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Valley First Expert's Top Tips on Spending and Saving During the Holiday Season

PENTICTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwire) -- 11/29/12 -- With the holiday shopping season about to hit high gear, many Canadian consumers will start feeling the familiar festive period spending pinch, balancing the pressure to buy with what remains in the wallet.

"The holidays can be a very demanding time of year," says Vicki Morgan, a branch manager at Valley First. "There are demands on our time and on our finances. It's no secret that consumption drives our economy, however, it is important we don't spend blindly.

"At Valley First, we advise all our members to spend within their means. That is a message we share year-round, but especially during the holiday season. I know it can be hard to resist the bombardment of Christmas specials and the pressure to spend, however, Valley First's terrific financial experts can provide advice to help avoid the unintentional festive season spend-up."

Morgan does note that spending is an important part of the economy, providing job opportunities and growth. Therefore, how much to keep in the bank and how much to spend becomes a delicate balancing act.

"There are two-sides to every coin," says Morgan. "When the going is good and the money flows freely people can comfortably spend. This, of course, helps create jobs and growth in the area and has additional positive economic benefits. The opposite is also true. The key is to know your personal finances and identify when you should spend and when you should save."

Morgan also acknowledges that the effects of holiday spending extend beyond an individual's pocketbook to seasonal workers and small businesses.

"Some people rely on the holidays for that extra little bit of income," says Morgan. "Take for example the students who pick up extra shifts during the longer opening hours we see at this time of year or the short-term seasonal positions, such as gift wrappers, we see at the mall. When spending declines so too do seasonal employment opportunities."

"The same applies to small businesses. While larger stores can withstand a downturn in holiday traffic, small businesses, which make up the vast majority of all organizations, are far more susceptible to spending swings."

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 37 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has approximately $6.6 billion in assets under administration, more than 169,000 members and close to 1,400 employees. For more information on Valley First, visit www.valleyfirst.com.

Follow Valley First on Facebook (www.facebook.com/valleyfirst) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/valley_first).

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