How Others Spend Their Income

Canadian Guidelines for Budgeting

Many people have questions about how other families spend their income.

How much of my money should be spent on food, clothing, etc.?
Am I spending more than everyone else?

The Credit Counselling Society provides the following Canadian guidelines to give an idea of what percentage of income Canadians should be spending on the main budget categories:

breakdown of budget areas

What’s included:

Housing 35% mortgage payment, rent, taxes, home insurance, hydro
Food 10-20% groceries, personal care items (toilet paper, shampoo, etc.)
Transportation 15-20% bus fare, taxi, gas, car insurance and maintenance, parking
Utilities 5-10% land line, cell phone, internet, TV services
Clothing 3-5% clothing and shoes for all family members
Medical costs 3% over the counter medications, dental, glasses, any paid-for services and health insurance premiums
Debt payments 5-15% loans, credit card, lines of credit
Savings 5-10% emergency funds, retirement, future goals
Personal 5-10% entertainment, beauty, recreation, eating out, alcohol & tobacco, hobbies
Important to note:
These percentages are only guidelines and they will be different based on your family circumstances, your income and where you live in Canada.
As an example, if you live in the northern part of Canada, your food costs will be higher and the other categories will have to be adjusted to make up for this.


For a free, interactive budgeting spreadsheet that will break your budget into these categories, download the Budget Calculator Spreadsheet from

Another excellent free Budget Planner and Expense Tracker is available for download from Credit Canada.

Read these articles next:
Budgeting Basics
Creating a Budget