Holiday shopping tips to save money and help protect your identity
‘Tis the season for gift giving! And we want to make sure you don't have buyer's remorse during the holidays. Or worse yet, put yourself at risk of identity theft or fraud.
We surveyed 1,006 Canadians between October 6-17, 2022, and found about three in 10 Canadians carry the most credit card debt during the holidays and it takes them a month or more to pay it off. And 39 per cent said they feel more vulnerable to fraudsters and identity thieves at this time of year.
That might explain why 19 per cent of respondents said they often regret their holiday purchases when they get their credit card bill in the new year.
Read on for some ideas on how to manage your money, and protect your credit score and identity.
Prepare a budget
One of the best ways to ensure you don’t regret your holiday purchases is to plan ahead and make a budget. So make that list and check it twice to make sure you can afford all those gifts.
Shop big sales events
You can find good deals during special sales events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day.
While big box stores, chain stores and online retailers may give you plenty of options, you can often find great deals by shopping at brick-and-mortar stores in your neighbourhood. As an added bonus, supporting local stores can help keep money in the community and support local jobs.
Make your own gifts
Homemade gifts can be extra special. Whether it’s baking a batch of cookies or painting an original masterpiece, 12 per cent of our survey respondents said they’ll be making their own gifts this year to save money.
Just say no to promotional credit card offers
Some stores might offer you a store credit card that can save you 10 or 15 per cent on your purchase. However, applying for multiple new credit cards at the same time could hurt your Equifax credit score. And you might end up spending more than you budgeted for.
Check your credit reports
Checking your Equifax credit report is one of the best ways to spot unexpected changes and signs of fraud. Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of survey respondents have this habit in the (gift) bag.
Read your credit card statements
When you get your statement in the new year, take a close look for any unexpected charges. If you had a budget and a list for holiday shopping, you can easily compare and spot any potential signs of fraud.
Practice safe online browsing
There are a few easy actions you can take to help protect your identity while browsing and shopping online:
Avoid using public wifi
Update your antivirus software
Change your online passwords
Limit how much personal information you share on social media