The COVID-19 pandemic has altered many aspects of people’s lives. Whether it’s job loss, sudden isolation, lack of access to financial assistance, or a dip in business, many individuals are facing difficult times and are struggling to keep up.
Here are some tips to help you keep your spending and debt under control in these trying times.
ASSESS YOUR SITUATION TO AVOID A DEBT SPIRAL
First and foremost, it’s crucial to take time to sit down and assess your finances. Find out what your essential expenses are, how much they add up to, and whether you can cover them with whatever savings or income you currently have. Having a clear picture of your finances is invaluable, and making a strict budget is the first step in avoiding a debt spiral. It’s also a good idea to speak to a professional, especially if you feel like credit counselling could help.
LIMIT YOUR ONLINE SHOPPING
With retail stores closed or unsafe, many people are turning to online shopping. While this can be a good way to safely stock up on essentials, it’s very easy to keep adding “just a few things” to your cart. This habit can easily lead to excessive spending, especially since most of those purchases will be made with your credit card. Resist unnecessary add-ons and only order what you need so you don’t get a shock when it’s time to pay your statement balance.
If you miss retail shopping in the real world, get comfortable with “window shopping” online! Make a mood board or Pinterest board to keep you inspired.
CUT NON-ESSENTIAL EXPENSES –SERIOUSLY
It may be tempting to keep your gym membership running, sign up for a monthly subscription box, or to subscribe to every new streaming service there is so the time spend stuck inside goes by a little faster. However, subscriptions and memberships add up quickly, so take the time to eliminate those you don’t need. You can have a streaming service rotation, for instance, or share a membership with your friends and family!
DON’T RELY ON FOOD DELIVERY – IGNORE THOSE INCENTIVES!
With many people working from home, restaurants have had to step up their take-out and delivery game. In addition, food delivery services, which have seen their business flourish these last few months, are offering promotion after promotion, providing further incentive to order in. However, ordering in is very expensive compared to simply cooking your own food, so it’s best not to make a habit of it. You can’t support a local business if you can’t support yourself first!
FIND THE HELP YOU NEED – SPEAK WITH A PROFESSIONAL
Finally, while programs such as the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) help many Canadians stay afloat, not everyone qualifies for it. If this is your case, you may find yourself with unmanageable credit card debt, and it may be time to consult one of the licensed insolvency trustees at D. & A. MacLeod Company Ltd. From credit counselling to consumer proposals, we can help you regain control of your finances.
Contact D. & A. MacLeod Company Ltd today to make an appointment and get started with your first free consultation. We are available by appointment in Ottawa and across Eastern Ontario in Kingston, Pembroke, Brockville, Cornwall, Kanata and Smith Falls.