Canadians feel the pinch but pull no punches when it comes to staying connected

    New survey finds rising cost of living has changed Canadians' driving
    habits, but we won't give up our technology

    TORONTO, Sept. 15 /CNW/ - For roughly a third of Canadians, the recent
rise in the cost of living has had a "major impact on (their) finances" but
there are just some things Canadians aren't willing to give up, according to a
new survey commissioned by ING DIRECT. Technology sweeps the top three
positions in a list of daily life comforts Canadians refuse to give up no
matter the cost, with Internet ranking first at 37 per cent, followed by cable
at 30 per cent and cell phone at 21 per cent. The results come as ING DIRECT
launches National Save Your Money Day this week on September 18th, the
company's second annual initiative to inspire Canadians to save their money.
    The survey reveals that Canadians are still a practical bunch. Besides
mortgage and rent, groceries (40 per cent), paying down debt (18 per cent) and
fuelling our cars (17 per cent) top our monthly expenditures from coast to
coast. To save money each month, Canadians are most willing to sacrifice
buying magazines, music, DVDs and videogames (42 per cent) and going to the
movies (39 per cent). Treats such as dining out, buying lunch during the work
week and buying a morning coffee or tea are also each likely candidates on the
chopping block of around one-third of Canadians. Quebeckers appear to favour a
preference for enjoying life to saving money as they are generally less
willing than other Canadians to sacrifice entertainment and dining out, buying
lunch, coffee or tea.
    "These survey results demonstrate that even in leaner economic times,
Canadians are taking a balanced approach to spending and saving their money,"
said Peter Aceto, President and CEO, ING DIRECT. "ING DIRECT's National Save
Your Money Day is meant to show Canadians that making small changes in their
daily spending habits can add up to big savings, without necessarily having a
big impact on their ability to enjoy life."
    One change Canadians are making in their daily routines is the amount of
driving they do. More than a third (37 per cent) of Canadians say they drive
less now than they did a couple of months ago due to gas price increases. This
is more widely observed in Atlantic Canada where one-in-two reports driving
less now. This stands out most when compared to Quebec and Ontario where this
shift has been made by around one-in-three. Further, roughly four-in-ten
Canadians aged 45-plus are more inclined to this shift than those between
35-44 years (29 per cent). It's younger Canadians (28 per cent) who are most
likely to use alternate modes of transportation than their older counterparts
(2-13 per cent). Additionally, non-urban Canadians (45 per cent vs. 32 per
cent urban) are driving less now than they did a couple of months ago.
Interestingly, the survey found that a third of Canadians feel gas priced
between $0.70 and $0.80 is most fair.
    To help Canadians keep a little more change in their pockets, ING DIRECT
is fanning out street teams in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and
Ottawa on Thursday September 18th to perform random acts of savings for
Canadians. The teams will save Canadians' money on a gas fill-up, give away
transit tokens, coffee coupons, afternoon snacks, and back by popular demand,
ABM fee refunds.
    For the 29 per cent of Canadians who either use their bank's ABM "only
when it is convenient" or use any bank ABM machines "regardless of whether it
is (their) bank's or not," this National Save Your Money Day perk offers
insight into the substantial savings that could be reaped if Canadians either
banked with a savings-oriented institution such as ING DIRECT or were more
diligent about using their bank's ABM to avoid service fees. Young Canadians
(18-34) are most likely to incur these service charges as they represented the
greatest share of those expressing these attitudes towards ABM usage.
    "From being more conscious of ABM service fees to packing a lunch or
snack more frequently, National Save Your Money Day shows Canadians how easy
it is to pick up a new savings habit," continued Aceto. "We encourage
Canadians to consider taking the money ING DIRECT saved them today and
depositing it into a high interest savings account, such as ING DIRECT's no
fee, no minimum Investment Savings Account."
    The survey was conducted by Harris/Decima. Data were collected from
August 21 to 27, 2008 among 1,007 randomly selected Canadian adults (age 18+).
Results are considered accurate to within +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times
out of 20.

    About ING DIRECT

    ING DIRECT is Canada's largest direct bank with over 1.6 million Clients
and more than $24 billion in total assets. ING DIRECT is giving the power of
saving to all Canadians by offering high-value, simple products such as high
interest savings accounts with no fees or service charges and low rates on
mortgages. ING DIRECT has been operating in Canada since 1997, and since that
time Clients have earned more than $3 billion in interest. Clients can bank
with ING DIRECT 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at or by
calling 1-800 ING DIRECT.

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview: Lisa Naccarato, ING
DIRECT, (416) 758-5072,; Colleen Uncao, MAVERICK
Public Relations, (416) 640-5525 ext. 248,

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