Brandon Blog Post



Buy Nothing Day Canada is part of an international day of protest against consumerism. In North America, it takes place on the Friday after U.S. Thanksgiving. That is the same day as Black Friday. Elsewhere, it is held on the last Saturday in November.

It is a Canadian invention. Founded in Vancouver by creator Ted Dave in 1992 it was subsequently advertised by Adbusters magazine, based in Canada.

In this Brandon’s Blog, I discuss what effect, if any, Buy Nothing Day Canada has on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday shopping in general. I also provide some tips on how not to go deep into debt from holiday spending.

What is the purpose of Buy Nothing Day Canada?

Buy Nothing Day Canada and worldwide, it is meant as a day for society to take a look at the problem of over-consumption. In 2000, Adbusters tried to purchase advertising time on television to promote Buy Nothing Day Canada and elsewhere were rejected marketing time by nearly all significant TV networks besides CNN.

Notwithstanding, it has become a grassroots movement. Campaigns started showing up in the USA, the United Kingdom, Israel, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, France, Norway and Sweden. Currently, it is held in about 65 countries.

Doubters of the day feel that it merely:

  • shifts people’s buying habits to the next day; or
  • appeals really only to those people who rebel against over-consumerism all year through.

Is it effective?

Based on a recent study, I think Buy Nothing Day Canada is meaningful only to those who already practise a lifestyle against over-consumerism. This study says that Canadians will spend approximately$1,593 per person for the 2019 holiday season. This is a little up from $1,563 (or 1.9 percent) in 2018, according to the same report.

For many years now, there have been reports that say Canadians are over their heads in debt. They are living paycheque to paycheque. On average, Canadian adults are $200 away from financial disaster. I have written several blogs on the topic of Canadian households in debt.

So, from what I can tell, this movement has no effect at all on holiday shoppers.

Must I resort to a buy nothing Christmas?

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over. You may feel you overdid it on your holiday spending last year. Perhaps it put you in a bad place that took a lot of time to get out of. You don’t wish to repeat it going into 2020.

So I have created a holiday spending in Canada tips list to try to assist with your budgeting for the holidays. Ideally, by following my suggestions, you won’t get in the brand-new year with more financial debt that you cannot handle. You will have avoided one of the most typical holiday spending blunders.

By following my tips, you can buy gifts and remain financially healthy without resorting to shopping abstinence.

But first, it all starts with a budget

You don’t need to adhere to a Buy Nothing Day Canada philosophy, but you do have to live within your means. So, the overall key is proper budgeting for holiday spending. It is so vital that you think out your holiday budget before you start spending.

I believe there are 3 major classifications to your Xmas holiday spending plan:

  1. presents;
  2. food and beverage in your home if you are hosting; and
  3. tree and decors.

To begin setting your holiday budget plan, you need to establish 3 separate mini-budgets; one for each item. For gifts, the first thing is to detail out everybody you feel you would like to buy a gift for. After that reduce the list to everyone you really must buy a present for. You may not be able to manage your “desires”, but only your “needs”. The various other classifications will be easier to establish.

Now, check out your regular monthly earnings and expenses as well as any kind of savings you might have designated for holiday costs. This will help you to understand just how much you can afford to spend without going into holiday spending financial debt. Simply figure out the amount you can safely spend.

With that total, you should estimate your spend in the food and drink and tree and decors groups. What you have leftover in total will be your gift spending plan. Nothing is set in stone. If you feel you require to readjust the allowances among the 3 categories, go right ahead. Eventually, you will be left with your present total spending plan.

Now spread out the total gift budget among the people. Your specific amounts need to add up to a number not higher than the total you established as your total gift spending amount. With the budgeting worksheets finalized, it is now time to go shopping!

Holiday spending in Canada tips list

Purchase with objectives – You have determined just how much you can safely spend on each person. Get the best gift possible for each that satisfies your spending budget. Stick to the financial limitations of your gifts. You can now spend more time focussing on the appropriateness of the gift within your budget limitations.

Only spend cash don’t buy on plastic – You will be lured to buy with your charge cards. Using plastic will cause you to overspend due to the fact that you will not feel the purchase. To truly feel it, you must only use cash. When you feel it, you don’t spend beyond your means. You will also stay clear of the nasty shock in January since you won’t get an unmanageable credit card statement. You will feel terrific in both December and January.

Think of a family present to conserve cash – If you feel you will not be able to afford specific gifts, think of people in the very same family and search for a household present. A gift card for the household to go see a movie or a family pass for admission to a tourist site may turn out to be cheaper than the overall cost of separate gifts. Or one thing for their home that you feel all family members will take pleasure in. Look at that option. There are many opportunities for a group gift.

Give an experience, not simply your money – Do not think that the only gift that counts is one that sets you back the money. You have numerous abilities and talents. Probably one or more would certainly make an excellent present. If you cannot think of anything special you can give of yourself to that special someone that would make a wonderful present, how about your time? Think to babysit for nieces or nephews. How about helping out an ageing relative because they can’t go out a lot on their own but have appointments or tasks to get. These can all count as useful presents that won’t cost you anything or much in any way. Your time and enjoying each other’s company are much more valuable than any gift you would buy in the mall or online.

Think outside the gift box – If you do not have a box of ornaments from years past to use, think artistically. The accessories bought at a Dollar Store will look just as good on your tree as ones bought at a more expensive specialty shop. Or, use your own imagination to make your own. If you aren’t sure where to start, look online. There are many video clips to reveal step-by-step how to make terrific looking ornaments that don’t cost too much for materials. Your creativity and labour, of course, is cost-free.


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buy nothing day canada

By Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith is a licensed insolvency trustee and Senior Vice-President of Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. The firm deals with both individuals and companies facing financial challenges in restructuring, consumer proposals, proposals, receivership and bankruptcy.

They are known for not only their skills in dealing with practical solutions for individuals and companies facing financial challenges, but also for producing results for their clients with realistic choices for practical decision-making. The stress is removed and their clients feel back in control. They do get through their financial challenges and are able to start over, gaining back their former quality of life.

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