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Press release from CNW Group

Canadians in a gift-giving mood but tightening their belts on holiday spending: RBC

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Canadians in a gift-giving mood but tightening their belts on holiday spending: RBC05:00 EST Thursday, November 15, 2012Canadians' average planned holiday spending down six per cent to $1,182TORONTO, Nov. 15, 2012 /CNW/ - With the peak holiday shopping period around the corner, the majority (82 per cent) of Canadians are in the gift-giving mood, according to the latest RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook. Overall, Canadians who will celebrate by giving gifts intend to spend $1,182 on the holidays including gifts, decorations, entertaining and travel. This is down six per cent from the $1,251 of last year's anticipated spending amount and more in line with the spending intentions of $1,137 in 2010.Among Canadians who will buy gifts, on average, they plan to spend $629, which is less than last year ($640), but also on par with 2010 ($624). Canadians gift-givers intend to significantly curb their spending on holiday expenses other than gifts, to an average of $553, down 10 per cent from last year ($612)."It's clear that Canadians are conscious of their finances and are taking a closer look at what they can afford this holiday season," said Chris McEachern, financial planning role strategist, RBC Financial Planning. "A little planning ahead of your holiday shopping can make all the difference. By creating a realistic budget and keeping track of your purchases, it will help you avoid the post-holiday blues when the bills come in."More than half (56 per cent) of Canadians plan to fund their festivities with savings and one-in-five (24 per cent) plan to use credit cards; however, almost one-quarter (23 per cent) say they have not thought about how they will pay for the holiday season."No matter how you choose to purchase your gifts, whether it's with debit or credit cards, in store or online, knowing how you'll cover your holiday expenses is crucial to avoiding unwanted debt and ensuring you are in good financial shape for the new year," added McEachern.RBC offers the following tips and secure payment options for holiday spending to help ensure that you stick to your holiday budget while enjoying the spirit of the season:Take control by preparing a budget - A budget will help you live within your means, during the holidays and throughout the rest of the year, and avoid unnecessary debt. A Financial Planner can help you put a plan with a budget in place or online budgeting and savings resources available on websites such as www.rbc.com/savingsspot can be of great assistance to help keep holiday spending plans under control. myFinanceTracker is another online customizable financial management tool that will help keep tabs on your monthly spending so you know exactly where your money is going and how to budget properly.Use cash and credit wisely - If you plan on using savings for your holiday costs, make your credit card work for you by using it for purchases and then immediately pay off the balance. Many rely on their credit cards for larger purchases but may not use it for everyday shopping instead of using cash. Holiday spending on groceries, gas, restaurants and clothing can add up quickly, but using your card can help you keep track of your expenses and also earn rewards more quickly while taking advantage of a temporary interest-free loan on purchases.Shop online with confidence - E-commerce sites are a great way to avoid crowds at the mall. Use the RBC Virtual Visa Debit for shopping online with funds coming directly from your bank account. This is a simple and secure way to make purchases that will be processed over Visa's network, providing the protection of Visa's multiple layers of security including: Visa's Zero Liability Policy, Verified by Visa, E-Promise, AVS (Address Verification Service) and CVV2 (the three-digit code).Have someone that's "hard to buy for"? - More secure than cash, RBC Visa Gift Cards can be used anywhere around the world where Visa cards are accepted, including online, giving friends and family more options than traditional store gift cards. RBC Visa Gift Cards are available at all RBC branches.Get peace of mind with purchase protection and extended warranty- Take advantage of these insurance features on gifts (e.g. electronics) that RBC credit cards offer. Need help finding the right card? Visit the RBC Advice Centre.About RBC savings and other financial advice and interactive toolsCanadians can access RBC Financial Planning and www.rbc.com/savingsspot for free planning, budgeting and savings advice and resources, or to find an Investment and Retirement Planner near you. In addition, all personal RBC online banking clients can use myFinanceTracker, a no-cost interactive financial management tool, to create and track their budget, savings goals and spending habits. To find Investment and Whether Canadians want to get more from their day-to-day banking, protect what's important, save and invest, borrow with confidence or take care of their businesses, the RBC Advice Centre can help answer their questions. Interactive tools and calculators provide customized information covering many facets of personal finance. In addition, online advice videos are updated regularly to reflect current trends and to answer the questions that are top of mind with Canadians. With the guidance of RBC advisors who are available to chat live, Canadians have access to free, no-obligation professional advice about RBC products and services and personalized one-on-one service at www.rbcadvicecentre.com.About The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook IndexThe survey is conducted online via Ipsos Reid's national I-Say Consumer Panel to 3,375 Canadians (540 British Columbia, 540 Alberta, 469 Saskatchewan/Manitoba, 735 Ontario, 609 Quebec, 482 Atlantic Canada). Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. Data collection was October 1 to 10, 2012. The precision of Ipsos Reid polls are calculated using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±1.9 percentage points of the entire Canadian population.Image with caption: "RBC CANADIAN CONSUMER OUTLOOK - Do you plan to give gifts to others this holiday season? (CNW Group/RBC)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121115_C8177_PHOTO_EN_20661.jpgSOURCE: RBCFor further information: Media contacts: Suzanne Willers, RBC, suzanne.willers@rbc.com, 416-974-2727 Kate Yurincich, RBC, kate.yurincich@rbc.com, 416-974-1031