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Young British Columbians are barely scraping by but still finding ways to have fun and are mastering the art of stretching their dollar: New BCAA survey

October 24, 2023, Burnaby, B.C. - A survey for BCAA GO, BCAA’s new Membership option for those who don’t own a car and want to save on everyday essentials, shows that while rising costs have young British Columbians challenged to make ends meet, they’re still finding ways to have fun by mastering the art of saving a dollar.

In the survey of 18–34-year-olds, conducted for BCAA GO by Angus Reid, 63% name cost of living as their number one concern over other critical issues such as climate change and healthcare. Three out of five (60%) say they are barely scraping by, with 53% saying their job doesn’t provide enough to cover their basic costs. Even more concerning is that they are not optimistic about the future, with 88% of young British Columbians expecting 'the essential costs of living to continue to soar this year.’

Nevertheless, over half (57%) of the millennials and Gen Zs surveyed say they’re committed to life’s adventures despite steep costs. Many are finding ways to have fun by getting creative and savvy, with around 83% agreeing that they must make every penny count and 76% constantly looking for new ways to stretch a buck. Twenty-nine per cent go as far as saying they believe young British Columbians are best at cutting costs, finding deals and thrifting.

Melanie Zikatano, BCAA’s Rewards Program Associate Manager says the survey was conducted to learn more about what young British Columbians need as BCAA designed its new Membership option – BCAA GO – for those who don’t own a car and want to save money on car sharing and everyday essentials.

“As a Gen Z myself, I thrive on getting a deal and consider saving so I can still do the things I love as an important life skill that will serve me well into the future,” says Zikatano. She adds that when asked for creative saving hacks as part of the survey, young British Columbians shared a wide range of ideas with BCAA, including their favourite apps for deals and couponing, budgeting tools, and using rewards points and programs. “Many Gen Z-ers told us they return recyclables, cook from scratch, never pay full price for anything, and some invest in a good coffee maker of their own to replace their daily coffee run.”

Building community is also a big trend for this younger generation. To help make ends meet, they’re borrowing from each other and trading their skills or time to help with tasks that would otherwise cost more. Some are also enjoying simple pleasures in place of going out, such as playing cards and board games with friends.


BCAA GO is designed for those who don’t necessarily own a car, focused instead on taking the edge off rising costs with access to Member savings to make the most of life in BC. Save over $1000 on everyday essentials, Evo Car Share and more for $4 per month.

Survey methodology:
These are the findings of a survey conducted by BCAA from October 10th to October 17th, 2023, among a representative sample of 504 online 18–34-year-old British Columbians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The survey was conducted in English. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/-4.36 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About BCAA
BCAA (British Columbia Automobile Association) is a purpose-driven Member-based organization delivering peace of mind to our Members and customers across B.C. with proven protection and mobility solutions as one of Canada’s Most Trusted brands in association with CAA (Canadian Automobile Association). With more than one million Members, BCAA serves 1 in 3 B.C. households with industry-leading products and has a long history of keeping our roads safe and giving back in ways that improve the lives of British Columbians and communities throughout our province.

For further information or to set up an interview, please contact: 

Stephanie Thatcher
BCAA Communication Specialist
      Keiko Jacobs
BCAA Communication Specialist