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Most Canadians stuck to their holiday shopping budgets, poll finds

Some Canadians are ditching their ‘give like Santa’ ways and are putting the brakes on holiday spending.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

A majority of Canadian shoppers took a disciplined approach to their holiday spending and stuck to their budgets, according to a new survey.

Almost 70 per cent of Canadians who participated in a poll for Royal Bank of Canada said they kept their spending in check over the holiday season, RBC said in a news release Thursday.

That's up one percentage point from the previous year.

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But 31 per cent of those polled – the same as for 2011 – confessed to shelling out more than they intended over the holidays, says the study.

Nationally, Canadians in the poll who said they overspent did so by an average of $463, a slight dip from $467 in the previous year.

Among those who didn't overspend, the most-used strategy for staying on-budget was avoiding going into debt or adding to an existing debt load, with 41 per cent – up one percentage point from a year ago – saying they took that approach.

Keeping a close eye on spending was the second-most used strategy, at 31 per cent, up four points.

Some respondents said they spent only what they had (28 per cent, up two points) while 13 per cent of those polled – up four points – said they stuck to a savings-goal target.

"The majority of Canadians had a solid game plan for holiday purchases by setting goals to avoid a debt hangover for the new year," said RBC director of client and personal lending Kim Taylor.

"It's encouraging to see that Canadians are paying attention to their household debt levels and managing their debts, while continuing to save for the future."

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Atlantic Canada was the region with the highest level of overspending: $533.80, up $61.60 from the previous year.

Quebec had the lowest level: $402, down $14.10.

The online poll was conducted between Jan. 2 and Jan. 14 by Ipsos Reid's national I-Say Consumer Panel of 3,150 Canadians.

A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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About the Author
Quebec Business Correspondent

Bertrand has been covering Quebec business and finance since 2000. Before joining The Globe and Mail in 2000, he was the Toronto-based national business correspondent for Southam News. He has a B.A. from McGill University and a Bachelor of Applied Arts from Ryerson. More

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