Black Friday is looming, and the holidays are right around the corner. Christmas shopping and holiday debt can cause significant stress. With a reasonable budget and careful spending, it is possible to avoid the holiday debt trap. If you overspend, getting yourself back on track is possible. In this week’s article, our licensed insolvency trustees will discuss how to manage holiday debt and what to do if you lose control of your debts.


The holidays can be financially and emotionally overwhelming. You are not alone if you find it difficult to manage holiday debt and find yourself overspending each year. A quarter of Canadians reported that financial pressures harm their mental health during the holiday season. The average Canadian will spend $675 extra during the holiday season, and one in three Canadians typically overspend at this time of year. People tend to think of gifts as the cause of holiday debt – and to be sure, gifts are a significant contributor to overspending at this time of year – but the extra expenses for holiday entertaining, such as alcohol and food, are also essential factors. People often don’t budget for those additional expenses like they might for big-ticket gifts. To give you an idea of how much people spend on food, beverages, and gifts over the holidays, look at some statistics our credit counselling service team discussed in our previous holiday debt blog.


  • Managing spending is the best way to avoid debt. The best way to do this is to set boundaries and limits for spending, entertaining, and gift-giving. Here are some of the top tips from our credit counselling service professionals:
  • Set a budget for the holidays, and then stick to it. Statistics suggest that only 40% of Canadians set a budget for holiday spending, and more than 50% of those who do budget for the holiday season end up going over budget.
  • A great way to set a realistic budget is to look at your bank accounts and credit card statements to see your spending over the last year (or save all of your receipts during the holidays this year and total them up at the end of the season). The actual numbers will tell you approximately how much extra you spend over the holidays and how much you should budget for in the future.
  • Start saving in advance. Set aside a small amount each month throughout the year to anticipate your increased holiday spending.
  • Minimize your use of credit cards over the holidays. It is easy to accumulate credit card debt that will carry over into the new year.
  • Talk to family, friends and coworkers about expectations concerning gift-giving. Suggest a Secret Santa or gift exchange with bigger groups, set a dollar limit on gifts, or agree to forego gifts altogether and focus on the time you spend together.
  • Avoid the temptation to buy things simply because they are on sale. Black Friday and Boxing Day sales are challenging to resist, but before purchasing anything, consider whether you really need it or are just buying it because it is a “good deal.”
  • Save all your receipts to return items if you realize you don’t need the thing or have overspent after you get them home.

It is effortless for holiday spending to get out of control. The good news is that there are solutions to managing holiday debt. If your holiday spending puts you in a precarious financial position in the New Year, contact the friendly, knowledgeable team at Fox-Miles & Associates Inc.

Our licenced insolvency trustee offers credit counselling, consumer proposals and personal bankruptcy guidance in Edmonton as part of our debt solution services. You do not have to let your debt grow; there are always other options to get it under control. At Fox-Miles & Associates Inc., we will find the best options for improving your financial situation to relieve stress.

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For credit counselling services and helpful financial advice from compassionate, qualified credit counsellors, call the offices of Fox-Miles & Associates Inc. today at 780-444-3939 to arrange your free consultation.

We provide debt help and credit counselling services in Edmonton and to clients in the surrounding areas, including Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, St. Albert, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Leduc, Hinton and Edson. We can help you avoid holiday debt, and if you are already drowning in holiday debt, Fox-Miles & Associates Inc.’s qualified credit counsellors can guide you back to the shores of financial stability.