Canadians surveyed on surviving Seasonal Affective ‘Debt’ Disorder

Credit Canada poll probes how Canadians ‘burn through cash’ or ‘huddle and save’ to get through winter

With the winter months underway and holiday credit card statements set to drop this week, Credit Canada has surveyed Canadians on what makes them sad – or should we say SADD.

Playing on the well-known Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that starts in the fall and continues into the winter months, Credit Canada has added D for debt to factor in how Canadians deal with a deep freeze in both temperature and finances.

The Credit Canada SADD Index, an Angus Reid poll of 1,502 Canadians, probed Canadians on how they intend to save or spend their way through the next three months.

The survey also asked whether Canadians foresee their financial situation improving (29 per cent), worsening (12 per cent) or staying the same between now and spring (59 per cent).

Huddle and save – When asked what they plan to do this winter to save money, here were the responses:

– Stay in until the thaw is the plan for one-in-five Canadians (18 per cent)

– Netflix and chill (39 per cent intend to ‘watch a lot of streaming TV’)

– The convenient environmentalist (42 per cent intend to ‘keep lights and heat low’)

– The ramen noodle chronicles (44 per cent expect to ‘eat more budget-friendly meals’)

– Staycation (37 per cent plan to ‘not spend any money on travel’)

Finally, 13 per cent plan, “no drinking for the months of January or February’ (for economic reasons of course).

Burning through money (metaphorically) to stay warm – when asked “which of the following areas they plan to spend” here were the responses:

– Take comfort in food (39 per cent will ‘go out to restaurants’)

– Shop till you drop (37 per cent will ‘go shopping or online shopping’)

– Delivery meals for my feels (25 per cent will ‘order delivery meals’ such as SkipTheDishes and Uber Eats)

– Vacation as ‘medication’ (23 per cent will ‘take a vacation away from home’)

– Streaming subscription overdose (15 per cent will ‘purchase more streaming services’ such as Netflix, Crave, Amazon Prime, Apple TV Plus etc.)

– Clubbing the blahs away OR dancing the debt away (11 per cent will ‘go out to bars and clubs’)

“Dealing with debt during winter can definitely add to the overwhelming sense of gloom,” said Laurie Campbell, CEO of Credit Canada.

“With many Canadians opening their holiday credit card statements this week, we wanted to highlight fun ways to address both spending and saving that can help people effectively manage their debt during the winter months.”

A tale of two generations

One of the more striking findings was the generational divide between responses from millennials (18-34) versus older adults (55+). For example, in terms of huddling and saving, the younger cohort was twice as likely to eat more budget-friendly meals (58 per cent vs 31 per cent); far more likely to ‘Netflix and chill’ (47 per cent vs 27 per cent); far more likely to stay in until the thaw (21 per cent vs 12 per cent); and considerably more likely to staycation/not spend any money on travel (42 per cent vs 30 per cent).

They were also twice as likely to not drink for the month of January or February (17 per cent vs nine per cent).

However, in terms of burning through cash, the younger cohort was far more likely to take comfort in restaurants (48 per cent vs 32 per cent); twice as likely to go shopping or online shopping (50 per cent vs 26 per cent); six times more likely to order delivery meals (46 per cent vs eight per cent); considerably less likely to go on vacation (17 per cent vs 28 per cent) and twice as likely to engage in streaming subscription overdose (19 per cent vs nine per cent).

Young people, optimism and the seeming paradox

“What’s interesting is that young Canadians aged 18 to 34 is the age group most likely to plan to save money this winter, while at the same time, the most likely to spend money this winter too,” added Campbell.

“Moreover, the young cohort is by far the most likely to feel their financial situation will improve between now and spring 2020.”


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