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- Stick to a budget and avoid the holiday hangover -

TORONTO, Nov. 15 /CNW/ - Can Canadians' holiday budgets keep up with their holiday cheer? One-third of Canadians say they buy gifts that they know they can't afford and more than one-quarter are financing their expenses with their credit cards or cashing in investments. This is according to the TD Canada Trust Holiday Survey, which examined the holiday saving and spending habits of Canadians. With a little planning, if you make a list and check it twice, holiday celebrations can be a hit without your finances taking one.

"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."

Canadians' "Merry" Missteps

As Canadians begin their holiday shopping, Carrie Russell provides tips on how to manage three of Canadians' worst holiday spending blunders, as revealed by the TD Canada Trust Holiday Survey:

  • Twenty-three per cent finance their purchases on credit cards and 4% cash in investments.

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 to accumulate 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.

  • 1 in 10 Canadians admit they've bought gifts that they knew the recipient wouldn't want.

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, subscription or membership as a gift.

  • 48% of Canadians pick up something for themselves while they are out shopping for others.

Holidays are not the time to splurge on something for yourself. Your budget is probably stretched, which is exactly why it is important to stick to it.

"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."

The Three Holiday Season Stresses

Though Canadians agree holiday shopping is stressful - what makes it so stressful is up for debate. Canadians are evenly split on what causes them to fret the most:

  • One-third (35%) worry about whether they can afford the gifts they want to purchase
  • One-third (34%) worry about whether the recipients will like their gifts
  • One-third (31%) worry about finding gifts for difficult to shop for people

"Set a budget, create a list, and remember that a great gift is not about how much you spend, but about the thought you put into it," says Russell. "By doing this we're confident Canadians can reduce some of the stress of holiday shopping this year. After all, the holidays are a time to celebrate."

How Much are People Spending?

Of all holidays celebrated during the winter months, Christmas is by far the most expensive. On average, Canadians celebrating Christmas each spend $587 on food, gifts and entertaining. Other winter holiday celebrations dip into Canadians' pockets much less with Canadians spending on average $180 for Chinese New Year, $139 for Hanukkah, and $125 for New Year's Eve.

"Holiday costs can really add up," says Russell, "so consider setting aside the money in advance for next year, with a pre-authorized transfer service or an automatic savings program. These simple and free tools can make saving for the holidays easy."

About the Survey
Results for the TD Canada Trust Holiday Survey were collected through a custom online survey conducted by Environics Research. A total of 1,004 completed surveys were collected from October 15 - 20, 2010.

Holiday Quiz
What's your gift giving habit? This quiz can determine if your family and friends eagerly anticipate your gifts or cringe at the sight. The quiz is available online at

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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