Survey of Household Spending 2021 - Your diary of daily expenses

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PDF Version (PDF, 755.22 KB)

Thank you!

We greatly appreciate your participation.

Collected under the authority of the Statistics Act, Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, Chapter S-19.

Confidential when completed

Tips for completing the diary:

  • Report all expenses for all members of your household
  • Report each expense by proving a receipt or by writing it in the diary.
  • Do not write expenses if receipts are provided.

Providing a receipt?

  • Add the date of purchase to the receipt if it is missing using a black ink pen.
  • Black out personal information found on the receipt.
  • Put the receipt in the pocket.

Transcribing in the diary?

  • Write the date of purchase for each expense using a black ink pen.
  • Record each item purchased separately.
  • Clearly print your entries.

Did not spend today?

  • Write "no spending" along with today's date in the "Expenses-in stores and online" section.

Please insert your receipts in this pocket.

Thank you for completing the first part of the survey. The only thing left to complete is your diary of daily expenses.

Why a diary?

To save time, some expenses were not covered in detail during the survey. Frequent day-to-day expenses are often forgotten or understated when collected, but overall they can represent a good portion of a household's budget. This diary will help you to report all of your household's daily expenses and will also help you track your weekly spending.

Where does all our money go?

When identifying expenses, some easily forgotten items include coffee and meals purchased at work, school or on the go; miscellaneous items purchased at the pharmacy, grocery store and hardware store; and items purchased by other members of the household. Other examples of forgotten expenses include tickets for the theatre, movies and sporting events; pet food; drinks purchased in bars; purchases made in garden centres and sports stores; and on-line purchases.

To ensure nothing is forgotten, think about where you and other members of your household spend money. Do you shop in warehouse-type stores, big-box stores, markets or convenience stores? Does anyone in your household make purchases online? All that counts!

How to complete the diary:

Have a receipt?

This is the easiest way to keep track! Put receipts into the diary's pocket. You will not have to transcribe these expenses in the diary. Fill in the diary on a daily bases to avoid forgetting items.

If you don't have a receipt, transcribe an expense:

  • Write the date (DD/MM) and a description of the expense.
  • Record the cost (CAN$) of each item after deducting coupons, rebates or gift certificates.

Expenses-in stores and online:

  • Use this section to record your purchases in stores and online.
  • Do not include taxes (unless already included in the cost, such as gas).

Expenses-restaurants, cafeterias, bars, coffee shops, etc.:

  • Use this section for expenses in restaurants, fast food restaurants, snack bars, cafeterias, bars, coffee shops, vending machines, caterers, etc.
  • Include all taxes, tips and alcoholic beverages in the total cost column, separating the cost of alcohol in the designated column.

Didn't spend anything today?

Please let us know by writing the date and "No spending" in the "Expenses-in stores and online" section.

How to return the diary:

Please use the return envelope that was included in the survey package to mail the completed diary back to us.

First name:

Diary Start Date

Diary End Date

Expenses-in stores and online

To report more items, go to next page.

Item #
Date (dd/mm)

Description of item

Total cost (Do not include taxes)

For example:

31/12 GAS 42.75
31/12 MILK 5.89
31/12 MOVIE TICKETS 24.00

Expenses-restaurants, cafeterias, bars, coffee shops, etc.

Item #
Date (dd/mm)

Check the restaurant type

Table service
Fast food

Check the meal type

Snack or beverage
Alcoholic beverages only

Alcoholic beverage cost

Provide the estimated cost of alcoholic beverages include in the "Total cost"

Total cost

Include all taxes, tips and alcoholic beverages.

To report more expenses, go to next page.

Comments/additional items or expenses

Examples of easily forgotten seasonal goods


  • Holiday cards and wrapping paper
  • Gifts – please list the gifts instead of simply reporting "gifts"
  • Decorations – real or artificial trees, garlands, wreaths and lights
  • Valentine's Day treats – flowers, chocolate and jewellery
  • Craft fairs – soaps, knitted blankets, paintings and decorations
  • Windshield washer fluid, de-icing salt and shovels
  • Winter sports equipment – hockey sticks, skates, snowshoes, skis and snowboards
  • Electronics – tablets, readers and video games.


  • Chocolates
  • Mother's Day and Father's Day – please list the gifts instead of simply reporting "gifts"
  • Flowers, plants and other gardening related items – trees, shrubs, soil, seeds, sod, fertilizers and weed controls
  • Gardening equipment – shovels, rakes, garden hoses and gardening gloves
  • Income tax software
  • Camping equipment
  • Decorations for the yard.


  • Snacks at ice cream parlours
  • Barbecues and picnic related expenses – charcoal, grilling tools and picnic basket
  • Swimming pool supplies and accessories – chlorine, inflatables and filters
  • Tickets for outdoor events – music and theatre
  • Admission to water parks and amusement parks
  • Fees or tickets for festivals, fairs and concerts.


  • Food from farmers' markets
  • Gardening products – fertilizer, plants and bulbs
  • Halloween and Fall decorations
  • Halloween candy
  • Home-made beer and wine materials
  • Canning materials and supplies
  • Snow tires.

Other examples of easily forgotten items

Other easily forgotten items:

  • Gasoline for automobiles, motorcycles, trucks and recreational vehicles

Expenses purchased without a receipt or electronic receipts, such as:

  • Purchases made at a convenience store – tobacco products, lottery tickets, newspapers, magazines, chewing gum and beer
  • Alcoholic beverages and drinks purchased in bars or clubs
  • Lunches – for children at school and adults at work
  • Beverages – coffee, juice and soft drinks
  • Casinos and slot machines
  • Internet purchases – please list each item purchased separately.

Occasional purchases, such as:

  • Magazines and newspaper subscriptions
  • Small electric food preparation appliances – electric grills, toaster ovens, toasters, coffee makers, kettles, blenders, electric knives, breadmakers and electric barbecues
  • Health care supplies – first aid kits, bandages, thermometers, bathroom scales and elastic hosiery
  • Pet-related goods – food, leashes, litters, collars, aquariums, grooming equipment and doghouses
  • Sport or activity-specific equipment – skates, cleats, dance shoes, fishing rods and hunting supplies
  • Movies, live performing arts, "dinner and a show" packages or season tickets – theatre, concert and sporting events.
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