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Canadians Will be A "Scrooge" On Debt This Holiday Season-BMO Report
Only one-in-ten will take on debt to finance spending

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 11/30/12 -- According to the 2012 BMO Holiday Spending Outlook, only 12 per cent of Canadians say they will take on debt as a result of their holiday gift giving, entertaining and travel this year. Furthermore, those expecting to accrue debt say it's the only time of year they spend outside their means, and another 37 per cent believe they can make it up in the New Year.

Janet Peddigrew, Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal, noted that there are a variety of strategies and tools available that can help you spend within your means, and avoid going into debt because of holiday spending.

"It's essential to put a holiday-specific budget in place ahead of time that sets clear spending limits to prevent overextending yourself," added Ms. Peddigrew. "By using online resources, such as BMO MoneyLogic, you can easily keep holiday spending in check by setting and tracking customized spending and savings goals."

The Holiday Debt Picture Regionally


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      TOTAL    ATL     QC      ON     MB/SK    AB      BC   
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Expect to accrue                                                            
debt due to holiday    12%     12%     7%      16%     7%      12%     15%  
spending (%)                                                                
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

One-Third Increasing Use of Rewards for Holiday Shopping

While credit and debit cards remain the preferred method of payment among Canadians for holiday spending (61 per cent and 60 per cent respectively), one-third (31 per cent) plan to do more of their shopping using rewards points this year.

Ms. Peddigrew noted that using rewards can increase purchase power and is another way for Canadians to off-set holiday expenses for gift purchases, entertainment and travel.

Some rewards programs, such as the AIR MILES Reward Program, offer thousands of gift options - including electronics and toys, which are traditionally very popular holiday gift items. "Nine-in-ten Canadians collect rewards," said Ms. Peddigrew. "If you're serious about holding the line on holiday spending, you couldn't ask for a better way to stretch your dollar."

BMO offers Canadians the following financial tips for the holiday season:

Start early with a plan: It's easy to lose track of financial priorities and goals during the busy holiday season if you don't have a plan in place. In fact, more than half (53 per cent) of those surveyed said they often make impulsive purchases while holiday shopping. Setting a budget as early as possible and revisiting it often using an online personal finance tool, such as BMO MoneyLogic, can help to prevent impulse spending and overextending yourself.

Set your clock: Don't wait until the last minute to do your holiday shopping. You're more likely to overpay for items and you run the risk of not finding what you're looking for. Comparison shop and look for store sales to ensure you're getting the best price.

Stretch your dollar with rewards: Cash cannot be replaced if lost or stolen, and it doesn't earn loyalty rewards. Instead of cash, use a debit or credit card that earns rewards for your holiday purchases. BMO rewards, AIR MILES or CashBack reward options can all reduce the cost of gift giving and holiday travel.

Use one credit card: If you're going to use a credit card to pay for your holiday purchases, stick to one card so that you only have to reconcile one credit card bill in January - that's a lot less hassle and makes it easier to track expenses.

And if you're a rewards collector, consolidating your purchases within a single rewards program will help get you to your goal faster. The money you spend can help you earn rewards to redeem for next year's gifts or a trip for the family.

The survey results cited in the 2012 BMO Holiday Spending Outlook conducted by Pollara are compiled from a random sample of 1,000 Canadians 18 years of age and over between October 11 and October 16, 2012. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $542 billion as at July 31, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

Contacts:
Media Contacts:
Matt Duffin, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
matthew.duffin@bmo.com

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224
valerie.doucet@bmo.com

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596
laurie.grant@bmo.com

Internet: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia

About Marketwired .
Copyright © 2009 Marketwired. All rights reserved. All the news releases provided by Marketwired are copyrighted. Any forms of copying other than an individual user's personal reference without express written permission is prohibited. Further distribution of these materials is strictly forbidden, including but not limited to, posting, emailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, redistributing via a computer network or in a printed form.

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