MONTREAL -- An online poll has found Canadians are planning to save almost $10,000 this year, but 66 per cent say they're tucking the money away for vacations, luxury items and entertainment.
The average Canadian was planning to save $9,859 this year to meet their goals, an increase of about $600 over last year, according to the BMO Household Savings Report released Monday.
Janet Peddigrew, district vice-president with BMO, said although Canadians value their downtime and their vacations, they do need to think about the big picture.
"They're not using a credit card, perhaps, for a vacation," Peddigrew said.
"However, they need to balance their short-term needs with their long-term goals.
That might mean there are certain things that we might not need to have immediately, like the luxury items," she said.
The survey found men saved $11,631 a year and women $8,091, while the amount a person saves depends on income and expenses.
The poll also found the average total savings among Canadians was $122,310 but only 48 per cent of Canadians said they were saving enough due to high expenses, low income and debt repayment.
The second most common goal for saving was for retirement and emergencies, the survey said.
Of those polled, 42 per cent said those were priorities in 2013.
Nearly one-third of those surveyed said they would put aside money for home renovations this year, while one in five would be saving for a new vehicle.
Education savings were the priority for 19 per cent of Canadians polled, followed by 15 per cent who said they would be saving for a new home.
The survey found 63 per cent of Canadians are using a registered retirement savings plan and 57 per cent are using a chequing account to save.
Half of those surveyed use a tax-free savings account, 29 per cent were using a high-interest savings account and another 25 per cent put their savings in guaranteed investment certificates.
Peddigrew said saving just $50 or $100 a month can help start build up savings.
"If you don't do that, the money will just disappear. It's human nature," she said.
The survey also found Albertans were aiming to save $18,035 in 2013 and British Columbians planned to save $11,109 this year.
Quebecers planned to save the least, with an average of $5,477 and those in Atlantic Canada planned to save $6,698.
The online survey was conducted by Pollara between Jan. 10 and Jan. 15 with a sample of 1,000 Canadians.
-- The Canadian Press