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5 financial tips for the holidays

TORONTO – Younger Canadian shoppers say they plan to load up on gifts but not debt this holiday season. According to the annual RBC holiday spending intentions poll, while 94 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 said they are expecting to spend an average of $509.80 on gifts this year—up from $457.40 last year—over half say they plan to use cash or debit cards for their purchases while 18 per cent intend to use credit cards and pay off their balances.

“It’s great to see these younger shoppers focused on managing their holiday expenses so they don’t have seasonal debts when the New Year begins – this is a wonderful gift to give to yourself,” said Maria Contreras, senior manager of savings accounts at RBC.

Want to have a debt-free new year? Here are five financial tips for the holidays.

Set a budget and stick to it

Have a financial plan in mind (or on paper) before you start checking off your holiday gift list. This will help ensure you’re only spending what you know you can afford.

Try to leave your credit or credit cards at home. By sticking to cash or debit cards, you can keep better track of where your money went. If you use a reward credit card in order to earn “points,” just make sure you budget accordingly and pay off your debt in full and on time each month.

Curb your ‘got to have it’ shopping impulse

Count to 30 before impulse buying in a store; delay an online shopping decision by a few hours.

Keep a separate savings account for holiday/gift expenses

According to the survey, 6 7 per cent of Canadian shoppers don’t have a budget that includes saving for holidays/gift expenses. By setting up an account dedicated to saving for special expenses, your savings won’t get mixed in with your day-to-day cash.

Put aside a regular amount into your holiday expenses savings account

By saving $10 a week, for example, you’ll have over $500 by year-end. Invest that money in a high interest savings account and you can save even more for your next holiday season.

Look for coupons and discounts

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are likely to have some great sale discounts, coupons can also save you some money when it comes to shopping. If you’re shopping online, before you finalize your purchase, search the web for existing coupon or promo codes that can be used toward your item. You will be surprised how many external sites have promo codes that aren’t featured on the site you are shopping on.

The survey found that Quebec shoppers intend to spend the least on gifts this holiday season ($360.30) while those in Atlantic Canada and Alberta intend to spend the most ($700.90 and $699.70 respectively).

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