According to the Retail Council of Canada, the average person intends to spend $675 during the upcoming holiday season, about the same amount as 2017. It also states that one in three people typically overspend.
Nancy Jackson, a credit counselor in Peterborough, Ont., said it is easy to get carried away this time of year.
“There is always one more thing,” Jackson said. “One more thing to grab for the kids, one more thing to get for the dog, one more thing right up until Christmas Eve.”
One of the biggest expenses according to the council is alcohol, along with food and sweets for holiday entertaining. Jackson said the issue with those kind of expenses is that we often don’t include them in our budget.
“We typically only save receipts for the gifts, in case things have to be returned.” she said. “We often don’t save all of the receipts for the extras. For the turkey, for the extra travel, for the alcohol, for New Years Eve plans, we need to take a closer look at the extras.”
Jackson suggested planning ahead by saving all of your receipts during the holidays, finding the total, and then saving a portion of that number each month leading up to December.
She said if you need to use credit, try to minimize the amount of debt you carry into the new year.
“You have to anticipate what those payments will be and how long they will drag into the new year,” Jackson said.
She said we often don’t realize how much we are spending and that having a plan is important. She said if you are feeling that financial strain get creative with your gifting and remember the true meaning of the holiday.
“We can also think about other ways of gifting,” she said. “Gifting our skills, our talents or our time. When we think of our favourite Christmas activities and memories, most of them don’t have a price tag.”