Albertans anticipated to spend most on holidays

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New CarThough Alberta residents will try to please their loved ones with whatever happens to be on their wish lists this holiday season, they'll try to rein in their spending in the process. However, they're still the Canadians that will likely outspend their fellow citizens, a new poll suggests.

About 25 percent of Albertans surveyed indicated that they look to spend less on their friends and relatives this year for Christmas, on par with the national average, according to the Royal Bank of Canada poll. At the same time, though, they're the consumers who will likely dole out the most between now and Dec. 25, averaging about $1,325 this year versus just under $1,500 in 2012.

Meanwhile, for Canadians as a whole, the typical buyer will spend about $1,200, up slightly from $1,180 last year.

"Canadians continue to be conscious of their finances and intend to be smart with their expenses this holiday season," said Richa Hingorani, senior manager of financial planning support at RBC. "One simple yet important step to keep in mind is that, with a little planning, it's easy to stay on top of holiday spending without dipping into your savings or increasing your debt. A holiday budget can go a long way to ensuring you're not over-extending yourself - and come January, you don't regret the holidays."

As for how Canadian consumers intend to finance their purchases, the survey found that the majority - 54 percent - plan on paying by cash or debit card, a modest decline from last year when it was 54 percent. About one-quarter of respondents said that they would cover their expenses by using their credit card, hoping to pay it off completely as soon as they receive the bill.

Given the increase in purchases, the holiday season is often the time of year in which financial preparation is critical to maintaining a balanced budget. This may explain why November is also known for being Financial Literacy Month.

An especially generous Christmas gift to receive is a used or new car. But with a new set of wheels brings the need for car insurance. The Insurance Bureau of Canada says that there are a few questions that new or used-car owners should ask themselves if they have a car for them waiting in their driveway Christmas morning:

  • What kind of deductible is recommended?

  • Does the distance I travel affect my premium?

  • If my new car is used, is it worth it to purchase collision protection?

  • Should I purchase a basic plan or are the add-ons a good value?

Additionally, if someone who receives a car is married, they'll also want to weigh whether they want to buy their own policy or join their spouse's. This can be determined by comparing premiums prices, assessing the type of coverage that's offered and making note of any traffic citations either person has received. Driving history is one of several factors that can affects rates.