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Canadians Embrace the Spirit of Holiday Spending

Budgeting Takes a Back Seat to Increased Spending in 2012

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 11/14/12 -- The winter holidays are traditionally a time when people take on even more debt, and according to a recent BMO holiday outlook survey Canadians plan to overlook their budgets and spend 15 per cent more to make this holiday season merry and bright.

Claiming to be better off financially, Canadian consumers expect to spend an average of $1,610 this year - up from $1,397 in 2011.

"As household debt hits an all-time high of 163 per cent, we have to wonder why individuals and families are willing to spend more this year," said Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. With 47 per cent of Canadians living paycheque to paycheque, with little to no savings, there has to be a better way to achieve holiday bliss than ringing up even more debt."

According to the BMO survey, released today, Canadians are not only planning to spend more, but also plan to overlook their budget in order to spread a little holiday cheer.

Of the 1,000 Canadians surveyed, only 30 per cent plan to stick to a firm budget, while 20 percent don't plan to create a holiday spending budget at all. The remaining 50 per cent of respondents expect to set a lose budget, but admit to making impulse purchases throughout the season.

"It's easy to get caught up in the spirit of holiday spending, especially when we have a mentality that it's okay to buy this year's gifts with next year's money," added Schwartz. "To avoid the holiday debt hangover in 2013, it's important to shop strategically, plan ahead and develop a holiday spending budget that you can realistically stick to."

Eva from Regina, SK, a member of a debt management, says her holiday budgeting strategy is to set aside cash to make all her holiday purchases. By paying for everything with cash Eva won't have the stress of post-holiday bills in the New Year.

To help other Canadians avoid the stress of holiday debt, the Holiday Survival Guide offers money saving strategies and helpful tips to budget for the season - and this special holiday infographic offers more merry ways for Canadians to keep their budgets on track to be debt free in 2013.

About Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.:

Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance.

Through unbiased debt-counselling services, assisting with consolidating payments, and providing consumer education, Consolidated Credit is dedicated to assisting individuals and families in ending financial crises and solving money management problems.

Consolidated Credit also offers a free online learning centre with a variety of tools to manage personal finances. Visit the site at www.consolidatedcredit.ca for free personal finance education booklets, financial calculators, resources, tips and suggestions. Also offered is a free iPhone and iPod application, "Budget Tool", which can be used to manage expenses on-the-go.

For more information or to request an interview with Jeffrey Schwartz, please contact:

Kylie-Anne Doerner, Communications & Public Relations Manager, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. (B) 416.915.7283 ext. 1057 © 289.231.7900 or [email protected].

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