Tis the season for spending — but going to the mall without a plan could lead to months of debt.

Nevertheless, stores bustling are with shoppers, and many of those customers don't have a shopping strategy.

CBC News reporter Amy Dodge went to the New Sudbury Shopping mall and recorded the following answers from busy consumers:

  • "I go in and hope for the best, I don't budget at all."
  • "I think of the person, and an item jumps out at me,

    [and] I get it. I have no idea what I'm buying when I go. None."
  • "A lot of the times I don't know how much money I've spent."
  • "I just spend more than I know I have, so I definitely use my credit card around Christmas time, too."

Sudbury financial planner Ruby Lougheed Yawney said this is common consumer behaviour that is exaggerated at this time of the year.

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Ruby Lougheed Yawney, a Financial Planner with Lougheed Financial Planning, urges shoppers to follow their budgets and not the crowds. (CBC)

"And it is very much shopping therapy," she said.

Lougheed Yawney said shoppers need to have a plan, a budget and not be afraid to say no — even if they fear looking cheap.

"So what if you look cheap? Is that actually a bad thing?"

She also said people shouldn’t be afraid to stand their ground on the issue.

"Just because the retailers want me to spend money, and the media is bombarding me with all the sales and stuff, you have to really make a conscious decision [and say], 'I'm not going to follow the crowd about this'," Lougheed Yawney said.