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How Much are You Spending on Christmas this Year?

28 November 2012

The American Thanksgiving bells have chimed, and even here north of the border we’ve had just about all of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday madness that we can stand. But we’ll take just a short rest (maybe some of us will even hold out until the weekend!) before we start splurging on the next holiday just around the corner – Christmas!

So how much are you spending on Christmas this year, and how does your budget compare with that of the rest of the country’s?

A study by TD bank shows that last year, we spent about $1,1397 on the holiday season – that’s $1,1397 each individual, not per household. Of course there are always exceptions such as households with kids that don’t spend nearly that much on presents (yet give us the most valuable homemade bookends and carved-out bowls.) But for each of those exceptions, there are also those that are overspending, splurging on luxury items for each person on their list. Cancelling each other out, it’s a safe bet to say that most of us spend at least a thousand bucks over the Christmas break.

But is that thousand dollar spent all in gifts? Thankfully, no. That number represents the amount we spend on entertaining, traveling, as well as gifts and miscellaneous expenses. But half of that amount is made up of gifts that we purchase for our loved ones.

So is there a difference, province by province, in how much people actually spend?

There is. Atlantic Canada spends the most amount on gifts, while Quebec spends the least, with Ontario following a close second. However, it’s also worth mentioning that Quebec and Ontario are the two poorest provinces in the country. So the fact that they’re not overspending in these provinces over the holidays is probably a good sign of fiscal responsibility.

Unfortunately, that responsibility can’t be said for Canada as a country on a whole. The same TD survey also showed that last year one-third of Canadians purchased gifts that they knew they couldn’t afford. When you consider that these purchases are most likely being put on high-interest credit cards, that adds up to a lot of cash, especially if you only pay the minimum balance.

Want a tip to help with overspending? Aside from just cutting back while you’re actually out scouring the stores, also create a list of all the gifts you need, all the parties you’re going to attend, and any “holiday pop-ins” you think you might receive, or go to this year. When the holiday is over, stash this list with all of your holiday decorations. Next year, you won’t end up buying 20 boxes of chocolate for spontaneous “just in case” gifts, and then never end up using. You’ll know what to expect and, you can even chip away at the list over the entire year next year.

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