Tips for Stress Free Holiday Shopping

Toronto: With just seven shopping weeks to go until that most wonderful – and expensive time of year, Canadians are beginning to feel the stress of a holly, jolly Christmas.

A poll, conducted this week by Staples indicates that the majority of Canadians get stressed out trying to find gifts for everyone on their list.

“Two out of three shoppers say that finding gifts for everyone on their list is stressful, while almost nine in ten encounter at least one person who appears practically ungiftable,” Staples reports.

And it’s these “ungiftables” who cause the most stress to our holiday budgets!

“It’s when you don’t have a shopping plan in place, or are buying for the person who has everything, that your budget is in the most danger,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. “Faced with the stress of shopping for the ungiftable, we throw caution to the wind and are willing to spend just about anything on the perfect present.”

Canadians are already planning to spend a small fortune this holiday season – approximately $1810 each according the 2013 BMO Holiday Spending Poll – and a handful of extravagant and last minute gifts can leave your finances downright frosty.

To help you slash the spending stress caused by the season, Consolidated Credit offers these seven ways tips for stress free holiday shopping:

1. Plan ahead – Make a list of everyone you plan to purchase a gift for, and brainstorm gift ideas suitable for each individual or family.

2. Set a budget and stick to it – Now that you have a good idea who your shopping for, set a realistic limit on how much you will spend on each person – stick to this budget.

3. Shop early – Hit the stores (or the internet) early to avoid the stress of buying that perfect gift at the last minute.

4. Have a homemade holiday – Why must your gifts come from a store? A present made with love may just mean a little bit more.

5. Scale back – Can you cut anyone from your holiday list? Can you scale back on the amount you are planning to spend? Minimizing the shopping and spending you do will go a long way to eliminate your yuletide stress.

6. Give of yourself – Instead of expensive store bought presents, consider giving the gift of your time or your services.

7. Ditch the duty gifts – Everyone has a few people on their list that they feel obligated to give to just because it’s the holidays – we’re talking teachers, the dog walker, your second cousin twice removed. This year ditch the duty gifts and send a card. After all it’s the thought that matters most.

The holidays are supposes to be a time of family, friends and joy but they are hardly relaxing if you’re decking the halls with stress and financial uncertainty. To help consumers make the most out of the holiday season Consolidated Credit recommends checking out their free e-publications Coping with Financial Stress and The Holiday Survival Guide.

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