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Is Your Paycheque Enough?

When payday comes around, some workers are excitedly thinking about how they’ll spend that paycheque – and what they’ll splurge on this month. Yet many others already know how it will be spent – going straight to pay their bills and meet their other financial obligations.

According to a new study from, 31 per cent of Canadian workers say they always or usually live paycheque to paycheque to make ends meet. An additional 35 per cent find themselves sometimes living paycheque to paycheque, while just 17 per cent are lucky enough to never be in this situation. When it comes to gender, women (36 per cent) are more likely than men (25 per cent) to report living paycheque to paycheque.

Sacrificing to save

When faced with having to find ways to make ends meet, some workers have cut back on nonessential activities and entertainment, while others have discovered creative ways to save. Then there are those who have taken more drastic measures (ahem, moving back in with the parents). When asked what actions they’ve taken to meet their financial obligations, workers gave the following responses:

  • Stopped eating out: 45 percent
  • Cut back on leisure activities: 44 per cent
  • Used coupons/shopped at discount stores: 41 per cent
  • Drove less to save on gas: 24 per cent
  • Cancelled paid for TV package and other subscriptions: 21 per cent
  • Took on a second job: 20 per cent
  • Used public transportation: 18 per cent
  • Found a roommate/rented out a room: 9 per cent
  • Moved back home with my parents: 9 percent

Refusing to relinquish

Even when money is tight, it’s not always easy to give up activities or belongings. Some things are so ingrained in workers’ lifestyles that they’d rather find other ways to cut corners than part with these expenses.

The hardest to say goodbye to? Internet connection, with 56 per cent of workers refusing to give this up. Smartphone or other mobile device (38 per cent), driving (36 percent), traveling (17 per cent) and paid for TV packages (12 per cent) round out the top five expenses workers aren’t willing to relinquish.

Taking financial responsibility

Despite living paycheque to paycheque, workers are still doing what they can to take care of their fiscal health. Nearly 2 in 5 workers set aside more than $250 a month for savings, and 10 per cent save more than $1,000 per month.

Also, Canadian workers do believe things are looking up after the recent economic downturn. Sixty-nine per cent feel they are more financially responsible since the recession.

Opportunity for employers

While financial concerns may directly affect the employee, these issues can also impact employee performance and ultimately the employer’s bottom line. “Though the majority of workers feel more fiscally responsible since the recession, many are still struggling to make ends meet. If workers are worried about their finances, it can lead to increased stress and anxiety,” says Ryan Lazar, managing director of CareerBuilder Canada.

Since these financial worries can have an impact on morale and productivity, Lazar suggests employers step in by offering financial planning resources – such as complimentary webinars, classes or coaching sessions – to help employees ease their financial burdens.


Debra Auerbach researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for CareerBuilder.

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