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Holiday shoppers set to spend again despite last year’s overspending regrets

Five tips to keep your holiday spending on track

December 14, 2015, Vancouver, B.C. – B.C. holiday shoppers are planning to ring up the same average bill on holiday gifts this year as they did last, despite more than 40 per cent saying they overspent in 2014.

That’s the finding of a new Vancity online survey, which found British Columbians plan to spend an average of $803.96 on gifts during this holiday season.

In the same survey, British Columbians said they spent an average of $809.56 on holiday gifts in 2014. Forty-one per cent of people in the survey said they spent too much on gifts last year, while only 10 per cent said they spent too little.

The survey also found that British Columbians often don't like to give and receive the same type of gift. Fifty-six per cent said they prefer to give an item they’ve purchased, while only 31 per cent want to receive a purchased item. Survey respondents showed a stronger preference for receiving other types of gifts, such as an experience (14 per cent), cash (13 per cent), something handmade (13 per cent) or a gift certificate (12 per cent).

Also according to the survey:

  • 40 per cent plan to give gifts to one to five people this holiday season (20 per cent to give none).
  • 59 per cent will spend $50 or less per gift on average (23 per cent under $25).

Here are five tips for keeping your holiday gift spending on track:

  1. Remember the ghost of holidays past.
    Review your gift expenses from last year and create a plan to avoid repeating any overspending regrets.
  2. Make your list and check it twice.
    Create a list of who you plan to give gifts to and set a realistic limit for each—if the list is too long or too expensive, make adjustments before you start spending.
  3. Put your extra credit on ice.
    Be responsible when paying for gifts on credit, particularly if you think you won't be able to pay off your credit card balance come January.
  4. Think outside of the (gift) box.
    Consider giving less-traditional gifts like something handmade or an experience—gifts don't have to be expensive to be appreciated and enjoyed.
  5. Take control of the (sleigh) reigns.
    If you feel your gift giving traditions are getting out of control, talk to your family or friends about setting lower limits, doing a gift exchange or participating in a group activity instead.

Vancity is committed to increasing the financial literacy of its members and others in the community because having the knowledge, skills and confidence to make financial decisions greatly impacts overall well-being.


“Having a realistic gift-giving plan is always a good way to make sure holiday generosity doesn't turn into unmanageable debt.” Linda Morris, Vancity senior vice-president

Additional information


Vancity conducted a poll of 514 people from British Columbia from December 4 to 7, 2015 using Google Consumer Surveys. Google Consumer Survey is an online tool that collects feedback from the general population targeting visitors to desktop and mobile websites. The results of this survey are accurate at the 95% confidence level +/- 4.3% and statistically weighted according to age and gender to ensure a representative sample.

About Vancity

Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 509,000 member-owners and their communities through 59 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish and Alert Bay. As Canada’s largest community credit union, Vancity uses its $18.6 billion in assets to help improve the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

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For more information:

Lorraine Wilson | Vancity
T: 778-837-0394


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