Most Canadians Not Finished Christmas Shopping

Similar to the way in which many people put off filing their tax returns until the last possible moment, a number of Canadians have yet to finish their Christmas shopping, despite Dec. 25 being just days away.

Nearly two-thirds of Canadians haven't completed their holiday shopping, according to a recent poll performed by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which surveyed roughly 1,500 randomly selected adults via the Internet. Additionally, the average buyer is spending around $680, substantially more than the $517 average that Canadians said they planned to part with for the holidays in a November survey.

One of the reasons why Canadians may be spending more than they anticipated may boil down to procrastination. The poll found that among those who have yet to finish their shopping were more likely to overspend. Roughly 20% of these individuals said they will most likely go over what they had budgeted for initially. Meanwhile, for those who have already finished, just 10% said that they spent more than what they had planned.

Steve Tyers, vice president of card product management at CIBC, indicated that this poll serves as a microcosm for why planning is such a key part of a consumer or businesses' financial success.

"Our poll shows the value of planning ahead when it comes to your holiday shopping, as those who are already finished were also less likely to overspend," said Tyers. "Those rushing around in busy stores looking for gifts with the clock ticking may be more likely to go over budget, in an effort to get everyone checked off their holiday gift-giving list."

Financial experts point out that getting a jump start on the holiday shopping crush gives buyers the added time they need to find the best deals, researching them via circulars or the Internet. This prevents them from paying for something that's overpriced.

Why You Should Prepare Your Taxes Now
In many ways, consumers and business owners' holiday shopping behaviors mirror what happens when you put taxes off until the last minute. When you procrastinate, it leaves less time to find tax deductions and write offs that can lower your tax liability. But by getting a jump start, you and your accountant can work on finding what expenses can be more fully vetted so that you get more of what is rightfully yours.

In fact, there are a number of tax incentives that can only be claimed if you do your tax preparation now. Tax experts point out that certain costs have to be paid by the end of the calendar year in order for deductions to apply. You may want to inquire about what these are with your tax advisor.

During this time, you may also be able to find deductions that you may not have had time for if you waited to prepare your taxes until April. For example, if over the past year you've traveled a lot for business, you may be able to reduce your tax liability depending on a number of factors, such as if the vehicle you used was the company's car. Keeping a logbook of your travels should help establish what tax considerations and deductions can be implemented.

Field Brafton id