Over 40 Per Cent Of Canadians Anticipate Feelings Of Anxiety And Regret Over Holiday-Spending Bills

2018-12-21   minute read

Grant Bazian

MNP Consumer Debt Index

Canadians 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 (21%) or line of credit (15%)
  • Borrowing money they can’t afford to pay back quickly (14%)
  • Making a major purchase on credit without paying it off right away (12%)
  • Buying something on credit that requires no payments for a while (9%)

CALGARY, AB – As the shopping rush reaches peak intensity before the holidays, a Canadian debt expert is warning Canadians 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.

A stack of gift boxes

“Pressure mounts right before the holidays and that’s when people are most tempted to borrow money from a payday lender or really overextend themselves on credit cards. The extremely high interest rates on these types of credit can trap them in a cycle of debt that will be impossible to get out of,” says Grant Bazian, President at MNP Ltd., the country’s largest personal insolvency practice.

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 (9%) said they have bought something on credit that requires no payments for a while.

“We’re bombarded by a flurry of sales and ‘buy now, pay later’ offers but what might seem like a small purchase or look like a great deal on Boxing Day isn’t really a bargain if you end up carrying them on credit,” says Bazian.

Two in ten Canadians (21%) admit to only paying the minimum balance on their credit card or line of credit (15%). Twelve per cent say they have made a major purchase on credit without paying it off right away. About the same number (14%) say they borrowed money they can’t afford to pay back quickly. Six per cent admit they have even used their home-equity line of credit to buy things they want but don’t need.

“If you absolutely have to borrow or use credit cards, it’s important to fully understand the true cost of that debt. Add the potential interest accrued to the sticker price of the item you want and suddenly that ‘deal’ becomes far less enticing,” says Bazian.

Come January, Canadians anticipate feeling the effects of a credit hangover. Last year, four in ten (43%) felt anxiety over the arrival of holiday-spending bills, and regret over how much they spent (41%). However, nearly half (47%) say they made it their New Year’s resolution to get their finances back on track.

“Don’t wait for the New Year to resolve to do better. Make a plan to tackle debt repayment obligations right away and seek professional advice if holiday and other accumulated debts are overwhelming. Most importantly, make a conscious effort to shop thoughtfully and spend less. The holidays are more about your presence than the presents,” advises Bazian.

With the holiday spirt 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
  2. 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.

  3. A heartfelt ‘thank you’
  4. 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.

  5. Thoughtful homemade gifts
  6. 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.

  7. Volunteering
  8. 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.

  9. Random acts of kindness 
  10. 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 www.MNPdebt.ca 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.

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