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‘Unconscious spending’ makes it that much harder to balance the budget

As inflation worsens, Canadians are faced with the challenge of dealing with their ‘unconscious spending,’ a term that refers to money you spend out of habit.

Whether it be online subscriptions that come off your credit card that you forgot about, or eating at a restaurant because you’re too tired to cook, more and more people are spending money in ways they never intended.

Cindy Marques, a financial planner in Toronto, said the presence of social media helps create a culture of spending. It can lead to people overspending while justifying it to themselves.

‘Why not treat myself?” Marques said, about the justifications people make.

“I already spent most of my paycheck on rent, I deserve to go out and get this or the convenience of an Uber. Whatever it may be, they’re spending a lot of money (and) there is a sense of defeat in this demographic.”

Marques said budgeting is the best way someone can manage any leftover money they have after paying bills.

“I think it’s very scary for people to take that first step,” she said.

Jean Beauchemin, a Cambrian College business professor, said it’s even harder for young people to stop unconscious spending with modern technology at their fingertips.

“An impulse buy used to be a chocolate bar at the end of counter at the grocery store, but now this could be something that’s more significant in nature,” Beauchemin.

“Then ‘poof,’ it gets delivered to their door the next day"

With the Holiday season upon us, Beauchemin said there are things families can do to alleviate financial strain by being more creative.

"As opposed to buying presents for everybody that’s gathering, is there maybe an opportunity to do a gift exchange?” he said.

“Something that’s fun, maybe around a theme that would be Christmas in the 1950s kind of thing? So engage people in creating those memorable experiences."

Experts say the average Canadian household spends around $1,800 during the holidays and with just more than a month until Christmas, creating a budget and sticking to it is the best way to stay financially secure. Top Stories

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