In debt? Buy nothing on Black Friday

2017-11-24   minute read

Grant Bazian

MNP Consumer Debt Index

As retailers across the country advertise massive discounts to woo shoppers through their doors on Black Friday, millions of Canadians are preparing to paint their pocketbooks red with debt. Often billed as the unofficial kick-off to the holiday shopping season, Black Friday is now the most profitable day of the year for Canadian retailers. However, anyone wanting to take advantage of big markdowns is warned they are being lulled into a false sense of security. Not only are consumers more likely to make impulse purchases they otherwise wouldn’t, but racking up credit card debt means most will pay the difference and more in steep interest costs over the long term.

Unsurprisingly, a recent poll conducted by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD reveals 45% of Canadians say their financial situation is the worst around the holidays. Much of this owes to the illusion of great deals and must-have items advertised on Black Friday — many which will never see the bottom of a Christmas tree. Optimistically, nearly two in three (61%) expect to cut back on spending this year; perhaps hoping to offset existing debt levels which have reached historic highs in recent months.

A stack of gift boxes

Black Friday sales prey on our most basic impulses — to have things, to maximize value and to measure up to our peers. Yet, they rarely deliver on that promise. But the advertisements, big window signs, limited stock and bold price reduction stickers are all cleverly designed to inundate our awareness so we don’t have time to think twice. Either we grab that shiny gadget now now or the person standing behind us will. The regret doesn’t come until that first credit card statement arrives and by then its too late.

But there is a way to avoid it. Say no to Black Friday this year. Instead, take part in Buy Nothing Day. Avoid the chaotic and frantic shopping centres altogether. Use that time instead to truly consider what kinds of gifts you want to give this year. Spend time with family, draw out a holiday budget, separate your wants from your needs and think of ways you can do more with less. Remember, the best bargain is not spending anything at all.

About MNP Debt

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 collaboratively with individuals to help them recover from times of financial distress and regain control of their finances. With more than 200 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.

About the Poll

The data was compiled by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD between September 18th to September 21st, 2017. For this survey, a sample of 2,005 Canadians aged 18+ from Ipsos’ online panel was interviewed online. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects the overall population according to census information. The precision of online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the results are accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. This represents the second wave of the MNP Consumer Debt Index.

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