Finder’s Christmas Cost Corrector

Useful calculations to determine how much you should really spend on your loved ones


Giving Christmas gift

Want to buy Christmas presents at a price point your loved ones deserve? Introducing our Christmas Cost Corrector (CCC). Not only does CCC provide an overall recommended present budget, it helps you quantify how much you should spend per gift based on real-life data points.

Did your mom forget your birthday this year? That’s -5% on her Christmas present budget. Did your bestie post an unflattering picture of you to Instagram? -5%!

CCC also lets you reward good behaviour. Buying for someone who always shouts the first round of drinks on a Friday night? +5%. Remembers details like your coffee order? +5%.

You can have a play on the calculator below. Underneath is a starting list to help you determine if they’ve been naughty or nice.

Christmas Cost Control Calculator

How much will you be spending on people this Christmas?

Annual income
Number of people you’re buying gifts for
Number of times person was naughty
Number of times person was nice

Note: You’ll need to adjust naughty/nice figures and recalculate for each person you’re buying a gift

Use the calculator above to see how much you should be spending on gifts.

Your total Christmas present budget will be…

  • {{monthlytotal | currency}} if you’re a conservative gift giver
  • {{yearlytotal | currency}} if you’re an average gift giver
  • {{decadetotal | currency}} if you’re a generous gift giver

The naughty and nice factor

But not all gift recipients are created equal. Some are naughty. Some are nice. Play around with the naughty and nice inputs above and see how much you should be spending on that person this Christmas:


  • {{monthly | currency}} for this recipient (conservative)
  • {{yearly | currency}} for this recipient (average)
  • {{decade | currency}} for this recipient (generous)


  • {{monthlyfriend | currency}} for this recipient (conservative)
  • {{yearlyfriend | currency}} for this recipient (average)
  • {{decadefriend | currency}} for this recipient (generous)

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Getting punitive with present points

Naughty Nice
Made sarcastic comments about your appearance Often says you look beautiful
Frequently late to social events Remembered your birthday
Took your parking space Always shouts the first round of drinks
Posts unflattering pictures/information about you on social media Gave you great life advice
Frequently tells embarrassing stories about you Is your work spouse
Rarely says thank you Listens to your stories without interrupting
Tells you how much you overpaid for things Waits to binge watch things with you
Spoilt the ending of Game of Thrones Is your emergency contact
Still owes you money Watered your plants when you were away
Tells boring stories Vets all your potential dates

How much should you spend on Christmas presents?

Rather than setting a flat budget per present, e.g. spending $40 per person, CCC calculates your overall maximum budget based on your annual household income. It then shows you how much you should spend on average per gift based on how many people you’re buying for.

Given your significant other/mom/bestie might be annoyed if you spend the same amount on a gift for them as you do for your second cousin twice removed, it also does the calculations to help you determine how much extra or less you should spend based on how close you are to the recipient and whether they’ve been naughty or nice (to you).

Cutting Christmas present costs

Still think you’re spending too much on presents and are looking to save some cash? You’re not alone. A recent Finder survey reveals 76% of Canadians plan to cut costs on Christmas presents this year.

The younger you are, the more likely you are to use cost-cutting methods. Almost 9 in 10 Gen Zers (88%) say they’re planning to save money on presents this year, compared to 84% of Gen Yers, 73% of Gen Xers and 68% of Baby Boomers.

Women are more likely than men to save money on presents this year (78% compared to 73%), with those based in Saskatchewan (87%) and Alberta (84%) the most likely across the country to cut costs. On the other end of the spectrum, Manitobans (60%), Nova Scotians (65%) and Newfoundlanders (67%) are the least likely to skimp of gifts.

How Canadians plan to cut present costs this Christmas

The most popular cost reduction method by far is setting a price limit, with almost half (45%) of the adult population saying they’ll do so. Gen Zers are most likely to use this tactic (54%), followed by Gen Y (51%).

The second most popular money saving technique? Christmas present DIY. One in five (21%) say they’ll make some of their gifts, with women much more likely to get crafty (15% and 26%).

Other popular tactics include giving an experience (15%), waiting to buy until the post-Christmas sales (13%), not buying gifts (12%) and doing Secret Santa (11%).

Christmas spending

Unfortunately presents are just one line item in the long list of Christmas expenses. Our survey suggests the average individual Canadian will spend around $800 on Christmas expenses. If you break it down by average spend per category, presents are the biggest expense ($383), followed by travel ($184).

Given the average is brought down by those who aren’t spending, we also calculated the spend based on those who are shopping. Here’s how much people are prepared to fork out if they’re planning to spend:

‘Tis the season to be generous!

Not all Canadians are gifting to those they know personally. Two in five Canadians plan to donate an average of $169 to charity over the silly season. Not only are men more likely to give than women (42% to 39%), they’re also planning to donate more ($223 to $112). Baby Boomers are the most generous demographic with 45% of this age bracket planning to give an average of $240.


Survey data is from a survey of 1,213 Canadian adults commissioned by Finder and conducted by PureProfile in October 2019.

Assumptions for the calculator

The calculator provides a plus or minus value of 5% of the total budget for each naughty or nice input. The three tiers for the gift-giving budget are based on 0.5%, 1.0% and 1.5% of your annual salary. The calculator prices family members as twice as important as friends, with friends being allocated 50% less than the amount of a family member.

Data usage

Finder will follow up this article with an analysis of how much people are spending this Christmas, how many people they’re buying gifts for and how naughty or nice Canadians are based on the data input in the calculator. No personal information is captured during this process.

Image: Getty

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