5 Tips to Manage Your Finances Through the COVID crisis

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With the deadline for filing your taxes fast approaching, many Canadians are having to come to terms with the negative impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on their personal finances. While it can seem very overwhelming to see the numbers written down in front of you, there are a few different ways you can start to make sense of the chaos we’ve all found ourselves in, and come out the other side with a firmer grasp on where we stand with our money

1. Work out where you stand

At times like this, when the world around has changed unrecognisably, measures we had put in place to make sure we had a safety net to catch us should we face an unknown financial burden may no longer be in the state we had expected them to be in. As the Financial Express correctly states, we need to know where we stand now in order to put ourselves in the best position for future success. While you are collating payslips, receipts and invoices that you have amassed over the past year, now is a great time to re-establish your relationship with your finances, and get a realistic view of how your accounts are currently looking.

2. Accept the present reality, but remain hopeful for the future

It is easy to disheartened about the state of your finances at a time like this, when all our incomings and outgoings are so different to what we’re used to. A great idea from L’Autorité de Marchés Financier to help you feel more in control is to review your spending and re-evaluate your budget. This will help you to keep your spending in line with what you can realistically afford at the moment, and help you to build your finances back up, so they grow nicely for the future. Sensible budgeting now will form the foundation of more stable finances in the years to come, after all, the pandemic won’t last forever - brighter times are on the way!

3. Take the time to rebuild emergency savings

Throughout this year, many of us have drawn on our emergency savings to see us through hard times. Instead of feeling guilty about having had to use these funds, it’s important to be realistic about rebuilding these savings. The Province gives some great advice about this, saying how it is important to adapt your emergency savings budget to your new income to make reaching your new target amount of savings achievable. While few of us are likely to experience a year as unexpected as the one we’ve just been through, having emergency savings is always a good idea. While building them back up to where they were this time last year may seem daunting, remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Just putting away a few dollars every week soon builds up to a sizeable sum.

4. Look into what relief programmes you could be eligible for

Most Canadians have been hit financially this past year - you are not alone by any stretch of the imagination! Consequently, funds have been made available to help people struggling financially. There is a wealth of information available out there to help you figure out what help you could be eligible for, such as on the Canadian Bankers Association’s website. The impact financial problems can have on your mental health can be huge, so a great step in the right direction towards finding your feet financially is making sure you know what help is out there. Just knowing that someone understands how tough things are right now for you can bring a lot of comfort.

5. Use online calculators to begin rebuilding your finances

The number of tools out there to help you work out where you stand with your finances, and what you need to do to help regain financial stability, is massive. Using these calculators is a great idea if you are unsure about how various financial calculations work - simply plug in some numbers you should have to hand, and these calculators rapidly do all the hard work for you. These tools, such as those found at Calculator.me, empower users to feel in control of their finances, often for the first time in months.

As you can see, there are lots of things you can do to help you feel like you have got a better idea of how your finances are looking. It may seem daunting to take on the task of “sorting out” your finances before the looming tax deadline of April 30th, but with these tips you should feel empowered to take back control of your finances and begin planning for a brighter future.