How to Deal With Shopping Anxiety This Holiday Season

TORONTO – When November hit, Sabina Wex started to get anxious about buying gifts for the upcoming holiday season.

TORONTO – When November hit, Sabina Wex started to get anxious about buying gifts for the upcoming holiday season.

“With inflation rising, things seem so much more expensive than they used to be,” said the 26-year-old owner of Sabina Wex Consulting, a public relations agency in Toronto.

Since Wex’s budget increased last year to deal with rising costs for groceries, clothing, and more, she’s found it harder to prepare for holiday spending.

“I’m in a bit of a weird place where I feel, should I just spend the money I want to spend because the cost of living might only go up or should I be more careful about that this year,” said she declared.

Wex noted that she is buying more gifts this year because her friends and family are finally vaccinated and they are more comfortable meeting in person for the holidays than they were the year. last.

“It puts a lot of pressure to make it a great holiday season. “

While many people this time of year may feel stressed about shopping for the holidays, a new online survey by Coast Capital Savings Federal Credit Union suggests that young Canadians are feeling especially overwhelmed.

According to the poll, 67 percent of Canadians aged 18 to 34 believe holiday spending will put a strain on their finances, compared to 62 percent of those 35 to 54 and 42 percent of those 55 and over.

Young Canadians are also more likely than their older counterparts to say that they anticipate that holiday spending will cause them to take $ 100 to $ 500 in debt on their credit cards and delay their long-term financial goals, such as save for a house, retirement or general expenses. spending 2022.

The best course of action for alleviating holiday spending anxiety and avoiding credit card debt is to plan ahead, said Jarrett Holmes, financial planner at Ironshield Financial Planning Inc. in Winnipeg.

So if you know you’re going to be spending around $ 500 in December on holiday gifts, for example, then it’s a good idea to set aside around $ 50 per month from January through November.

“A lot of people will actually put aside a savings account and give an account a nickname, like vacation spending,” he said, which can create some psychological distance with the money and prevent people from spending it up front.

When it’s too late in the year to use this strategy, Holmes advises setting a financial limit on giveaways.

Instead of going to the mall or online with the idea that you’re going to get something to buy a specific person, a spending constraint can help make sure you’re not buying more than you can. reasonably allow you.

And, while that’s difficult to manage, some people find that purchasing gift cards helps them meet their spending limit, Holmes added.

If you are shopping for gifts online, however, it can be helpful to keep the items in the shopping cart for longer than 24 hours to make sure you don’t buy impulse items that you might regret splurging on. later, he said.

Finally, if you’re feeling anxious about holiday shopping and it’s specifically spending related, talk to your friends and family. “Chances are, you’re not the only person feeling this,” Holmes said. “They might actually be relieved to know that they are not alone.”

Wex and some of his friends had candid conversations about how the rising cost of living affected their finances and their holiday shopping.

“A lot of my friends are young professional women like me and we all feel the pressure,” she said.

“Some of us have decided that instead of giving each other gifts, we’ll share a bottle of wine for a night out, go out for dinner, or book a getaway for later in the year and call it the gift.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on December 7, 2021.

Léa Golob, The Canadian Press

Carol N. Valencia