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Holiday season overspending rises, but Canadians are paying off these extra expenses - RBC poll

Saturday, February 1, 2020 8:00:00 AM

- Canadians reveal they're optimistic they can save more.
- Men overspent by larger amounts than women.
- One-third of all overspenders have already paid off their holiday bills. -

Despite their best intentions, more than one-third (36%) of Canadian shoppers went over budget by an average of $459 during the 2019 holiday season, up from $384 the previous year. Men outpaced women by a large margin ($544 vs. $372) and Canadians aged 34-55 overspent the most ($531), according to the annual RBC Post-Holiday Spending & Saving Insights Poll.

The good news: one-third (32%) have already paid off their extra holiday bills. The remaining over-spenders plan to cover those expenses in a number of ways, including: spending less on day-to-day living expenses (25%) and cutting back on entertainment, lunch and coffee costs (24%).

"Every dollar counts, whether you make a conscious decision to save it or simply not spend it," says Niranjan Vivekanandan, Vice-President, Term Investments & Savings, RBC. "Skipping little extras can add up in a big way – you don't have to make huge sacrifices to get your finances on track and build your savings. We're seeing Canadians adopt healthy financial habits that not only help them pay down bills, but equally important, help them build up their savings for the things that truly matter in their lives."

Among the biggest regrets Canadians had about this past holiday season: not spending enough time with family and friends (14%), followed by not making a budget and sticking to it (10%) and buying too many gifts (7%). Overspenders also identified four key things they would do differently to prepare for the next holiday season:

- Set aside savings on a regular basis (37%)
- Spend less/resist any temptations to spend more than I've saved (30%)
- Create a holiday spending budget (28%)
- Spend more time finding sales (27%)

When asked how much extra they thought they could save each month without really thinking about it, 30 per cent estimated they could save an additional $64 per month, while 44 per cent responded they had no idea how they might save anything extra. One-quarter (26%) admitted they weren't saving at all right now. The opportunity for everyone, Vivekanandan points out, depends on whether they will take action to build their savings.

"We all have such good intentions to save more, especially early each new year. Think how many times you've said, 'I'll make my lunch' or 'I won't buy a coffee today'? Small amounts do add up, and here's where technology can be a big help," says Vivekanandan. "Our savings solution – NOMI Find & Save – uses predictive technology to anticipate your overall monthly spending and automatically sets aside money you can spare. And this really works – to date, NOMI Find & Save has helped users save an average of around $200 a month. That's a lot of coffee!"

SOURCE: RBC Royal Bank