Almost Half Of Ontarians Anticipate Feelings Of Anxiety And Regret Over Holiday Spending

2018-12-21   minute read

Wesley Cowan

MNP Consumer Debt Index

Ontarians admit to bad financial habits including:

  • Being lured in by deals or offers by companies on days such as Black Friday, Boxing Day, etc. (16%)
  • Paying only the minimum balance on a credit card (20%) or line of credit (18%)
  • Borrowing money they can’t afford to pay back quickly (15%)
  • Making a major purchase on credit without paying it off right away (13%)
  • Buying something on credit that requires no payments for a while (8%)

KITCHENER, ON – As the shopping rush reaches peak intensity before the holidays, a local debt expert is warning Ontarians to avoid taking on more debt or payday loans, as they try to cope with the pressures of last minute gifts and Christmas grocery shopping.

People are often tempted to borrow money from payday lenders or really overextend themselves on credit cards when they’re feeling that mounting pressure right before the holidays. The interest rates on these types of credit are extremely high, and can easily trap someone in a crippling cycle of debt,” says Wesley Cowan, a local Licenced Insolvency Trustee at MNP Ltd.

A new poll conducted by MNP on behalf of Ipsos highlights some bad financial habits that are exacerbated by the holiday shopping season. Sixteen per cent admit to being lured in by sales on ‘deal’ days like Black Friday or Boxing Day. Nearly one in ten (8%) said they have bought something on credit that requires no payments for a while.

This time of year, we are constantly bombarded by flashy sales and ‘buy now, pay later’ offers, but they may not be as good of a bargain as you think. Even a small purchase or a Boxing Day door crasher won’t be as good of a deal if you end up carrying the balance on credit,” says Cowan.

Two in ten Ontarians (20%) admit to only paying the minimum balance on their credit card or line of credit (18%). Thirteen per cent say they have made a major purchase on credit without paying it off right away. About the same number (15%) say they borrowed money they can’t afford to pay back quickly. Nearly one in ten (7%) admit they have even used their home-equity line of credit to buy things they want but don’t need.

If you choose to borrow or use credit cards, then it’s important to understand what true cost of that debt really is. When you see the sticker price of an item you want, calculate the potential interest accrued and add that to the price. It’s likely that item won’t seem like such a steal anymore,” says Cowan.

Come January, Ontarians anticipate feeling the effects of a credit hangover. Last year, almost half (46%) felt anxiety over the arrival of holiday-spending bills, and regret over how much they spent (46%). However, four in ten (44%) said they made it their New Year’s resolution to get their finances back on track.

Resolve to shop thoughtfully and spend less this holiday season. Don’t wait until the New Year to make changes to your shopping habits. At the end of the day, remember that the holidays are more about your presence than the presents. I also recommend making a plan to tackle your debt repayment obligations right away and seek professional advice if your debts are becoming overwhelming,” advises Cowan.

With the holiday spirit in mind, MNP Ltd, has re-released an ‘un-shopping’ holiday gift guide designed to help minimize the crushing burden of post-holiday debt.

MNP’s Holiday Gift Guide - 2018


It’s about your presence, not the presents!

1. Quality time

One of the best gifts you could give someone is your time. Spending valuable time with your loved ones creates more meaningful memories. Disconnect from your devices so you can re-connect with your loved ones. Play a board game, make a puzzle, build a snowman, go tobogganing or bake some cookies. Volunteer to babysit your nieces and nephews while their parents get that much needed break or spend time together as a family cooking a holiday meal.

2. A heartfelt ‘thank you’

In a time where emails and messages are the preferred means of communication, take the time to express gratitude and show appreciation by sharing a handwritten note or telling a loved one what their friendship means to you.

3. Thoughtful homemade gifts

Bring out the creative side in you and make a gift for your loved ones. Not only can you create something they are sure to love, but you can also customize it to suit their taste. Between Pinterest and Youtube you’ll find all the inspiration you need to unleash your creativity, and build something your loved ones are sure to cherish for a long time.

4. Volunteering

Nothing boosts your spirits and makes you feel as great as helping someone in need. Make a new tradition with family or your group of friends and donate a few hours at a local non-profit to help those in need.

 5. Random acts of kindness 

Shovel your neighbour’s driveway, compliment a co-worker’s festive sweater, and offer to help with cooking or baking. You can brighten the holidays by generously giving your time for random acts of kindness.


MNP LTD, a division of MNP LLP, is the largest insolvency practice in Canada. For more than 50 years, our experienced team of Licensed Insolvency Trustees and advisors have been working with individuals to help them recover from times of financial distress and regain control of their finances. With more than 230 Canadian offices from coast-to-coast, MNP helps thousands of Canadians each year who are struggling with an overwhelming amount of debt. Visit to contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee or get a free checkup for your debt health using the MNP Debt Scale.

About the Survey

The survey was compiled by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD between December 7 and 12, 2018. For this survey, a sample of 2,154 Canadians from the Ipsos I-Say panel was interviewed online. The precision of online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the results are accurate to within +/- 2.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all Canadian adults been polled. Credibility intervals are wider among subsets of the population.


Angela Joyce, Media Relations p. 1.403.681.9286 e. [email protected]

Britta Bisig, Media Relations p. 1.604.836.1009 e. [email protected]

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