START TRACKING YOUR SPEND
Get to know where you spend, how it makes you feel and what really matters when it comes to your money!
Let's stop pretending that being good at money means you need to be good at math. Instead, let's listen to our body and our mind.
Everyone across the world is currently drudging through uncharted territory because of COVID-19. And honestly, the information available about the current economy and otherwise is overwhelming.
I feel like I’m continually flooded with data and statistics that terrify me, and it’s become a lot to manage. More than anything, the only type of data I need right now is how to be proactive in a period of uncertainty – and it seems that’s sometimes difficult to find.
Many people are facing severe financial instability with job loss or a decrease in work and wages. Some of us are fortunate enough to continue to earn and work from the safety of our own homes. Regardless of what situation you face, it’s always good to prepare and be aware of what your options are and how you can manage what is within your control.
First of all, I’m so sorry. I know how scary it can be to see debt pile up and feel without control about your future. Above anything, please remind yourself that you cannot change what has happened with your financial situation. If you don’t have an emergency fund, you’re not alone. Most people don’t, and any loss of income can be extremely stressful. You didn’t do anything wrong.
First things first, if you’ve lost your job, check what type of financial support is available through government funding. Find out whether or not you qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). To find out more information about which one better suits your current situation, check the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website to learn about application requirements. You can only receive one of these benefits at a time. If you have already applied for EI, you do not need to apply for the CERB. Both are currently accepting applications.
If you are curious about additional funding or support, my good friend Preet Banerjee has created a calculator that can estimate potential government benefits available.
Once you’ve looked into what financial options are available, it’s time to look at your current monthly expenses. First, it’s crucial to list your fixed expenses and essential costs, such as housing, food and utilities. Will the funding be enough to cover those expenses? If not, consider looking into options regarding mortgage deferral or discussing a payment plan with your landlord for the next few months.
If you are a renter and you’re not sure how to ask, here is a template you can use.
From there, it’s time to cut back on non-essential expenses as soon as possible. Unfortunately, now is not the time to be doing any online shopping. The bright side? There aren’t many other non-essential items that are easy to access. Consider your self-isolation the best thing to happen to your financial situation.
If possible, try to find additional income, whether it be through a hobby that could turn into a stream of income or part-time work shovelling your elderly neighbour’s sidewalk. Because yes, among all of this chaos, it, for some reason, will not stop snowing. Thanks, mother nature.
Your current situation is not forever. Do your best to stay afloat until more jobs are available.
If you’re one of the people fortunate enough to have a job during this economic downturn, still consider preparing for a situation in which you are no longer so lucky. Now is a great time to beef up or start an emergency fund. It might be a good idea to divert some savings goals – that you potentially had going for a vacation that is likely cancelled or postponed — into a high-interest savings account that is easily accessible.
Before you help any other small businesses or struggling friends and family members, it is not selfish to set yourself up for the long-term with so much uncertainty floating around. Although your company may be doing okay right now, if this pattern continues for four to six more months, things might change.
If you’ve already done your part to create an emergency fund and put away enough to pay all of your fixed expenses (and then some) for at least six months, supporting those in need is a great way to help others who aren’t financially secure.
I’ve chosen to beef up my emergency fund for an additional two months of security and decided to keep my investing habits the same as they were pre-pandemic. As someone who is very conservative with my money, it feels more important to maintain a routine and do my best to stay the course.
It’s okay to be scared, and it’s okay to worry. It’s also okay to “be extra” and do more than you usually would to feel comfortable financially.
As we all experience this problematic time day by day, comfort is knowing that everyone is facing their own challenges and struggles. The best thing you can do above anything else is to be there for each other, be kind to strangers, and stay home.
Oh no, you missed the live webinar! But, good news: Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a resource for anyone planning for a future child or family.
Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone looking to cut back on non-essential spending. My most-requested product is these monthly calendars to share on your Instagram story, use as a phone background, or print off to track your spending habits.