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-Stick to a budget and avoid the holiday hangover-

HAMILTON, ON, Nov. 15 /CNW/ - He's making a list; he's… - what's the next part? Most Hamilton-Niagara residents seem to be having trouble remembering. A survey of the region found that while 62% make a budget for the holidays, less than three-in-ten (28%) are able to stick to it. Among those who typically exceed their holiday spending budgets, the TD Canada Trust survey found that four-in-ten in the region spend up to 10% more than planned and another half spend up to 25% more than planned.

"There is a certain 'magic to the season' and it's easy to get carried away," says Carrie Russell, Senior Vice President, TD Canada Trust. "However, it's important to remember that squeezing all holiday spending into one month can put a lot of pressure on your budget. It's not about being a Scrooge, but rather avoiding common holiday shopping mistakes, so you can stay on budget and enjoy what the season is supposed to be all about - without worrying about the months that follow, too."

Follow these steps from Carrie Russell to avoid holiday spending blunders:

Make a list and set aside some money:

While it may seem like the holidays sneak up on you every year, you still have time to prepare for them. Even with only a few paycheques left before the holidays, you should set some money aside and put together a modest holiday fund. Create a list of people you need to shop for and decide how much you can afford to spend based on the amount you're hoping to save. If you are putting items on credit, don't expect a holiday miracle - keep track of your purchases and don't buy more than you can afford to pay off when the bill comes due.

Don't know what to give? Give an experience rather than a gift:

If you have someone on your shopping list that is "impossible to buy for" don't waste your hard-earned money on merchandise you don't think they will like. Instead consider offering an experience such as a subscription to their favourite magazine or membership to a spin studio as a gift.

Resist the urge to shop for yourself while you are shopping for holiday gifts:

"Remember those 'impossible to buy for' people on your list? The people who already have everything they could ever want or need? Don't be one of them," adds Russell. "If you buy the things that you want when you're supposed to be shopping for others, it only makes it harder for others to shop for you."

About the survey:

Results for the Hamilton-Niagara Poll were collected through a custom online survey conducted by Environics Research. A total of 400 completed surveys from the Hamilton-Niagara region were collected from October 12 - 20, 2010.

About TD Bank Financial Group

The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Financial Group (TDBFG or the Bank). TDBFG is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches and serves more than 18 million customers in four key businesses operating in a number of locations in key financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Canada Trust and TD Insurance; Wealth Management, including TD Waterhouse and an investment in TD Ameritrade; U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TDBFG also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with more than 6 million online customers. TDBFG had $603 billion in assets on July 31, 2010. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

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