It’s a time for Christmas cheer, but many Edmontonians are feeling fear as inflation hits holiday shoppers.
Sheri Theil is a credit counselor with Money Mentors in Edmonton. She said her clients have expressed more stress this year — everyone from seniors on fixed incomes to people who have a good steady income.
“Everybody has been affected by inflation, and my clients are reporting significant changes to holiday spending,” Theil said.
“With inflation, many people are spending more on their basic needs, their housing, their utilities and their food. Debt has increased since the pandemic, so that financing is contributing to everything… So there is really a cluster going on right now.”
For the holidays, Theil said people are changing the way the usually spend.
“People need to critically evaluate how much money they have to spend without using credit, and then they have to be able to stick to it.”
Money Mentors has 12 tips for Christmas savings, including setting a spending limit and sticking to it, doing Secret Santa instead of giving gifts to everyone, getting crafty or shopping second hand.
“I think we are seeing a focus on friends, family and fellowship this year, instead of consumerism.
“We need to be able to do that without guilt or shame because everybody has been affected,” Theil said.
The City of Edmonton’s Reuse Centre takes in donations, and people can take the items away for free.
Kristin Arnot said there’s been a 25 per cent increase in the amount of people wanting to collect items, and over the holidays it seems to have increased even more.
“We have a lot of items that can be used for practical purposes and then we have a lot of items that can be used for something else. We are hearing from customers (that) they are creating things to give as gifts this holiday season, just because of the expense of new products.”
Arnot said the influx means the centre is in need of more donations and shelves are a little bare.
To help give people more economical ideas, the Reuse centre is hosting DIY Thursdays and will have a Wasteless Holiday Market the second weekend in December.
With Christmas around the corner, the goal now is to stay out of debt to start the New Year.
Theil said that will be a good start and she suggests taking it even further and start a savings plan in January to be ready for the next holiday season.