Have you heard about Government of Canada’s New COVID-19 Benefits

Many Canadian workers have missed work and pay due to COVID-19 can now apply for three new benefits from the Canadian Government. 

Families and individuals who are facing financial difficulty can now get support through the following benefits that are available through Canada Revenue Agency (CRA):

  • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) 
  • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB).
  • Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

Applications for CRSB, CRCB, and CRB applications are now open.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

Workers who are sick or must self-isolate for COVID-19-related reasons, or have underlying conditions that make them more susceptible to COVID-19 can apply for CRSB.

If you are eligible for the CRSB, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for each 1-week period. Check your eligibility here – https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-sickness-benefit/crsb-who-apply.html

Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB)

Caregivers who need to care for a child(ren) under 12 years old who is affected by the illness or if their school, regular program, or facility is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 is eligible for CRB. This also applies to other family members requiring supervised care, who cannot attend regular care facilities because of COVID-19, can apply for CRSB.

If you’re eligible for the CRCB, your household can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for each 1-week period. Check eligibility here Read more here https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-caregiving-benefit.html

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

There is also assistance for self-employed workers who are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) and still require income support. These workers must be available and looking for work and accept work when it is reasonable to do so.

If you are eligible for the CRB, you can receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) for a 2-week period. Check eligibility here https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-benefit.html

Canadians can apply for these benefits online through CRA’s My Account or call 1-800-959-8281.

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How to Prepare for the end of Debt Holiday

The pandemic made it tough for thousands of Canadians to keep up with their bills, especially the high-interest consumer debt. A debt holiday was put in place on consumer debt and mortgages helping Canadians handle the daily cost of living without worrying about excessive debts.

Now that the country and even the world are coming back together and things are opening up, the debt holiday is nearing its ends. This means many bills will be due again – but how do you prepare for such a change in your finances?

Check out the tips below.

Negotiate a Payment Plan

Before your deferment plans end, contact your creditors. Don’t wait until the plan expires and then try to work something out. At that point it’s too late, your payments will be due and if you don’t pay them, it will hurt your credit.

Call your creditors long before it ends and ask about your options. Let them know your financial situation, whether you’re furloughed, not working, or working but trying to catch up. Most creditors will work with you, helping you figure out an affordable plan. Creditors would rather make a plan and receive the full payment than put you at risk of defaulting altogether.

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How to Budget Single Family Income

Has the pandemic brought your family down to a single income? With more than a million jobs lost in Canada, many families are in the same boat. Whether you were laid off or were required to stay home with your children who couldn’t go to school or daycare, it’s important to know how to budget your single family income.
 
Even if you collect unemployment, for now, it may not last. Just in case, consider the following ways to budget your single family income.
 
Make Cuts
 
It’s not a pleasant thought, but you must cut expenses. Get creative here. For example, if you cut cable, can you afford to replace it with a streaming service? Netflix, for example, costs a fraction of standard cable services. See if you can work it into your budget so you don’t feel like you’re sacrificing too much.
 
Think of other places you can cut, such as:
 
·       Eating out
·       Entertainment
·       Grocery store (shop sales and clip coupons)
·       Household goods (shop sales or comparison shop online)
 
Redo your Budget
 
Take an honest look at your budget. Where do you spend? If you can’t cut in certain categories, where does that leave you each month?
 
Think about saving for an emergency fund and retirement. Both should remain line items on your budget even when you’ve gone down to one income.
 

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Stores are Open – Reign in your Spending

Life is trying to get back to normal. As the COVID-19 numbers drop, more retail stores are reopening, which is a great sign for our economy, but may not be as good for your pocketbook. Try to avoid getting caught up in the excitement of things getting back to ‘normal,’ and be mindful of your spending.

Before you shop, ask yourself the following questions.

Is this an Impulse Buy?

Are you shopping with a list? If you are, is the item you’re holding or that you ‘need to buy’ on your list? If not, it’s an impulse buy. Even if you don’t have a list, but you look at things you don’t need or didn’t intend to buy; it’s an impulse buy.

Rather than buying without thinking, give yourself 48 hours. Leave the store or close your web browser without buying the product. After 48 hours, if you’re still thinking about the item, maybe it’s something worth buying. Chances are though, if it was an impulse buy, you won’t even think about it again.

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Master These Budgeting Skills to Succeed in Life

What do you think about when you hear the word budget? Does it send shivers down your spine? Do you immediately think of sacrifice and feeling restricted?

What if mastering budgeting skills could help you win at life? What if it could help you feel more at ease and have more freedom?

If you’re ready to win at your finances, check out the top budgeting skills you need below.

Record your Spending using a Paper or Electronic Transaction Register

You won’t know how much you have each month unless you track what is coming in and going out.  It also helps keep you accountable. You’ll know when bills are due and what you owe. You’ll also know if you’re close to over-drafting your accounts and how much money you can save for emergencies or retirement.

Keep Track of Irregular Expenses

Even if you’re great at tracking your regular monthly expenses – those pesky irregular expenses can get you. Rather than letting them sneak up on you, write out all irregular expenses for the year. Think of expenses like Christmas spending, real estate taxes, annual insurance premiums, and home repairs.

Estimate the total cost of your irregular expenses and divide the total by 12 months. Put away at least this amount each month so that when the expenses come up, you’ll have the funds to pay it.

Get Good at Finding Deals

Shopping is a necessity, but you don’t have to overspend. Know when to buy products that you need, such as linens, clothing, appliances, furniture, mattresses, and cars. Time your purchases during the times these items are priced the lowest.

For example, furniture is usually the cheapest at the end of summer and end of winter; clothing is cheapest at the end of each season, and mattresses go on sale around each major holiday.

Shop with Lists

Shopping without a list, especially grocery shopping can be dangerous. Planning saves you money and stops you from buying things you don’t need.

Before you shop, create a meal plan for the week. Know what you’ll make for all meals and snacks. Plan your meals around the sales and/or coupons you have. If staple items you use often are on sale, stock up on them so you don’t have to pay regular price when you run out. 

Avoid Impulse Buying

Impulse buying can send even the most thought out budget out the window. When something catches your eye, walk away from it. Give yourself 48 hours to think about it. If the item is still on your mind after 48 hours, consider the purchase, but do your research. Can you find it cheaper? Will there be a sale? Can you find a coupon?

Mastering these simple budgeting skills will help you stay on track financially. You’ll know when funds are low and you’ll see where you can cut back or make changes. Staying flexible and adaptable throughout the process will help you feel less restricted and even make you feel like you have more freedom to do what you want. 

How to Cut your Expenses to Stretch your Budget

Money may have become tighter for more and more families. Whether you’ve gone through your savings already or you’re worried about what is yet to come, it’s important to know where you can cut your expenses to save money right now.

While each family has different expenses and areas they can cut, we share some of our top tips to cut your expenses below.

Trim the Entertainment

Yes, we are all bored sitting at home, but there’s no reason to go overboard right now. Entertainment is probably one of the easiest areas to cut in your life. Consider cutting:

  • Subscriptions – How many subscriptions do you have? Do you use them, especially right now? Cutting your monthly subscriptions could save you significant money right now.
  • Movie streaming services – How many streaming services do you need? Can you cut it down to one main service that has most of what you need? 
  • Shopping – While we can’t go to many of our favorite stores, online shopping can be just as dangerous, if not worse. Shopping when you’re bored can lead to excessive and needless spending.

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Don’t Let the Pandemic Cause Financial Anxiety

The whole world is in panic mode right now as we all work through the pandemic of the coronavirus. Whether you’ve had the illness, are out of a job, or your hours were cut, there’s no doubting that it’s scary times, right now, but that doesn’t mean you should panic. We will get through this and when we do, you want to feel good about how you handled your personal and financial life.

So what should you do to get through this time? Check out our top tips below.

Don’t Make Hasty Decisions

It’s important to stop and take a deep breath. When the worry settles in, relax. This isn’t going to last forever. In the meantime, seek advice if you’re worried. Take this time to make a budget and see where you stand. What do you need help with and where can you get it? 

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Creditaid Operational Update – Yes, We’re Open – COVID-2019

To our valued clients,

UPDATE: April 2, 2020 – In response to the Government of Manitoba’s public health order and for the safety of our clients and staff, we have closed our office for in-person payments and appointments. Our team can be reached during regular business hours by phone at 204-987-6890, by email reception@creditaid.ca or chat with us online at creditaid.ca.

UPDATE: March 22, 2020 – In light of the recent changes by the Government of Manitoba, please do not come to our office if you have any of the following:
– feeling sick
– have been out of the country
– have had close contact with someone who has returned from an international trip

Our team members continue to be available to help you with any questions by phone and email. Please email reception@creditaid.ca as this email will be monitored each business day.

Additionally, we do have protocols in place to keep you and our staff safe, including social distancing, when you come to make a payment in-person. However, to minimize interaction, we strongly encourage you to send in your payments via bill payment through your financial institution. Note that it takes 1 to 3 business days for an online bill payment to get processed.

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With the concerns here in Manitoba and abroad about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around the world, we want to update you about what Creditaid is doing in response to this health concern.

First, we want to emphasize Creditaid remains open for business. We are fully operational and have taken steps to ensure we will be able to continue to carry out our work for you under changing circumstances.
We have taken precautionary measures to ensure the health and well being of our clients, team members, and families.

Creditaid has also increased its cleaning protocols in our office to ensure a safe environment for our team members and clients. In addition, to limit the potential impact of COVID-19, Creditaid is also requesting any staff showing symptoms, or who have reason to believe they have been exposed to the virus to self isolate for 14 days.
We are monitoring communications from Health Canada and the Province of Manitoba closely, and we are prepared to respond to the rapidly changing nature of this pandemic. Should the need arise, some team members are able to work remotely, supported by our IT infrastructure. Your information will remain confidential and secure on our servers.


Our team members continue to be available to connect with you by phone and email, or at this time, in person. We ask that you direct your inquires to reception@creditaid.ca as this email will be monitored each business day.


If you normally make your payments in our office, we are suggesting that you make plans to send in your payments via bill payment through your financial institution. Please be aware that it can take 1 to 3 business days for an online bill payment to get processed. If you do require to make payments in-house, our office will be open to take payments by Interac (debit), which is the preferred in-house method, or by cash (exact change only). We do not accept personal cheques.


If you have questions, concerns or require more information on payment options, please do contact our office for assistance.

Creating a Spending Plan to Get out of Debt in 2020

If any part of your New Year’s resolutions has to do with money, you’re in good company. So many people say they want to get their finances straight and get out of debt. But, there’s a difference between saying and acting it. Are you ready to put your words into action? Check out the simple tips to get started below.

Review Your Existing Financial Situation

First, you don’t know what you need to improve until you know your financial situation. Sit down with the last 12 months’ of bank statements. Go through each statement carefully, adding up your income and expenses for each month.

Do you see any trends as you tally up your totals? Do you find that you go over budget often – spending more than you make? That right, there could be a reason for your debt. Now, take out your credit card statements – again, looking at the last 12 months of statements. What do you notice? Did you buy things you didn’t need? Did you make minimum payments rather than paying your debts off in full? Take note of each of these habits as we move onto the next step.

Figure Out What’s Important to You

Now it’s time to think about what’s important to you. After you’ve looked at your statements, you know where your money went. How much of it resonates with you, and how much of it makes you frustrated that you spent your money that way?

This is a great place to start as you figure out what’s important to you. Creating a spending plan shouldn’t be about sacrificing or feeling like you can’t do anything. It should be a good balance between fixed expenses, variable expenses, saving, and giving. Knowing what’s important to you and what you aren’t willing to give up is a big part of the puzzle.

Create a Budget That Includes Debt Reduction Plans

Once you know where you stand, it’s time to create a budget. Don’t let that be the dreaded ‘b’ word in your life. Creating a plan gives your money a job or a purpose. Would you get up out of bed every day without a plan? You might, but it would be a lot harder to be productive, right? The same is true for your money. You know how much you earn, now figure out how best to spend it.

Once you create your budget, put it on paper. Make sure you are flexible, though. Don’t assume the first plan you set will solve all of your problems. You may have success in the first month, or you may find that you have to make some adjustments, and that’s okay. It’s about awareness, flexibility, and taking the steps necessary to put your plan in place.

Are you ready to get yourself out of debt in 2020? If it’s more than about debt consolidation and more about debt elimination, we’re here to help. Call Creditaid at 204-987-6890 or email info@creditaid.ca for a FREE debt consultation. We’ll help you see where you stand, what you need to do, and how soon you can say that you, too, are debt-free.