The biggest shopping season of the year has begun and Canadians have admitted they feel pressured to overspend, says via a new survey.

In fact, most (77%) bust their budgets and feel buyer’s remorse once Christmas has passed.

Read: Holiday retail sales expected to grow 3.3%

Still, more than half (68%) already have a budget or say they’re likely to set one up, and you can help them stick to them. This may be easier this year, adds the survey, since many shoppers (64%) admit they want to cut back on or eliminate gift giving altogether.

Read: The ABCs of cash flow management

The main problem is less than half of Canadians (45%) set money aside throughout the year for holiday spending. This is particularly important for households with children, given they’re twice as likely to spend more than households without children (64% versus 38%, respectively).

Holiday spending habits, by province

When comparing provincial trends, the survey found:

  • In Western Canada, B.C. residents are significantly more likely than Albertans to have a budget (19% compared to 9%);
  • However, Albertans (39%) are more likely to include “donations to charities and/or religious organizations” in their budgets than residents of Manitoba and Saskatchewan (19%) and B.C. (22%);
  • On a wider scope, B.C. and Ontario residents (78%) are significantly more likely than those in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (57%) to plan and research their purchases.

Additional findings

In Canada overall, the survey found the following trends.

  • Almost half of holiday shoppers (48%) only buy goods on sale
  • About a third (36%) use coupons
  • To be able to afford presents, many (43%) cut back dining out, while others cut back on clothes (25%), vacations (13%) and entertainment (35%)
  • A fifth of shoppers (21%) plan to work overtime before the holidays


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