News of the COVID19 (Coronavirus) is simply rampant. It seems as though that is all that anyone can talk about. And, obviously, with good reason! This pandemic has affected us all in many different facets of our daily lives. From health concerns to job security to cash flow issues to concern for our loved ones living both here and abroad, there are not many areas of our lives that have remained untouched by this global threat.
And now, as of today’s date, schools and universities have been closed in several (if not all) provinces. The Canadian government is recalling any Canadians who are currently outside of the country as they are gearing up to close airports and borders. Entire industries such as gyms, restaurants, bars and theaters have been either completely or partially closed down. The repercussions of these measures have a lasting effect on our jobs, job security, and wallets.
These measures are in addition to the suggested self-quarantine restrictions that have been put into place. For employees that are now under self-quarantine, the family income may begin to suffer. The government of Canada is doing what it can in order to relieve the burden on families and individual workers but, in these difficult times, we must also individually take responsible action towards proper budget and financial management.
So, what does that mean exactly? What can we individually do if we have been laid off, quarantined, or are otherwise affected by the current Canadian climate in the wake of the coronavirus? How can we continue towards our paths of financial wellness when our incomes may have been reduced, or when we fear they will be in the near future?
iCASH to the rescue! We have come up with some simple and effective tips for Canadians dealing with the stresses of Covid19 and how to keep a healthy budget, even during these difficult and uncertain times. If you have any additional tips that might be useful, feel free to send us a quick shout by sending an email to [email protected] !
It’s Never Too Soon to Plan and Budget
Many Canadians have jobs that continue to operate, even during this major national shutdown. Obviously, jobs that are on the front lines, such as doctors and nurses, are not currently facing any cut-down hours or layoffs. (In fact, it is probably the exact opposite problem that they are facing.
From everyone here at iCASH, we salute you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the heroic jobs you are doing!) But many other industries, most notably such as restaurant owners, wait-staff, local shop owners and employees, gym employees, airline employees, etc… are being affected in very serious budgetary ways by this pandemic. But with some careful planning and the below TOP 10 budgeting tips, we can definitely stay on the path to financial health!
1. Enroll in automatic payments
Enrolling in automatically debited payments for recurring bills such as your electric bill, telephone bill, credit card bill, etc… is an easy way to avoid paying late fees. Paying for penalties or late fees is a waste of money and yet can be so easily avoided!
2. Make meals
During the coronavirus pandemic, not only is eating at home a great tip to save money, but it is also keeping in line with the government recommendations of staying in. Staying home and social distancing is the best way to “flatten the curve” nationally!
3. Have a budget buddy
Whether single or in a couple, find someone who can keep you on the right spending track. Discuss your goals and vision and try to keep each other from veering too far from your goal.
4. Tighten the belt
When money is a little tight, removing excess (such as unnecessary recurring fees, memberships and subscriptions) is a great way to save a little extra money until things get back on track.
5. Cutting coupons
Ok, so maybe we don’t literally CUT coupons anymore, but with the amount of coupon apps that are free and downloadable, “cutting” coupons is an easy way to save hundreds of dollars per month.
6. Avoid unnecessary stocking up
Yes, we have all seen the toilet paper scrambling. But it is a very unnecessary expense. There is no shortage. And while we may want to stock up on a few staple necessities for “just in case” (such as pasta and cans of soup), we do NOT need to bulk buy and over-purchase.
7. Boost your emergency fund
Ok, we don’t all have a nice, cushiony emergency fund. However, these days, any extra money should wisely be kept safely in a separate account for a “rainy” day.
8. Read budget blogs
There is a myriad of information on how to budget properly. And yes,yes you probably meant to get around to reading them one of these days. But today is a great day to start! iCASH has several great blog articles on budgeting such as:
9. Get a budget app
There are several great apps for helping stick to a budget. Downloading one of them is like having a little budget helper with you everywhere you go and for every dollar you spend.
10. Cheap entertainment
With the entire nation staying home for the next little while, this is the perfect time to find new and inventive (and “cheap”!) ways to entertain yourself. Start journaling or scrapbooking, learn to knit or sew, or binge watch a new show that you never knew existed. These are all great ways to pass the time without breaking the bank!
As you will have noticed, all of these tips involve either increasing savings, or cutting costs (or both!). If you would like a little bit more advice on how to budget, check out this link to a personal budget calculator: https://itools-ioutils.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/BP-PB/budget-planner
What to Spend your Money on During the Coronavirus
There is a certain comfort that comes from having a full supply of “what you need” in any given emergency situation. But what exactly is a “need” in this situation? It is sometimes hard to figure out what is a necessity and we should be spending our money on and what is simply “hype” (ahem, toilet paper!)
So, before you head out on your next shopping trip, make sure to jot down any of the below items that should actually be on your must-have list versus what you can easily do without.
Important Items to Keep On-Hand:
It is important, for obvious reasons, to make sure that you have a full supply of any medications that you need to take on a regular basis. If you are under quarantine or cannot go out, you can contact your local pharmacy to make arrangements for delivery.
2. Other medications
It has been recommended to keep on hand all other types of medications that could be useful should you get sick (ie medications like Tylenol, cough syrup or cough drops, Advil, etc…)
This is especially important for the heads of households (aka cooks in the house!). If you were to fall ill, it would be a good idea to have easy, yet healthy, meals that can be prepared (such as canned soups or dry pasta).
4. Feminine Hygiene products
Doubtful that we need to explain this one. It is just a good idea to make sure you have enough for this month!
5. Diapers and formula
For families with young children, make sure that you have a healthy supply of diapers and baby foods to last you through the next few weeks. (again – no need to hoard though).
In addition to a list of items that are good to keep in full supply, there are also a few things that can be trimmed from the household budget should money become a little tight.
1. Extracurricular activities
While the entire nation comes to a slow crawl, it is important for us to be doing our social duty and following the recommendations of “social distancing”. This applies to extracurricular activities such as sports and organized gatherings..
This is often a HUGE monthly expense for some people. But with the limits placed on restaurants, it might be a good idea to utilize the money generally spent on takeout and fast food and keep it for a rainy day instead.
3. Gas and public transit
While under quarantine or on self-imposed isolation, don’t forget to factor in the amount of money spent on gas and/or public transit into your budget. This could be a significant savings that you did not even realize!
How to Budget if you are Under Quarantine or On Sick Leave
It is possible, in the near future, that you may be put under quarantine or placed on an extended sick leave. This is one of the reasons that following the above-mentioned budgetary changes is simply a good idea (in case!). Here are some tips on what to do if this does happen to you (or you can share these tips if it happens to someone you know!)
The worst part of being quarantined or in isolation is the boredom. But there are tons of things you can do. Binge watch your favorite show on Netflix? Or start watching a new series? Take up a hobby (if you need to buy supplies, you can get them shipped right to you!). Learn a new language on a language app? There are so many ways to pass the time that don’t cost a single thing!
2. Employment Insurance and benefits
The Canadian government has announced some important changes to the regulations for Employment Insurance, as well as other benefits. You can find everything well detailed and explained on the government of Canada website. Make sure to check out everything that you are entitled to in terms of compensation.
3. Work from home
Many employers are being extremely flexible in finding new and creative ways for employees to work from home during these difficult times. Make sure to discuss everything with your employer, you just never know what ideas they may come up with!
These are just a few different ways to help budget during this global pandemic. However, it is possible that even these efforts may not be enough. If you find yourself in an emergency situation, iCASH is always here to help. From the comfort of your home (so still following the government recommendation of staying home!), you can apply safely and securely for a short-term loan. Our loans are offered 100% privately and we never contact your employer. It is an easy and quick way to add a little extra funds to your monthly income.
These are definitely quite uncertain times. But, we Canadians are resilient and innovative! We are able to come together in the most difficult of times and this crisis is definitely no different! iCASH is proud to be a 100% Canadian direct lender. We are here for Canadians in their time of need. If you need any emergency money to get you through the Covid19 crisis, iCASH is here to help! You can reach out to us at iCASH.ca to see how we can help you best!