Whether it was being separated from family and friends or the general ennui of spending a holiday season during a pandemic, Canadians racked up some hefty bills this holiday season.
According to a poll conducted by RBC, Canadians spent more money holiday shopping this year than they did any year in the past decade.
The poll found that the average Canadian spent $735 this holiday season, up from $709 in 2019.
Pollsters found that another record set was how many shoppers went over budget, with 25 per cent spending an average of $588 more than they planned. The $588 figure represents a 28 per cent increase from the average amount shoppers overspent last year.
The biggest holiday spending categories were gift cards at $121, electronics at $104 and giving experiences to their families and friends at $91.
However, British Columbians turned out to be the most thrifty of holiday shoppers; only 18 per cent of them overspent, while the biggest over-spenders were in Ontario at 27 per cent.
Pollsters found that 67 per cent of those who spent more than they expected to have yet to pay off those holiday bills. Only about 25 per cent have immediate plans to cut back on expenses such as entertainment and daily living expenses, while 18 per cent plan to carry credit card debt for at least two months.
And while 20 per cent of people surveyed said they planned to set aside savings for the next holiday season, half said they “have no idea” how much they might be able to save.
“We know Canadians have the best of intentions about saving and that it can be difficult to set a budget and stick to it. In these uncertain times, we’re also seeing that, while some are able to save more than they thought because they are spending less, others are struggling to make ends meet as a result of the pandemic,” said Niranjan Vivekanandan, vice-president of term investments and savings at RBC.
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