There have been many financial changes due to COVID-19 that can cause greater anxiety and stress, especially around personal finances. Some are experiencing reduced hours. Parents may be scrambling for childcare if school classes are cancelled – even briefly – or children need supervision to work virtually. Stocking up on food staples and supplies can strain budgets.
These tips give away to review your personal finances and help you to put plans in place for the weeks’ months ahead.
- Review your household budget
- If you have experienced a decrease in your monthly income, reviewing your budget can help you identify any expenses that you can cut down or cut out-even temporarily.
- Avoid overbuying or stockpiling supplies. Plan to shop to have enough, but don’t overspend.
- Pay priority expenses
- Always pay housing expenses first – rent/mortgage, utilities.
- If you are experiencing difficulties in making these payments, contact your bank or utility company as they may have payment options available to help ease the stress of paying those bills.
- Have a plan for managing your debt
- Debts for credit cards, car loans and student loans are all different, but many companies are offering debt servicing solutions in these uncertain times.
- Consider contacting a free, non-profit credit counselling service such as https://creditcounsellingcanada.ca/ to assist you in putting a plan in place. These services can discuss options to continue to make payments to keep your credit score in good standing.
- Consider ways to bring more money into your household
- If you’re unemployed, had your income reduced or worry about job security, consider how to supplement your income while you look for a full-time job. Taking a more junior position can get your foot in the door to future potential. Some jobs like customer service may allow you to work remotely, reducing your expenses for travel, work clothing etc.
- You may have skills that could allow you to freelance or take on contract work. Challenging yourself and understanding your skillset is a creative way to determine ways to earn extra income.
- Stay up to date on changing resources available to you
- The Government of Canada has updated its assistance programs now that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit has ended. Go to https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2020/08/supporting-canadians-through-the-next-phase-of-the-economy-re-opening-increased-access-to-ei-and-recovery-benefits.html#anch1 to determine if you are eligible for the new Canada Recovery Benefit while you continue to job search.
- Don’t stop saving
- Many individuals have no savings to fall back on. If possible, put aside a small amount of money each pay period – whether through income or assistance benefits – to decrease financial stress and uncertainty.
- If working, check with your employer about increasing the amount of income tax you pay each pay period to reduce the amount of income tax you pay annually.
By taking any action on these steps, you are working on improving your financial wellness, minimizing your stress and anxiety and positively impacting your mental wellness as well. Focus on steps you can take and what you can control.
Register to take part in the online workshop hosted by Job Skills on Oct 27th. The presentation by BDO will be discussing ‘Financial Wellness: Credit Cards’ to provide details on how credit cards work and how to avoid getting into financial trouble.
Job Skills has more than 40 online workshops that will assist you in your career exploration and job search situation. Watch for the dates and times to register for our online workshops, and take a look at the Resources and Useful links section on our website to see what else is available to assist you!