Canada is very different than Portugal in that way. Although Canada seemed to ride out the financial crisis much better than many countries (including the USA) due to strict banking and mortgage laws we still saw issues as no one had any money to buy our goods and services around the world and we had less International investors in real estate so our housing markets saw decreases of 10-20%.
People here are still digging deep holes of debt for themselves as people use credit cards for everything, me included. I happen to pay off my credit card EVERY SINGLE WEEK as only use it for points. We get 4-6 free airline tickets this way so it is worth it to me. I really don't know how people carry credit card balances, mortgage payments and car payments. Unfortunately, that is the way for the majority, not the minority. We have no debt, no house debt, no car debt, no credit card debt. We worked very hard to get there but we are staying there. We have one major bill per month outside of regular monthly expenses and that is child support and as one graduates from highschool and another from college this month we are down to only one kid starting in September. That kid is considering coming to live with us (16 year old with typical "can't stand my Parent" crisis, I think it will pass) so for now we are in a bit of limbo.
I found it very interesting how finances work in other parts of the world. Portugal seems to be a country made of the very rich and everyone else who is eeking out a living as best they can. Canada could learn a thing or two about using cash again as in this digital age, our society no longer uses cash on a regular basis and as a result debt rates have sky-rocketed. Many have forgotten that if you don't have it in your pocket or your bank account, you shouldn't be spending it.