The Learning Centre:
Are you spending on budget? Check out our budget breakdown.
As of 2018, Canadian households owe more than $2.1 trillion according to Statistics Canada.
The breakdown of that debt is as follows:
- $1.52 trillion = residential mortgage debt
- $603 billion = consumer credit debt
With the introduction of a new mortgage “stress test” at the beginning of 2018 and interest rates steadily climbing, now more than ever Canadians need to be paying closer attention to their budgets.
Regardless of where you are on the pay grid or how much pension income you’re bringing in, here is a budget guideline as to how you should allocate your gross income in the following areas:
HOUSING = 35%
Whether you’re paying rent or have a mortgage, ideally you should be spending no more than 35% of your total income on housing.
That 35% includes the following:
- Mortgage/rent payment
- Property taxes, condo/strata fees (if applicable)
If you happen to be over that number by 5%, there is no need to stress. However, if your housing costs are 45% or more of your earnings, you run the risk of stretching your budget dangerously thin in other areas, which could lead to increased usage of credit cards and loans as a way to fill the gap in your finances. This is where you’ll want to be extra cautious if you’re looking to apply for a mortgage for the first time.
For every $450 of monthly consumer debt obligations under your belt (e.g. car loans, credit card payments, etc.), financial institutions will reduce the amount of mortgage you can qualify for by $100,000. So you’ll want to do your best to keep your debt under control to maximize your mortgage borrowing power.
While the mortgage “stress test” has reduced the qualifying mortgage amount of most Canadians looking to finance their mortgages through the big banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers (which are regulated provincially and not subject to the latest federal mortgage rules) are qualifying borrowers for higher amounts. Keep that in mind when you’re shopping around for a mortgage. It could mean the difference between getting approved for the house at the top of your list or having to settle for your second choice.
Did you know? As a mortgage broker, Educators Financial Group has access to multiple lenders which means not only landing you a competitive rate, but also a mortgage that meets your specific needs. Learn more about our mortgage options.
REGULAR HOUSEHOLD EXPENSES = 5%
This includes but is not limited to:
- Utilities (e.g. water, gas, heat, electricity, etc.)
FOOD = 15%
Next to shelter, it’s one of life’s necessities and how much of your budget goes towards food will naturally depend on whether you’re “eating for one” or have a houseful of mouths to feed. So use your discretion in order to budget accordingly.
TRANSPORTATION = 15%
You’ve got places to go—and as an education member, the summer months mean having even more time to travel to all of them. Just make sure you’re not spending beyond your means to get there.
The 15% transportation slice of your budget pie should encompass all of the following:
- Car payments/rental
- Transit fares/passes
DEBT PAYMENTS = 10%
If you have debt, your goal should be to pay it off as soon as possible. This will naturally depend on how much income you’re bringing in and all of the other financial obligations you have on your plate. If you’re looking to pay debt down faster, consider cutting from other areas you can live without (at least for the time being) in order to increase this portion of your budget.
PERSONAL = 10%
From the “must-haves” to the “nice-to-haves,” this is the portion of your budget set aside for spending money just for you (because it’s nice to know not all of your income is going towards paying bills).
The personal part of your budget allowance would cover such things as:
- Entertainment (e.g. going to the movies, dancing, gaming, etc.)
- Shopping for clothes
- Eating out
SAVINGS = 10%
While you’ve got retirement savings in the bag (thanks to having a pension plan in place), you should get into the habit of allocating a portion of your income towards saving for all of your other goals in life.
This part of your budget is to save for anything and everything, such as:
- A down payment on your first home
- Taking advantage of deferred salary leave (“X over Y”)
- Funding your child’s post-secondary education
- Building up an emergency fund
- Creating an account specifically for March Break and summer vacations
Did you know? According to an online study by the Canadian research firm Pollara, Canadians are willing to go into debt for vacations—with 64% of Canadians planning to use their credit cards to pay for their trips away.
Keep in mind that the percentages above are meant purely as a guideline for keeping your budget on track.
As long as the numbers add up to 100%, how you slice up your own budget pie is ultimately up to you.
You can also use our handy dandy budget calculator, right here.
Are you budgeting for a specific financial goal? Educators Financial Group can help with that.
From pay grids to pension plans, serving education members since 1975 has given us a unique understanding of your finances. That means whether you’re working or retired, we can provide you with the right strategy to make your money work harder so you can achieve your financial goals, faster.
Have one of our financial specialists contact you about making your future goals happen.
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The information provided is general in nature and is provided with the understanding that it may not be relied upon as, nor considered to be, the rendering of tax, legal, accounting or professional advice. Please ensure to consult your accountant and/or legal advisor for specific advice related to your circumstances. Educators Financial Group will not be held responsible or liable for any losses, costs, damages or expenses incurred by reason of reliance as a result of the aforementioned information. The information presented was obtained from sources that are believed to be reliable. However, Educators Financial Group cannot guarantee their completeness or accuracy.