Is Your Gas Tank Bigger Than Your Cheque?

Budgeting for Increased Gas Prices

Inflation has hit almost every aspect of our lives, especially at the gas pump. When gas prices are high, it can make it harder to afford other essential costs, such as housing, utilities, minimum credit card payments, and groceries.

Since gas is necessary unless you can take public transportation, it helps to understand how you can save money at the pump.

Here are 5 great ways.

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Non-Cash Financial Help Options – Helping your Family without Giving them Cash

Helping Your Family with Debt

If you have family members in trouble financially, you may want to help them, but giving them cash may not feel right. If you’re worried your family members will just squander away the money you give them, here are 5 non-cash ways to help family members with financial troubles.

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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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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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Consider This When Preparing your Tax Returns During a Pandemic

Tax Time Savings

If you’re used to getting a large tax refund at tax time, you may be surprised to see this year’s return. Many taxpayers aren’t getting the refund they’re used to, and millions aren’t getting a return at all.

To maximize your tax refund, make sure your taxes include these deductions, if applicable to your situation.

Home Office Expenses

If you worked from home in 2020 as an employee, you may write off some expenses incurred. If you’ve never claimed a home office expense before, you have two options:

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Distinguish Between Needs vs. Wants

A proper budget makes room for needs and wants. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to differentiate between the two. It can be subjective, but certain things are clear-cut and easy to determine.

So how do you tell? Let’s look at the basic definition of each.

What are Needs?

Needs are items you must have to survive. Clothes, food, proper healthcare, and transportation – those are needs. You can’t live without them, and these apply to everyone.

Other needs may be more individualized. For example, one person may NEED dental insurance because they have extensive dental issues, while another person may only go to the dentist for routine cleanings twice a year and may not consider dental insurance a need.

Write down the things you NEED in your life. If you didn’t have one, it would make it hard to survive or cause financial destruction.

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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 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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Calculating Multiple Streams of Income

The following article originally appeared in the Manitoba Teachers’ Society Balance Wellness Magazine.

march18_balance

In today’s world, there are many of us that have what I will call multiple streams of income.  This can come from different sources, such as two or three part-time jobs versus one full-time job.  It can include a second job throughout the summer months, a side business or a combination of receiving a pension and working part-time.
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Does Consumer Obsession Lead Us to Over Spending

The desire to “keep up with the Jones’s” has become more than a social status issue for many people.

Also, it is effortless to get caught up in a holiday season.

creditaid-overspendingIt has become a catalyst for overspending that has consumers running to banks and other lenders looking for ways to finance their purchases.

This issue also has countless consumers loaded up with credit card debt so steep it may take them a lifetime to get out of it.Give your financial literacy a good double-check, and if you are not already practicing the following financial practices, now is a great time to start today:

Pay bills on time and balance your cheque book each month. You can’t know how much you can afford to spend if you don’t know how much you currently have to spend.

Stop buying on impulse. If you want something, rather than charging it on your credit card and paying interest, save for the next few month and buy it when you have the money.
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