Those with a penchant for nicknaming decades may be hard-pressed to beat the moniker 'turbulent teens' for the coming 10 years.


Unlike the 'naughty naughties' that began in 2001 and were marked by consumption, the teen years of the 21st century will likely be defined by a new type of consumer who is intent on shaking things up by being more cautious. A recent report from American Express Canada reveals that Canadians are moving away from impulsive spending to a more prudent financial mindset in which value for money and quality take precedence over the cachet of brand names. In the survey, 36 per cent of Canadians said they buy from local brands or vendors because they want to play a greater role in their communities.

“Canadians are increasingly looking for meaning in their purchases, so when they buy products they are asking questions about whether the product is ethically made or environmentally friendly,” said retail consultant Anthony Stokan, partner at Anthony Russell and Associates in Toronto. “People are looking for a closer relationship with what they buy by choosing local products and retailers.”

Top trends in consumer spending show that Canadians seek to empower themselves by becoming better informed consumers. Some tips for bringing a new approach to your spending, include:

Love thy neighbour
Shopping locally isn't only good for local businesses, it helps you develop a relationship with the store. This could lead to loyalty discounts, as well as more insight into the cost of items you buy each week.

True value
Consider both value and values when you shop. Nothing beats buying a quality product at a great price, except when the purchase also makes you feel like you're living according to your beliefs in everything you do, right down to the products you choose to buy and how you buy them.

Dare to compare
The proliferation of smartphones means many consumers have the power to comparison shop right inside the store. Harness the power of the web to bargain with retailers.

Customer service 2.0
Make sure you're getting the most from your financial services companies. Many credit cards present an opportunity to earn more on everyday purchases through reward programs. Take advantage of email alerts that notify you when bills come due to avoid interest charges and look for customer service to regularly help you assess whether your preferred forms of payment are working for you.

Quality street
The rewards of cheap and cheerful can be short-lived. By assessing quality before making major purchases, you will avoid having to do a 're-buy' in subsequent months or years.