Canadian Bankers Association

Canadian Bankers Association

June 23, 2011 10:30 ET

Summer is Here; Time to Think About...Christmas

The Canadian Bankers Association Recommends Planning Ahead for Christmas Shopping

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 23, 2011) - With the summer holidays almost here, the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) is making an unusual but helpful suggestion: start thinking about Christmas.

"Planning for Christmas shopping is probably the last thing on people's minds as we head into the summer holidays, but now is a great time to start budgeting and saving to avoid the January bills and the January blahs," said Maura Drew-Lytle, Director of Communications at the Canadian Bankers Association. "In 10 minutes, you can develop a Christmas financial plan that will make your Christmas shopping less stressful and much more enjoyable."

Develop Your Christmas Financial Plan

To help develop a Christmas Financial Plan, the CBA recommends the following:

  • Make a list, check it twice – Make a list of everyone you plan to buy presents for. For each person write down the gifts you are thinking of (if you know) and how much you plan to spend. You may want to over-estimate a bit to give yourself a cushion. That will be your budget.

  • Set aside money now – Take your budget and break it down into payments. That could be six monthly payments until Christmas or, if you get paid every two weeks, 12 payments. Put the money into a savings account until you're ready to access it for Christmas shopping.

    For example, if your budget for gifts is $400, set aside $35 each payday and, by the time you are ready to brave the malls in December, you'll have more than enough in your account to cover your costs.

  • Set up an automatic savings program – Many banks offer accounts with automated savings services, which automatically move pre-set amounts from your chequing to your savings account on regular intervals. This approach makes saving easier because you don't have to actively move money around each time you get paid, the bank does the work for you.

  • Shop early and look for bargains – You may be able to find bargains by doing some of your shopping in advance. So, if someone on your list would like summer sports equipment or summer clothing, you may be able to find it on sale in July or August. And buying gifts as you go will mean less spending in December.

  • Stick to your budget – Make sure you stick to the budget you've set. And don't forget, it's the thought that counts, not how much you've spent.

"Sixty-four per cent of Canadians pay off their credit cards every month, but bills in January can be bigger than usual," said Ms. Drew-Lytle. "With a little planning and some simple budgeting, you can enjoy the Christmas season a little more knowing you don't have to worry about January bills."

Creating a Christmas Financial Plan could be the first stop on the road to getting your finances in order. If you set a family budget, you will have a better sense of the money you have coming in and where it is being spent. It will also help you save for your short and long-term goals, like going on a vacation, buying a house or paying for post-secondary education. Find our more about the importance of budgeting and visit the website of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada and try out their budget calculator.

The Canadian Bankers Association works on behalf of 52 domestic banks, foreign bank subsidiaries and foreign bank branches operating in Canada and their 267,000 employees. The CBA advocates for effective public policies that contribute to a sound, successful banking system that benefits Canadians and Canada's economy. The Association also promotes financial literacy to help Canadians make informed financial decisions. www.cba.ca

Follow the CBA on Twitter: @CdnBankers

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