Don’t Let an Impulse Buy Blow Your Holiday Budget

Half of Canadians make an impulse buy while holiday shoppingTurns out the “cute gingerbread man” at the checkout may be the start of a slippery slope, according to a new poll on holiday consumer spending habits conducted for CIBC by Harris/Decima.

The poll found that of the Canadians who have started their holiday gift-buying spree, nearly half have made some unplanned purchases for themselves, stacking an average of $130 in extra holiday expenses so far, and making an unforeseen hit to their debit or credit card.

“It can be tempting to pick up something for yourself during your holiday shopping, however it is these unplanned purchases that can put you over your budget,” said Colette Delaney, Executive Vice-President, CIBC.

Impulse Buys Add Up

For many holiday shoppers, that extra $130 in unplanned purchases accounts for nearly a quarter of the quarter of what they’ve spent so far.

“Canadians are planning to keep a sharp eye on their budgets this year, and it is important to include all of your purchases when you are tracking your spending – including the holiday items you buy for yourself,” states Delaney.

CIBC also found that on average, men have spent $158 on unplanned purchases versus women who have only spent $117 on themselves. In total, Canadians have spent roughly $398 on holiday shopping.

The Best of Budgeting Intentions

Despite indulging in impulse purchases, Canadians are conscious of their budgets, likely as a byproduct of continued economic uncertainty. A poll conducted by CIBC early this year found that shoppers were hoping to stay on top of their holiday spending – cutting their budget back by eight per cent on average.

Budgeting can be a challenge during the holiday season where unexpected deals abound and punctuating shopping trips with lunch at the food court or a coffee can go overlooked.

Last year, CIBC found that many Canadians – who hadn’t even begun holiday shopping – said they expected to exceed their budget by 24 per cent.

Keep Spending in Check

Delaney says Canadians should be more vigilant by keeping tabs on their purchases.

“December is a busy month, which makes it even more important to use convenient tools like mobile banking to keep on top of transactions in your account, or other tools so that you know where you stand on your holiday budget,” she says.

Find a way to visualize funds, be it a spreadsheet or written out budget, could help you stay on top of your spending. Delaney also recommends having a plan in place to pay back any credit purchases as quickly as possible and avoid interest rates is also key.

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Personal Finance / Your Budget

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