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- TD Canada Trust and shopping expert Lynn Spence provide tips to help holiday shoppers stay on track and save money -

- Regional releases and a TD Canada Trust infographic on managing your holiday budget can be found at: -

TORONTO, Nov. 21, 2012 /CNW/ - The holiday shopping season is here and Canadians are looking for ways to save and make the most of their budget. According to a recent survey by TD Canada Trust, when asked what type of holiday shopper they would be this year, the majority of Canadians said they plan to spend very little and only what they need (37%) or that they would budget and manage their spending to ensure they don't overspend (35%).

The research also found that while the majority of Canadians (60%) say they plan to create a holiday shopping budget, more than a third (37%) think their intentions might slide, saying it is likely they will spend more than they planned. On average, Canadians plan to spend $842 on gifts and other holiday expenses such as food, decorations and entertainment during the holiday season- with 21% spending more than $1,000.

"The holidays can be busy, so to reduce financial stress and avoid spending more than you should, it's important to make a shopping plan, create a budget and monitor your spending," says Raymond Chun, Senior Vice President, TD Canada Trust. "Finding ways to enjoy the holidays without breaking your budget will not only help make the season more cheerful, but will also help you welcome the new year with more money in your pocket."

When it comes to saving during the holiday season, the majority of Canadians are likely to take advantage of store sales, discounts, coupons and exclusive deals (78%) and conduct online research to find the best deals (62%). Thirty-nine per cent also say they are likely to redeem rewards points and 16% say they are likely to re-gift to reduce holiday expenses.

"During the holiday season it's important to make the most of your budget by finding ways to minimize spending, while maximizing gift-giving and other holiday purchases," says Lynn Spence, Decor and Fashion Shopping Expert. "Start by setting a spending limit per gift and making a list of practical gifts that you know those on your list will appreciate. Next, look for sales that are on now. Spend time planning how you can best take advantage of online and in-store time-sensitive sales, price-match guarantees and price adjustments opportunities. But remember, don't buy a gift only because it's on sale. Choose meaningful gifts, and then find ways to save."

Regardless of your budget, Chun offers the following advice to help you stay on track this holiday season:

  • Plan: Even if you've already started hitting the malls, it's not too late to devise a holiday shopping plan. Make a list of what you want to purchase in each store to avoid impulse spending plus research the best prices and sales online. For Canadians who plan to purchase holiday gifts online (38%) in addition to conducting research, there are now more than 21,500 e-commerce merchants in Canada that accept Visa Debit, allowing you to shop online using funds directly from your bank account.

  • Budget: Determine what you can realistically afford to spend and create a budget. To get a better idea of what you might spend this year, look online at last season's bank or credit card statements. Remember to add categories for other holiday expenses aside from gifts, like eating out, decor, and travel. Take advantage of the financial services and tools that are available to help you manage your money during the holiday season.

  • Monitor Spending: While 21% of Canadians say they don't plan to track their holiday spending, it's one of the easiest ways to avoid overspending. Using one debit or credit card for all your holiday purchases can be a convenient way to stay on top of what you're spending. Remember, while a credit card can help you track your spending and earn rewards, only use it if you can afford to pay off the balance in full and on time. Don't forget to check your account regularly. If you find you are overspending in one area, see where you can cut back - such as redeeming rewards points for gifts - to get your budget back on track. Canadians can also visit TD Helps to ask questions about saving and managing money during the holiday season.

Top 5 holiday gift-giving tips from shopping expert Lynn Spence:

  • Don't wait for the last minute to shop. It's easy to spend badly when you're short on time.
  • Make sure to budget for a few extra gifts for any unexpected guests to your home, and hostess gifts for any extra parties you attend.
  • If you have a large family, organize a gift exchange to reduce the number of gifts you need to purchase. Or, agree ahead of time that everyone will only buy gifts for the children in the family.
  • Plan a dinner out with friends instead of purchasing gifts for each other. The memories you'll create spending time together are more valuable.
  • Gift cards are a great way to stretch your gift-giving dollar further, as it allows those on your list to take advantage of all the sales after the holidays.

About the TD Canada Trust Holiday Survey

TD Bank Group commissioned Environics Research Group to conduct an online omnibus survey of 1,510 Canadians 18 years of age or older. Results were collected between October 29 and 31, 2012.

About TD Canada Trust

TD Canada Trust offers personal and business banking to more than 11.5 million customers. We provide a wide range of products and services from chequing and savings accounts, to credit cards, mortgages and business banking, to credit protection and travel medical insurance, as well as advice on managing everyday finances. TD Canada Trust makes banking comfortable with award-winning service and convenience through 24/7 mobile, internet, telephone and ATM banking, as well as in over 1,100 branches, with convenient hours to serve customers better. For more information, please visit: TD Canada Trust is the Canadian retail bank of TD Bank Group, the sixth largest bank in North America.

SOURCE: TD Canada Trust

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