TORONTO -- There are only five shopping days left until Christmas, and it looks like they'll be busy ones.
A new poll says that as of earlier this week, 69 per cent of Canadians had not yet finished their holiday shopping -- and 22 per cent admitted they hadn't even started.
The CIBC-Harris/Decima survey also suggests the weekend is going to be expensive, with Canadians shelling out more this year than in 2012.
For example, those who had started shopping say they had already spent an average of $986 up to Dec. 16. That's considerably higher than the $692 Canadians said they spent last year heading into the final weekend before Christmas.
In fact, shopping bills to date are already higher than the average of $852 in holiday spending Canadians had budgeted for in a similar poll last month.
And while more than half believe they can still meet their budget this year, 20 per cent said they feared going over by the time the last gift is wrapped.
"As Canadians dash to stores to complete their holiday shopping... it's important that they monitor their spending and keep their budgets in mind," said Barry Gollom, vice-president of consumer deposits at CIBC.
"To start the new year off right financially, you need to ensure you don't overextend yourself during the holidays and exceed your budget."
He also suggests people use their smartphones when shopping to check in with mobile banking and stay on top of how much is being spent.
The poll found shoppers in Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan were among the most likely to say they had not yet started shopping.
Meanwhile, those in Quebec who have started checking people off their list appeared to be the most thrifty, with an average of $503 spent. Those in Alberta had spent the most -- $1,586 on average.
The telephone survey was based on a sample of 1,017 respondents between Dec. 12 and Dec. 16.
-- The Canadian Press