Canadians Will be A "Scrooge" On Debt This Holiday Season-BMO

Canadians Will be A "Scrooge" On Debt This Holiday Season-BMO Report 
Only one-in-ten will take on debt to finance spending 
- Men are more likely than women to go into debt over the holidays
(14 per cent versus 11 per cent)  
- One-third of Canadians plan to increase use of rewards for holiday
spending in 2012 
TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 11/30/12 -- According to the 2012
BMO Holiday Spending Outlook, only 12 per cent of Canadians say they
will take on debt as a result of their holiday gift giving,
entertaining and travel this year. Furthermore, those expecting to
accrue debt say it's the only time of year they spend outside their
means, and another 37 per cent believe they can make it up in the New
Janet Peddigrew, Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal, noted that
there are a variety of strategies and tools available that can help
you spend within your means, and avoid going into debt because of
holiday spending.  
"It's essential to put a holiday-specific budget in place ahead of
time that sets clear spending limits to prevent overextending
yourself," added Ms. Peddigrew. "By using online resources, such as
BMO MoneyLogic, you can easily keep holiday spending in check by
setting and tracking customized spending and savings goals." 
The Holiday Debt Picture Regionally  

                      TOTAL    ATL     QC      ON     MB/SK    AB      BC   
Expect to accrue                                                            
debt due to holiday    12%     12%     7%      16%     7%      12%     15%  
spending (%)                                                                

One-Third Increasing Use of Rewards for Holiday Shopping  
While credit and debit cards remain the preferred method of payment
among Canadians for holiday spending (61 per cent and 60 per cent
respectively), one-third (31 per cent) plan to do more of their
shopping using rewards points this year.  
Ms. Peddigrew noted that using rewards can increase purchase power
and is another way for Canadians to off-set holiday expenses for gift
purchases, entertainment and travel. 
Some rewards programs, such as the AIR MILES Reward Program, offer
thousands of gift options - including electronics and toys, which are
traditionally very popular holiday gift items. "Nine-in-ten Canadians
collect rewards," said Ms. Peddigrew. "If you're serious about
holding the line on holiday spending, you couldn't ask for a better
way to stretch your dollar." 
BMO offers Canadians the following financial tips for the holiday
Start early with a plan: It's easy to lose track of financial
priorities and goals during the busy holiday season if you don't have
a plan in place. In fact, more than half (53 per cent) of those
surveyed said they often make impulsive purchases while holiday
shopping. Setting a budget as early as possible and revisiting it
often using an online personal finance tool, such as BMO MoneyLogic,
can help to prevent impulse spending and overextending yourself.  
Set your clock: Don't wait until the last minute to do your holiday
shopping. You're more likely to overpay for items and you run the
risk of not finding what you're looking for. Comparison shop and look
for store sales to ensure you're getting the best price.  
Stretch your dollar with rewards: Cash cannot be replaced if lost or
stolen, and it doesn't earn loyalty rewards. Instead of cash, use a
debit or credit card that earns rewards for your holiday purchases.
BMO rewards, AIR MILES or CashBack reward options can all reduce the
cost of gift giving and holiday travel.  
Use one credit card: If you're going to use a credit card to pay for
your holiday purchases, stick to one card so that you only have to
reconcile one credit card bill in January - that's a lot less hassle
and makes it easier to track expenses.   
And if you're a rewards collector, consolidating your purchases
within a single rewards program will help get you to your goal
faster. The money you spend can help you earn rewards to redeem for
next year's gifts or a trip for the family.  
The survey results cited in the 2012 BMO Holiday Spending Outlook
conducted by Pollara are compiled from a random sample of 1,000
Canadians 18 years of age and over between October 11 and October 16,
2012. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate
to +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.  
About BMO Financial Group  
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a
highly diversified North American financial services organization.
With total assets of $542 billion as at July 31, 2012, and more than
46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of
retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and
Media Contacts:
Matt Duffin, Toronto
(416) 867-3996 
Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224 
Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596 
Twitter: @BMOmedia
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