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Report says avoid same holiday mistakes

By Stefania Seccia

FOTOLIA

FOTOLIA

The holidays mean shopping, and lot’s of it.

That’s the issue a Vancity survey released Monday has taken on — B.C. holiday shoppers planning to ring in the end of the year by ringing up the same average bill on presents, despite 40% polled saying they overspent in 2014.

The online survey of 514 people found they spent an average of $809 on gifts last year, and expect to spend the same this year.

“A lot of us fall into the same trap,” said Darwin Sauer, Vancity spokesman. “We seem to all think that what others want is a purchased gift, when in fact the majority of people want something out of the box. They’re looking for an experience, something handmade.”

The survey found 56% prefer to give an item they’ve purchased, while 31% want to receive a purchased item. Respondents showed a preference for receiving other types of gifts, such as an experience (14%); cash (13%); something handmade (13%); or a gift certificate (12%).

Fifty-nine per cent of respondents are ready to spend $50 on average.

“Fifty dollars per person, or per gift, sounds fairly manageable and maybe if you’re buying for a few people, but if you have a long list of people to buy for, $50 can start to add up quickly,” he said. “One thing we suggest is compiling a list of people, set a limit that coincides with the budget you feel comfortable spending for that holiday season.”

Kirstin Appelt, of University of B.C. Sauder School of Business, said it comes down to worrying about the consequences “later.” She has researched consumer and marketing behaviour, noting if people focused on the future first it would help them make better spending decisions now.

“We tend to assume things might be tight now, but later we’ll have more,” she said. “We forget about the little things that pop up, expenses we don’t expect.”