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Stop Buying Christmas Debt In Exchange For Happiness : The Saturday Weekend Review #293

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Holiday Debt

Eliminate Costs, Reduce Debt, And Increase Happiness This Christmas

For those of you buying into the Christmas Debt extravaganza, you can expect a hefty financial start to the new year.

The holiday debt hangover is real and affects Canadians who can’t afford the holiday they buy into.

Online shopping will be the biggest shopping space for consumers this year with Amazon Canada leading the way.

A rising number of Canadians would rather do their holiday shopping online, whether from the comfort of home or on the go, via mobile: 38% of respondents say they prefer to shop online rather than in-store, up from 30% in our 2014 survey.

Online shopping is especially attractive to younger Canadians: 48% of shoppers aged 18 to 34 would rather shop online, compared with just 24% of those aged 55+.

The main reasons Canadians prefer to shop online?

Free shipping (65%), followed by 24/7 availability (62%), home delivery (61%), and convenience (57%). Canadians are busy people, and they want to shop when and where they want to. Online shopping meets their needs. – 2019 Deloitte Holiday Retail Outlook

Christmas Debt Holiday

Taking a debt holiday over the Christmas season isn’t a bad idea especially when it’s unnecessary to do so.

It’s time that we release the obligation of gift-giving to lessen the stress and burden people feel at Christmas.

The financial pressure of the holidays puts families into debt and for no reason other than societal obligation.

It’s consumers who continue to increase the media frenzy of the holidays and retailers soak it all up.

This time of year is the BIGGEST retail explosion sales and retailers won’t miss catching your dollars.

It’s not uncommon for Canadians to use credit cards to fund Christmas expenses even if they have bad debt.

Consumer Confidence Increases Holiday Spending

You may have received a Christmas bonus from your boss, a raise, or paid off more debt than anticipated this year.

Building confidence is a good thing when it comes to your finances especially if you’re using a budget.

The problem is when you become too confident and the spending trend eats into your happiness.

The vast majority of Canadian shoppers expect to spend the same or more this holiday season—an average of $1,706 on gifts, travel, food, alcohol, and even a little cannabis. – 2019 Deloitte Holiday Retail Outlook

Think about this: Canadians may be spending more than the cost of a monthly mortgage payment or rent for one day.

Roughly half of Canadians plan to entertain at home this holiday season, and most plan to make the meals themselves, at home, from ingredients purchased in-store.- 2019 Deloitte Holiday Retail Outlook

Keeping Up With Christmas Trends

As a parent, it becomes so hard to keep up with other parents who are showering their children with expensive gifts.

I’m not saying that we do but there are parents out there, perhaps yourself who cave and do it so Johnny or Jenny gets what the other kids get.

Your car may need winter tires but you will put that off just to ensure holiday happiness comes before necessity.

Believe it or not but kids get bullied because they don’t have nice clothes, hair-styles, clothes, and gadgets.

The parents know this and they will do anything to try and put their child on the side-lines.

It’s pure madness that we’ve become a world of competition, and it’s just not the kids.

Adults do this often at Christmas having to out-do co-workers, friends, family, or other parents.

No More Gifts In Exchange For Christmas Debt

How many of you feel embarrassed if you don’t give a gift to relatives or co-workers?

Oddly enough, they probably feel the same way because we are essentially giving stuff that people don’t want.

Of all the people who want nothing to do with gift-giving how many of you speak up?

Probably not many of you so you join in so you don’t look like the odd person out.

It’s more of a case of spending money on items to give to someone in which they return the favour.

When in fact, you probably couldn’t afford to do so or could have used that money towards something else.

Ban Unnecessary Gift Giving

Financial Pressure during the holiday season can bankrupt you if you’re not careful.

If you’re already sitting on debt and struggling to pay it back the spiral will continue.

I was watching a video on Facebook Martin Lewis the founder of Money and Mental Health Policy Institute in London, UK.

He believes that Christmas has become a retail festival where it shouldn’t be and he’s right.

It’s time to ban unnecessary Christmas presents- for less cost, less stress and more joy- Martin Lewis


I cannot afford to give presents, as I got big debts to pay towards,thats far more important. I live on my own with a part time min wage.

As adults, in our family, we don’t buy each other presents, but go out for a nice meal instead at Christmas.

Don’t be embarrassed to say I cannot afford it,or feel bad.

People should respect the feelings of those like me and thousands more,who have debts and struggle each week and not make us feel pressured into buying gifts,it only causes more pain.

Everywhere consumers go Christmas is leaking into our wallets and transitions the way we think about the holidays.

Gift giving has turned into a huge drain on finances and burdens consumers into buying what they can’t afford.

It’s not easy to say no to a gift-exchange at work or amongst friends or family when you don’t have the money.

Christmas Gift Expectations Increase

Even if you do have money to splurge on for the holidays why is it so important to do so?

No one cares about how many presents are under your tree when you post that Facebook photo.

Christmas becomes a social trend of showing off what we probably can’t afford and put on credit cards.

That’s ok, it’s not like anyone will know when you go bankrupt.

No, it’s NOT ok.

But, for just that one moment it made everyone happy.

“I want to see my kids happy on Christmas morning”, is not an excuse to spend money you don’t have.

It’s also not an excuse to spend money that you do have because then expectations increase year after year.

One Big Christmas Debt

We bumped into a friend of ours at the mall who was buying stocking stuffers for her kids.

This year her kids are getting one big Christmas gift along with stocking stuffers she told me.

Even so, she struggled to stop buying stuff for her daughter because she just can’t help herself.

Honestly, this is what she told us as if Christmas shopping becomes a high moment for some consumers.

You know when you are exercising hard and get the endorphins going and you feel good.

That’s the only way I can think of equating spending money we don’t have in place of or to garner happiness.

I know that she lost quite a bit of money on bad business investments and custom-built home.

That’s all gone now and they still struggle to pay debts that they incurred in that time-frame.

None of that matters when it’s Christmas or maybe it does but it gets pushed to the back-burner.

Debt Before More Debt This Christmas Season

iphone-11-pro green

She’s not alone, many Canadians live for their next paycheque and hope that they can pay their bills.

Her 15-year-old daughter got a brand new iPhone 11 Pro and her 9-year-old son got a new Laptop for Christmas.

Parents are buying children high-priced items that children could work and save money to buy themselves.

The only way to stop this insanity is to teach our children that Christmas is not about bigger is better.

Related: The Ultimate Guide For Frugal Christmas Festivities

Education Gifts

While waiting to pick up our son one of the parents asked what we were gifting the teachers for Christmas.

This is another unnecessary gift that you don’t need to spend your money on.

How do you give a gift to one teacher when there are so many people that contribute to your child’s education?

Perhaps it’s customary to give only to the teacher but it sure does feel like we are leaving people out of the equation.

  • Classroom Teacher
  • ECE/ Class Helpers
  • Class Helper
  • Nutrition Break Volunteers
  • Music Teacher
  • French Teacher
  • Library Teacher

Some of you probably gift the bus driver, crossing guard, and principle of the school as well.

Where does it end?

Most teachers love their jobs and are there to educate our children and keep them safe.

Do you get gifts from your customers for doing your job?

Perhaps you do but ask yourself why?

Is someone genuinely trying to be nice or are they gifting you something because of social expectations?

A friend of ours who is a teacher says she gets so many gift cards for Christmas and many she re-gifts to others.

Why? She doesn’t use them or does not need them.

For example, she doesn’t drink coffee but gets more Tim Horton’s and Starbucks gift cards than she knows what to do with.

Give To Charity

Holiday Gift Cards Canada Zehrs

Instead of gifting your child’s teachers are there are more than just one, how about donating to a charity instead.

This year we spent $50 on Starbucks gift cards for our son’s teachers because we felt that pressure.

We are keeping the gift cards for ourselves and are sending Oreo Reindeer for the entire class.

Oreo Reindeer Cookies

This will be our way of saying Merry Christmas to everyone.

Of course, we will have our son write a Christmas card to his teachers with lots of holiday stickers.

That’s how easy it is to spread happiness without worrying about Christmas debt.

You don’t have to buy it, just show it.

How To Eliminate Christmas Debt

Staying away from creating Christmas debt may be tough to do but start by planning.

Last year we incorporated a Christmas Reserve Fund into our monthly budget.

This has helped us save money each month so at the end of the year, we would have food, booze, and pantry items for baking covered.

We also have a projected expense set up for Christmas gifts every month.

Once we have the Christmas budget number we divide that by 12 and save that amount every month.

For example: If you plan to spend $300 at Christmas on gifts you should save

  1. Set realistic Christmas expectations
  2. Create a Christmas Budget
  3. Save monthly in your budget excel spreadsheet for projected expenses

There is anything wrong with buying Christmas gifts but consider whether it will meet your financial expectations or exceed them.

If our son wants to buy his teacher a Christmas gift he can do so as he gets older and from his bank account.

For now, we are going to eliminate unnecessary gift-giving and stick to our family Christmas on a budget.

Oh, and when we asked our son what he wanted for Christmas he said, “Nothing, I already have enough”.

Now, that’s my boy!!

Yes, we did buy him a few presents that we picked up on sale throughout the year.

Related: Why We bought Our Toddler Christmas Presents From The Dollar Store

Discussion: How do you feel about banning unnecessary gift-giving and staying away from Christmas Debt?

Share your comments below as I’d love to hear what you have to say. I’ll be sure to respond.

Blog Posts You May Have Missed

Peanut Butter Fatso Balls

Below is a recap of the blog posts I’ve published over the past two weeks so you can catch up on your reading.

Frugal DIY Holiday Decor

Christmas Snowy Mason Jar Craft

I absolutely love Do-it-yourself projects even if it is holiday decor such as these Snowy Mason Jar Luminaries.

Not only do they make inexpensive gifts for those on your Christmas gift list but they fill a room with the essence of the season.


Mr. CBB’s Motivational Corner

Make That Day Be Today

Home and Blog Update

Blog Update

Please Note:

I seem to be having a problem with my email subscription.

If you continue seeing the same blog post title in your email just know when you open the email the blog post is new.

I have engineers working on the problem right now so hopefully, we can get it solved asap.

Thanks for your continued support. 

There has been plenty happening behind the scenes with Sara my blog manager and designer.

She will be unveiling some new stuff shortly and you’ll find page updates as they are implemented.

I can tell you that my Free Downloads page will be password protected but don’t worry if you are already subscribed we will send you that password.

If there is anything you’d like to see changed on the blog or added please message me as soon as possible.

I write this blog for you and your input is very important to me.

Don’t be shy.

Home Update

Last week I hung out with the little guy as his mum went to visit her mum which is overwhelming for him.

We will make our way to see her again before the holidays so we can celebrate a Christmas dinner and opening gifts for her.

While our son is in school we have been getting stuff done such as picking out a few small gifts for the kids.

I am proud to say that all of our Christmas gifts are wrapped and under the tree except for one from Santa coming soon.

I’m not allowed to say what it is but I can tell you it has 4 wheels and costs under $10.

Oh, so I turned the Christmas lights on last week as I was waiting for other’s in the neighbourhood first only to find out half of our large wreath lights are out.

I still haven’t made my way up to look but I’ve only got another week or so before I’m off for 3 weeks so I’ll tackle that then.

That’s all for now. Chat to you all soon.

Happy Holidays.


Saturday Search Term Giggles

Every week I get tens of thousands of people who visit Canadian Budget Binder because they searched online and found my blog.

Yes, I can see your search terms, and sometimes they are funny.

  • Is Food A Financial Hardship?– Well, Ya! If you don’t eat or can’t afford to eat that’s a big deal.
  • Shopping List One Erpson – Haha… Erpson should read a person.
  • Can I be evicted If I don’t pay rent? – What do you think? Hmm…

If you see the acronym (SIC) next to a word that means I’ve copied the text exactly as it was typed in Google and it has spelling errors

That’s all for this week my friends, see you again in 2 weeks for next Saturday Weekend Review!


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