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Coast Capital Savings offers five tips to avoid holiday spending hangover

Poll findings suggest British Columbians plan to keep spending on gifts modest but will rely on credit cards

(Surrey, BC) – You know how it goes when it comes to holiday shopping. You have the best of intentions to keep spending in check, to stick to a budget and to pay off that credit card as soon as the bill has landed. But when things get busy, you give in to a few of those impulse buys and the credit card balance sticks around longer than intended.

A poll commissioned by Coast Capital Savings and conducted by Mustel Group Market Research on holiday spending habits shows a majority of respondents (94) plan to pay off credit card debt either immediately or within the next three months with 43 per cent of British Columbians planning to use their credit cards to purchase holiday gifts over cash or debit. But the B.C.-based federal credit union suggests that good intentions sometimes get lost in the hustle and bustle of the season and lead to holiday debt hangovers that last much longer than the holiday cheer.

Daryl Hosein, Coast Capital Savings’ Vice President of Treasury, says that although British Columbians have good intentions to pay off credit card debt right away, consumer debt levels suggest this isn’t always the case. Earlier this year, the Bank of Canada compared household debt to disposable income of Canadians and found that on average, for every dollar of income earned, Canadians owe $1.69.

“Although most people have great intentions at the beginning of the holiday season, the reality is that Canadians’ high debt-load makes those intentions hard to follow through with,” says Hosein, adding that four out of five British Columbians surveyed say they plan on setting and following a holiday gift budget.

To help keep the holiday merry and bright, Coast Capital offers these five tips to keeping on track with holiday gift spending and paying off debt quickly in the New Year.

  1. Budget realistically and fully. Build a budget based on each of the people you are buying for and make sure you think through the fulsome list from the teachers and daycare workers to colleagues, friends and of course your family.
  2. Track spending. When you make a purchase – no matter the size – track it against your budget. You can then adjust as you go if the spending starts to go off track.
  3. Focus on experiences not stuff. Try gifting items that cost little to no money but allow you to spend quality time with the ones who you love as opposed to expensive gifts that collect dust
  4. Pay off the right card and pay more. If you do use a credit card, pay off card with the highest interest rates first and make more than the minimum payment each month.
  5. Put a saving plan in place for 2019. Set yourself up for a stress-free holiday next year by putting a bit of money away each month through the year so you are set for the holidays without debt.

The poll also found that the vast majority of British Columbians (85 per cent) will try to spend less than $1,000 on holiday gifts, with nearly half (46 per cent) planning to spend less than $500. Only 15 per cent of people plan to spend more than $1,000 and just 5 per cent of people 45-years-old or younger plan to spend more than $1,000.

Hosein says that the poll suggests people are approaching the holiday season cautiously and are optimistic about managing spending and debt.

“People are being cautious about what higher interest rates could mean for their household expenses and, in turn, what it means for their holiday budget,” Hosein explains. “The truth is, although 81 per cent of British Columbians do plan on setting a budget, sticking to that budget can be harder. These poll results serve as a great reminder to follow through on those good intentions.”

Hosein also urges everyone to include talking to a financial advisor as part of a new year’s resolution. “Whether you have $20 or $20,000, everyone can benefit from sitting down and talking to a financial expert. A good financial advisor is essential to your financial well-being and something that will pay off in spades.”

The data for Coast Capital Savings Holiday Spending Poll was collected through an online survey conducted by Mustel Group Market Research between November 21 and 26, 2018. The poll was conducted among 300 residents of B.C. 18 years of age and over. The margin of error on a random probability sample of 300 respondents is ±5.7 per cent at the 95 per cent level of confidence.

About Coast Capital Savings

Coast Capital Savings is Canada’s largest credit union by membership. An Imagine Canada Caring Company and a certified B Corporation in recognition of its social performance, the credit union invested $5.6 million into local communities in 2017, focusing on empowering and engaging youth. Coast Capital is one of Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures™, and is a winner of the Canada's Best Managed Companies Platinum Club designation. In 2018, Coast Capital was awarded the Corporate Responsibility Award at National Philanthropy Day by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Vancouver Island Chapter. It has 52 branches serving its 555,000 members in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and Okanagan regions of British Columbia. Product innovations include Canada's first free chequing account from a full-service financial institution. To learn more, visit

About Mustel Group

Mustel Group has been a leading market research and public opinion research firm in Canada for more than 30 years, trusted by a wide range of the country’s most esteemed public and private sector institutions to design and conduct qualitative research, quantitative research and omnibus surveys in order to understand the thoughts and motivations underlying people's’ emotions, opinions and behaviours. For further information, visit


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Phone number: 778.391.6225
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