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Celebrating Christmas without breaking the bank account – is it actually possible? Our Quebecois friends at Pierre Roy & Associates, advisors in financial restructuring and bankruptcy trustees, have shared a few tips with us to limit the consequences of the holiday season on your family budget.

The multiplication of gifts offered, invitations that accumulate left and right, numerous trips made, the purchase of a new sports blazer for “Mr.” and the ravishing dress for “Ms.” inevitably entails additional pressure on the family budget.

According to the latest survey conducted by the Altus Group for the Quebec Retail Council on buying behaviours of Quebecers for the 2012 holiday season, the amount that Quebecers expect to spend in gifts will be on average $676 per household. Thus, Quebecers will give gifts to an average of 7.1 people in 2012, an increase from 2011 (6.7 people).

For comparative purposes, the most recent index of the RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook reveals that Canadians are expected to spend an average of $1,182 over the holidays, including $629 in gifts.

Since the affection that one has for another has nothing to do with the monetary value of a gift offered, giving a gift certificate is often a sensible solution to permit better budget control. So what would be some other solutions?

It’s now acceptable for each guest to participate in preparing a festive evening. Have you envisioned the possibility of organizing a New Year’s Eve meal according to the “community” model? So don’t hesitate to seek the talents of everyone! A little planning is required. Establish the menu and divide the tasks. Time and money savings guaranteed!

Pooled procurement, derived from the term “team buying”, is also a relevant solution. Groupon, Tuango and LivingSocial are a few major industry players. You could, for example, spend $29 to offer body care that’s worth $69, thus protecting your budgetary limits while allowing your loved-one to benefit from a value-added gift.

It’s also possible to enjoy substantial savings on the Internet through exclusive promotions, by opting for free delivery, by using sales price comparisons and by sharing wishes through e- cards. Consumers seem to have well understood! According to a recent survey by the firm Angus Reid for the FedEx Corp., 55% of Canadians turn towards e-commerce during the festive season. Canadian consumers who are the most likely to make online purchases live in Alberta (70%) and British-Columbia (67%).

The Importance of Budgeting

The team at Pierre Roy & Associates wishes to remind you of the importance of respecting your established budget during the holiday season, with the aim of avoiding excessive debt accumulation that can sometimes arise during this festive period. Christmas or not, it’s better to limit your future debt and take action to quickly attack the reimbursement of debts that are actually tarnishing your balance sheet.

The proposition of a dealer who suggests that you buy the television of your dreams through financing over 72 months is far from attractive, especially if your budget only allows you to purchase a standard 27-inch TV!

In conclusion, it’s necessary to remember that the credit card is only beneficial to the consumer if the entire balance is paid off monthly, thus avoiding the quasi-usurious rates billed by the issuing institutions.

Our Best Wishes for Your Prosperity!

Both Sands & Associates and Pierre Roy & Associés would like to take this opportunity to convey our best wishes for the holiday season. Enjoy this moment of respite together with your family in the spirit of sharing and simplicity. May this Christmas live up to your expectations. Let the Year 2013 be a reflection of your wildest dreams, and may it be the revival of a sound and improved personal financial situation.

To arrange a confidential, free consultation regarding your debt management options please contact us.

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