According to an annual national survey conducted for the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), most Canadians have spending goals in mind, but many haven’t thought about how they will stay on budget.
Make Your Savings Plan a Habit
In 2020, Canadians planned to spend an average of $583 on gifts in the holiday season. This was down from $643 in 2019. More than 40% did not set a budget for holiday spending, so sticking to those spending goals could be a challenge. This could also explain why one-in-five respondents anticipate overspending this year and nearly half say they experience added stress during the holidays. This stress may expand this year given the current economic climate that’s forcing many to tighten their belts, despite the return to normal.
With more than half of Canadians living paycheque to paycheque, even small financial miscalculations can have significant consequences. It’s never too late to start planning and monitoring your spending – it can go a long way to providing some peace of mind.
Mail Handwritten Notes
Instead of purchasing and sending holiday cards, send personalized handwritten notes, without you doing any of the work. That’s what Handwrytten allows you to do. It makes handwritten notes easy to send as an email or via mail. Their patented robot is capable of autonomously writing nearly 500 notes a day. It uses custom-designed handwriting robots that hold real pens to write out the notes in the handwriting style of your choice on quality paper.
Pricing starts at $3.25, and postage is billed at cost, with bulk discounts available. They also offer subscriptions if you are looking to send more notes each month for various occasions, such as automatically send birthday cards. You can even add gift cards to handwritten note. They offer cards from major brands.
Changes to Holiday Travel and Entertainment
In 2020, 62% of those surveyed planned to stay home and spend less than $200 on travel expenses. Much of it was due to travel restrictions. Of course, as things have been easing, this trend has been on the decline. Though with current inflation, it’ll be interesting to see how this will pan out.
Again, 2020 was not heavy on parties as 61% had planned to spend less than $200 on parties and other holiday entertainment. My feeling is we will celebrate after a couple of years of confinement with small scale parties to contain the cost.
In-person vs. Online Shopping
Despite the e-commerce boom, Canadians still rely on in-store shopping. That is something I don’t think will ever get replaced. In 2020, 45% expected to spend more in-store, while 18% planned to do most of their shopping online. Nearly a third of those surveyed considered splitting their spending between in-store and online.
Avoid Holiday Stress
Holiday stress is real. Almost half of Canadians say they have added stress during the holiday season. Here’s list of 5 quick and easy tips for a stress-free holiday. Stick to these simple rules and you’ll be feeling merry, even after the decorations have been put away!
Start Saving Early
No one wants to worry about their finances over the holidays. Avoid financial stress this season by starting NOW and prioritizing a savings plan throughout the year for next season. Only 39% of Canadians save all year for their holiday purchases. Planning for these expensive periods in advance will set you up for financial success all year long.
Create a Budget
Most Canadians admitted to not having a holiday budget. Whether they have a holiday season budget or not, many say they do not plan to overspend this season. Creating a budget doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds. Set spending targets for gifts, travel and entertaining. Write them down and keep track of your spending in your savings plan as you shop.
Tackle Debt All Year Long
The best way to stay on budget and stress-free over the holidays is by paying down debt and sticking to an annual budget. Getting into the habit of tracking spending and paying down debt will ensure everyone can relax and enjoy the festive season to the fullest.
While 29% of those surveyed planned to spend less in 2020 due to the pandemic, when it comes to gifting, Canadians still intend to spend an average of $588 this holiday season. This is slightly higher than the $583 reported in the CPA Canada 2019 Holiday Spending Study. I suspect this trend will carry on with current prices.
Find Those Deals
Savvy shoppers know that finding a good deal is all about research and timing. Take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Shop end of season items now so you don’t have to splurge later. Get on coupon apps like Honey to get the savings directly applied to your online purchase.
Think Outside The Gift Box
Almost half of Canadians plan to give a non-traditional gift. Whether it’s festive food or a caring and thoughtful gesture, thinking outside the box when it comes to gift ideas is a great way to save money. Express your creativity during an expensive time of year. We’re a country of do-it-your-selfers, re-gifters and donors who looks beyond traditional presents. Rather than return unwanted gifts, keep them to re-gift, someone else might enjoy them more than you:
- homemade (26%)
- second-hand gifts (13%)
- charitable donations (18%)
- promise to do something for someone (13%)
Many Canadians were committed to helping others over the holidays, with roughly 72% planning on making charitable donations. This year many will feel the pinch though I’m hopeful many will keep giving. You can even turn that into a gift!
The Gift of it
Making your savings plan a habit is key to surviving a financially rough year. Tracking your spending and setting money aside regularly will help ease off the burden. Shopping end of season and major sale events can make difference. Better yet, get creative and donate, DIY, re-gift or shop second-hand. Remember, small savings add up. What are your savings plan ideas?
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