Plenty of Canadians are still working through their gift list
(TORONTO, ON) – It’s that time of year again – holiday shopping procrastinators are sharpening their elbows and bracing themselves for crowded malls for some last minute shopping, all the while wondering why they do it to themselves every year.
The numbers don’t lie:
- As of December 15th, a survey showed nearly 70 per cent of Canadians had not yet finished their shopping (CIBC).
- The same survey showed that 15 per cent did not even start.
- Year after year, December 23rd is continually the busiest shopping day (Moneris).
According to Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, last-minute shopping is a recipe for disaster.
“When it comes to saving money around the holidays, time is your best friend – it allows you to hunt for deals, carefully budget, and shop with your brain and not your emotions,” says Schwartz. “I have a feeling a lot of budgets will be busted this week.”
A recent survey from BMO suggest that Canadians plan to spend an average of $1,600 on the holidays this year, and Schwartz wonders where that is going to come from.
“We know budgets are tight, we know that half of Canadians are living paycheque-to-paycheque, and we know that people don’t save money like they used to,” says Schwartz. “I worry those extra dollars will come from the easiest place – credit cards.”
Schwartz recommends that Canadians avoid the malls altogether, and save money by thinking outside the gift box. He and the team at Consolidated Credit have put together five easy suggestions for gifts that won’t bust the budget:
Give the gift of you (FREE) – Think about some services that you can provide your loved ones – snow shoveling, cooking a meal, grocery shopping, babysitting – and create a hand-made gift certificate. You can also download some templates here.
Give experiences, not things ($15 – $30) – Websites such as Groupon offer huge discounts from local businesses on everything from Yoga lessons to Escape Rooms. Spend less, avoid the malls, and give an unforgettable experience that might spawn a new hobby.
Start a family cook book ($15-$20) – Call up some aunts, uncles, and grandparents and learn some family recipes. Collect them all in an inexpensive photo album but don’t feel like you need to fill it – empty pages will allow it to be updated year after year.
Take the photo frame to a new level ($20-$30) – Photos are a great last-minute gift idea, but they are better when you make your own frame. Go to a craft store and get a plain wooden frame, buy some chalkboard paint, and create a frame that is truly unique.
Knit ($15-$20) – You don’t have to be an expert knitter – lucky for you, a scarf is one of the most basic items to make. Choose some interesting yarn and get to work. If it doesn’t come out perfectly straight, that’s ok – it’ll give you something to laugh about!
“It truly is the thought that counts,” adds Schwartz. “Spend a little more thought and a little less money, and the gift will be appreciated.”
About Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.:
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance.
For more information or to request an interview with Jeffrey Schwartz, please contact:
Jacob MacDonald, Manager of Community and Public Relations, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc., T: 416-915-7283 ext.1041, C: 647-390-5253, F: 416-915-5200, E: [email protected]