Holiday Spending to be up again, Is yours?

Every year around this time you hear news stories about holiday spending and how its going to be more than last year. This year is no different; the BMO (Bank of Montreal) survey results were published a few weeks ago and they’re pointing to a pretty significant increase in a lot of areas. Overall the results were interesting and really point to a strengthening economy, if you ask me.

The average person in Canada is expecting to spend about $674 on gifts this year up from $583 which is a lot. I wonder if the new PS4 and XBOX One had anything to do with these numbers? The other question that comes to mind is how much of this will be hitting credit cards instead of being planned for and paid in cash? There have been years where I spent too much on gifts but it was mostly planned and very intentional. The sums that we’re seeing here are pretty high, my guess is that a lot of gifts are increasing in value and there must be more of them.

Personally I try to have some funds set aside for the holidays and try to keep the spending between $350-400 though this year its going to be smaller due to our current cash flow. I always try to plan out the amounts even if the gifts are often purchased just before the actual holidays and most of the purchases will now be on-line so I don’t have to go to the mall and witness this insanity.

But that’s just half the story! Christmas isn’t just about gifts, its about travel and entertaining and a lot of other small things. That same survey says that the average respondent is going to spend a whopping $1,810 on the holidays this year. I know its a time of year where you spend more money, at least for a lot of people, but holy shit that’s a lot of spending. When you look at a number like this its easy to see that this rampant consumerism is frightening. At the same time that we see these types of survey results we also hear that the average household debt is increasing. It seems that people don’t learn their lessons and this is a frightening trend. Crazy idea; trim the Christmas spending and maybe pay down some of that debt?

This year our holidays will be more muted, but even we will spend money. The good news for us is that we won’t be spending nearly as much as the survey results. We’ll come up with a plan for gifts and keep everything as low key as we can (more so than usual).

Are you planning on spending more or less this year? Do you have any tips and tricks to keep the spending under control?

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