NBers spending more on pets, booze, cigs and health care. And less on charity. Here’s to us.

New Brunswickers are spending a lot more more on pets, booze, cigs, RVs, personal care services, home repairs, garden supplies, trucks, financial services and health insurance.   We are spending a lot less on child care, cars, mortgage payments, education, charitable donations and EI premiums. Oh, and considerably less on clothing and bakery products.

That’s the main long term findings from the new household spending survey out from Statistics Canada.  I looked at all household spending categories in 2019 with at least $500 spent and compared that spending in 2010 – relative to total household spending. 

For example the average household in New Brunswick spent $629 on charitable giving in 2010 and by 2019 that was down to $544 – or a 14% decline in absolute terms.  However, that is not really the right basis of comparison.  What we really want to compare is the share of household income going to charitable giving in 2019 compared to 2010.  In 2010 we spent about 1% of our income on charitable donations – and by 2019 we were down to 0.7% or about a 31% decline relative to our total spending.  

We make that up on booze.  The average household spent $506 on booze in 2010 and by 2019 we spent $835 or a 65% increase in absolute terms.  Again, as a share of total spending the increase was 31%.

Most of this is a reflection of our demographics.  There are 70,000 more of us over the age of 55 and 8,000 less under the age of 20.  It makes sense we are spending more on our pets and less on child care.  The charitable spending thing is worrying but it might be tied to a longer term decline in church attendance/contribution (?). Across Canada there has been a 21% relative decline.

The booze and cigs?  Who knows?  Relative spending on booze across Canada has declined by 4% over the same period.  We are up 31% and the rest down 4%?  Lest you think we are all boozers, we do spend considerably less per household on booze ($835 versus $1,115) but we are catching up. 

We are not smoking more but the cost has risen.  We now spend considerably more on cigarettes than the average Canadian household ($411 versus $318).


This chart should say decreases: