How much Canadians spend over the holidays

Holiday spending costs are higher from last year, but the good news is that we`re cutting back in one area: entertainment. Here are five tips to help you have fun for less.

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Masterfile

According to Bank of Montreal’s 2012 holiday spending outlook, the average Canadian will be spending approximately $1,610 this holiday – a figure that includes the cost of gifts, travel and entertainment.

The amount is higher than last year – $213 higher to be exact. Not great news considering that Canadians are at record high debt levels, but there’s a silver lining. When you break down the costs, we’re actually cutting back in one area: entertainment. So while we may be spending more on travel and gifts, we’re eating out less and cutting back on all that holiday booze cheer, which can cost you more than you budgeted for.

Here are the Bank of Montreal’s average spending numbers as compared to last year:

Purchases

2012

2011

Gifts

$674

$583

Trips

$563

$360

Entertaining

$267

$307

Other

$106

$147

Are you planning on spending less on holiday entertainment this year? If so, here are five quick and painless tips to help you cut back.

1. Make your own hostess gifts

Homemade ornaments, cookies and candies or even scented bath oils are all great thank you gifts to tote to parties and drop-ins. And they beat store-bought chocolates any day.

2. Host a potluck

Throwing a holiday party? Ask everyone to bring their favourite dish as a fun way to try new foods and share the costs of the meal.

3. Opt for drinks instead of dinner

Skip the expensive dinners out and meet your friends for holiday drinks instead. But beware: don’t indulge too much or you’ll end up spending more on drinks than you planned (and with an unwanted hangover the next day).

4. Organize a skating party

Meet your friends at the local ice rink instead of at a restaurant or bar. Tote some hot chocolate, cookies and enjoy!

5. Stay home

Are you running yourself ragged going from party to party? Then stop and have a night in. Party-going means extra money spent on gifts, wine, and the other things one habitually takes along to parties. Opt out and visit friends in 2013 instead.

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