I read a couple of times today that Canadians are expected to spend 15% MORE this Christmas than 2011. The Canadian Press reports that the Bank of Montreal holiday outlook is suggesting our spending spirits have improved this season and we are ready to open our wallets even more.
Shoppers were surveyed and said they plan to shell an average of $674 for gifts this year, compared to an average of $583 last. Top reasons for spending more are having more people to shop for and being better off financially. And one in five of those surveyed said they didn't plan on creating a budget at all.
Okay. Time out everyone. Wasn't it just a month ago that our country's Minister of Finance was telling all of us that our debt load is too high. The ration of credit market household debt to disposable income hit 163.4 percent in the second quarter of the year and that was up from the first quarter.
What the heck are people doing spending excessively at Christmas when they are so deeply in debt? I know this is the time of year that some retailers make their profit, but I can't help but think that it's at a cost to those who can't afford it. The emotional buying is an indication that Christmas is being treated as a feeling, not a season. I read where a specific large retailer is "going to be speaking more to people's hearts than their wallets" through it's marketing . So is the message going to be, buy, buy, buy, it'll make you feel so good to give, give, give.
My fellow Canadians (and everyone facing the next 6 weeks), disregard the advertising, please turn the TV Christmas commercials to the Weather Network instead, plan, budget and think about this time of year and consider whether it is worthwhile going into more debt to create that "perfect" holiday. We all know there is no such thing anyway. Give thought to what the holiday means to you and who you share it with, and think of doing things in a scaled down manner.
The B of M didn't survey me. I won't be increasing my spending; in fact, I am scaling way back from previous years for my own reasons among them being that I'm retired now and the income is less. I've budgeted for the gifts and I plan to stay firmly within that budget. I don't have any debt nor do I plan to indulge in spending to create debt. I will have no regrets come January 1, 2013.