The television went to a shopping center in Chicoutimi. Not to see the state of despair, as Les Colocs sang, but it was still desperate to see. The report told us that a simple photo of a child with Santa Claus costs between $35 and $45. Even souvenirs aren’t immune to inflation.
After two Christmases plagued by health constraints, the next one will be marked by financial constraints.
And not just because the Place du Royaume charges exaggerated bills to parents whose children want to sit on Santa’s lap.1.
More than 50% of Canadians say their expenses now exceed their income, according to a recent study by Manulife Bank. It’s huge ! And that is a good omen. Because no one can run a monthly deficit for long without facing serious consequences.
It’s not for nothing that we hear a lot about financial distress and anxiety. From coast to coast, almost everyone admits to being concerned about interest rates (85%) and inflation (94%). Combined, these two phenomena clearly create an anxiety-provoking situation. You rarely see such high percentages in polls.
Some people head straight for over-indebtedness by using more credit cards that are missed each month. Savings, whether for retirement or otherwise, take a hit. So did the payment of existing consumer debt, which fell down the priority list.
In short, now is not the time to splurge to make matters worse, especially since the key rate is likely to rise again this Wednesday, December 7, and food inflation is far from over.
The problem is that the Christmas season comes with a lot of pressure and temptations.
We want to receive loved ones with a feast, bring good bottles to our hosts, offer generous gifts, pamper our children and grandchildren. He’s the old “what will people think of me if…”.
One trick to help you breathe easier: “Don’t manage your budget based on expectations from prior years,” suggests François Martel, regional vice president of financial planning, Quebec, Eastern Ontario and Atlantic, at BMO. This is logical, because the context is not at all the same as before the pandemic. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do, I agree.
So as not to hit the wall directly, it’s time to “review your daily liquidity management,” suggests Mario Cloutier, head of distribution, Manulife Bank’s brokerage network.
Without pronouncing this expression used by companies, many consumers have already put this advice into practice. We’re cutting back on entertainment, groceries, renovations, travel. We report purchases. One in four people use their car less to save gas.
The ESG UQAM Responsible Consumption Barometer observes the same phenomenon. As many as 77% of Quebecers buy more products on sale, 63% prefer house brands more, and 49% have switched to a less expensive grocery store.
Also, more than one person in two (57%) buys less. Clothing and cosmetics are particularly affected.
When this isn’t enough, there is a way to get advice from your bank to get your finances back on track. No, your staff is not limited to selling mutual funds. At BMO branches, every day you encounter anxious, even panicking customers who don’t know their spending or options.
Then we start with the basics: determining where the money earned goes, reports François Martel.
What is playing killjoy right now is that people don’t realize how many subscriptions and services they pay for monthly without needing them. The financial adviser, who has no interest in watching TV shows, sits down and asks, “Do you need this or that subscription?”
François Martel, Regional Vice President, Financial Planning, Quebec – Eastern Ontario – Atlantic, at BMO
Before you dip into your retirement savings for out-of-pocket expenses, it’s best to explore your options for reducing the interest you pay on your debts. This can be done by opting for a low-rate credit card, consolidating debt into a personal line of credit or mortgage. The personal loan is also an option to consider.
The upcoming holiday season may be more frugal than others, but peace of mind is priceless.
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