Nearly half of Canadians will go into debt to live it up this summer

A new poll from CIBC says nearly half of Canadians will need to dip into their savings or take on debt in the coming months as they look to make the most of the warm summer weather.

Of those surveyed, 40 per cent said summer is the most expensive season, while 36 per cent said they spend the most in winter.

Another 17 per cent singled out spring as the costliest season, while only six per cent said their household spending spikes in autumn.

The poll says the average amount that Canadians plan to spend on summer fun — which includes everything from travel and recreational activities to goods such as sporting equipment and barbecues — is $1,766.

Households in Atlantic Canada say they plan to spend the most on average — $2,694 — while Quebec households were the most frugal, planning to spend an average of only $1,288.

The online survey of 1,503 Canadians was conducted by Angus Reid between June 17 and 18. The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

The poll says nearly half — 45 per cent — of respondents have tried to save for summer festivities but expect they'll have to put extra costs on their credit cards.

Another 29 per cent said they tend to stick to their budgets over the summer, while seven per cent said their budgets go out the window during the warm weather months and 19 per cent said they have no household budget.

Christina Kramer, executive vice-president of retail and business banking at CIBC, says many Canadians tend to underestimate how much they will spend on holidays and other seasonal events.

"Expense creep," which occurs when you spend a little more than planned over a period of time, can leave consumers with massive credit card bills at the end of the summer, says Kramer.

"Having a budget and sticking to it is the best way to enjoy the holidays worry free," Kramer said in a statement.

"Canadians should treat these expenses the same as all others and make them part of your overall annual financial plan."

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