Back to School on a Budget

It’s that time again, can you hear the bells ringing? That’s right, it’s time to head back to school. This year more than most represents a return to the familiar after the last two years of uncertainty and continually changing requirements.

School brings with it the need for new in the form of supplies and clothing which can really add up and stretch your budget to the max. With the proper planning, going back to school doesn’t have to cost a fortune as retailers understand and offer some great deals to help you save. You’re probably wondering how you can possibly navigate all these sales and take advantage of savings without getting pulled into buying what you don’t need while wondering how you are going to afford it all.

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How to Manage Debt with Inflation on the Rise

Debt Management with Inflation

You’ve likely felt the effects of inflation already. Your grocery and gas bill probably felt it first. Suddenly it costs a lot more to feed the family or fill your gas tank, but these are things we need so we have to adjust elsewhere, right?

One area many people struggle is managing debt during inflation. If your wages don’t keep pace with inflation (most don’t), then keeping up with your debts may feel impossible.

Here are a few ways to help you manage debt with inflation rising.

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Keeping your Financial Goals

Financial Goals

Setting financial goals sounds great when you say them, but what about achieving them? If you don’t know how to execute the steps to reach your goals, they are just words. Whether you’ve fallen into the ‘New Year’s Resolution’ trap, or you are turning over a new leaf, here are X simple ways to keep your financial goals.

Make your Goals Achievable

It doesn’t do any good to set goals you can’t achieve. Instead, set goals you know you can hit. Even if that means setting baby-step goals so you can see your progress, do it. Just make sure each goal can be measured.

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You can Conquer your Debt

Conquer Your Debt

If you’re sitting on a lot of debt right now, first know that you aren’t alone. The pandemic wreaked havoc on most people’s finances. Now that we’re seeing life get back to somewhat normal, you may wonder what you should do with your debt or if it will just hound you the rest of your life.

The good news is there are ways to conquer it. Here’s what you can do.

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Understanding the Millennial Wage Gap

Millennial Wage Gap

The millennial wage gap is a real problem for those ages 25 – 40. Not only do they make 20% less than Baby Boomers at their age, but they also have fewer consistent paychecks because of the Recession of 2007 and now the pandemic. With more people freelancing, regular paychecks feel like a thing of the past for most millennials.

The largest issue this causes for millennials is a delay in homeownership, aka achieving the American Dream. With lower wages, higher debt, and less consistent paychecks, only 42 percent of millennials own a home by age 30 versus 48 percent of Gen Xers and 51 percent of Baby Boomers.

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Why you Need to Record your Spending

Does tracking your spending sound about as fun as going to the dentist? We get it. But just like the dentist is important for your oral health, tracking your spending is important for your financial health.

Obviously recording your spending identifies where you overspend, but there are plenty of other reasons too.

Creates Accountability

You can say you want to save for specific goals all you want, but if you don’t do it, you’ll never reach your goals.

Recording your spending provides visualization of where your money goes. You can see ‘gosh I spent $50 eating out and now I can’t save for my XYZ goal.’ That accountability is HUGE when you’re trying to meet financial goals.

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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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