such as monthly minimums, 48% of Canadians say they have less than $200 left at the end of each month. Three in 10 say they have nothing left and can’t afford to cover their monthly expenses. These figures were revealed recently by a survey conducted by the accounting firm MNP of 2,000 Canadians.

On average, Canadians end the month with $557 saved from their monthly income, a $142 drop since June, and the lowest amount seen since the firm first started conducting the survey in 2016. The number of Canadians who can’t cover their monthly expenses also jumped from the previous quarter, from 25% to 29%; 41% also said they didn’t have a week’s worth of expenses saved.

“We’re seeing less and less wiggle room in household budgets,” Grant Bazian, the president of MNP LTD, said in a statement. “Many Canadians don’t have enough to cover all their expenses, let alone put anything away for rainy day savings. It’s often unexpected expenses that force people to take on more debt they can’t afford and that begins a cycle of increasing servicing costs, and eventual default.”

The firm also found that many who face difficulty are often actually often high-earners, at times struggling to keep up with the ever-increasing cost of living, or overspending. That’s not surprising given that a recent TD Bank survey of more than 10,000 Canadians that found a weak correlation between having a high income and being “financially healthy.”

The TD Bank study defined financial health by considering how much savings people had, savings set aside for retirement, borrowing habits, and the percentage of income that went to fixed monthly expenses such as mortgage, car, or utilities payments. The survery found that, among Canadians earning more than $150,000 a year, 18% had below-average financial health. Of all the Canadians surveyed, only 27% were considered financially healthy, while 15% fell into the financially vulnerable category.