Holiday spending: do Canadians spend too much during the holidays?

A recent study by Edward Jones shows that one-third of Canadians overspend on their holiday budget.

Mississauga – December 21, 2016 – The holidays are undoubtedly the busiest time of year for spending at retail outlets. But as Canadians rush to the mall to do their last-minute holiday shopping, are they spending their hard-earned dollars wisely? The answer may depend on each individual's financial situation.

According to a new poll conducted by Edward Jones, nearly seven-in-ten (67 per cent) of Canadians create a budget for holiday expenses. However, one-third (33 per cent) of those who have a budget tend to overspend.

Atlantic Canadians are the most likely to budget before spending (74 per cent), yet are also the most likely to overspend on that budget (33 per cent). While fewer Ontarians (65 per cent) and Western Canadians (64 per cent) tend to budget, those that do are nearly as likely to overspend on it (33 per cent for Ontarians, 30 per cent for Westerners). Quebecers are the best at staying within their budget (76 per cent).

"Having a budget and sticking to it is important to ensure you don't spend more than you can afford," says Patrick French, principal of client financial strategies with Edward Jones. "Carrying debt into the New Year could set you back in achieving your long-term financial goals."

When asked how they pay when they get to the checkout, nearly half (48 per cent) of survey respondents said they save up ahead of the holiday season, while one-third said they purchase everything on credit.

Despite this trend, most Canadians (75 per cent) say they don't regret their spending in the post-holiday season. However, younger Canadians are the most likely to regret their spending in the post-holiday season, with nearly one-third of 18-34 year olds saying they regret how much they spent last year.

"It's a personal judgment call as to how much you want to spend on gifts, but you should consider how much you can afford in the context of your short- and long-term financial goals," says French. "Talking to a financial professional about your overall financial strategy can help you determine the budget that makes the most sense for you."

Data in this news release was gathered via an online survey of a representative sample of 1558 Canadians between December 10 and 17, 2016, using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

About Edward Jones

Edward Jones is a full-service investment dealer with one of the largest branch networks in Canada. It is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund, and a participating organization of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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