At Osoyoos Credit Union, we say together, we’re better.
The current crisis has already caused financial stress for many of us. Unfortunately, it looks set to continue in the near future.
We value you. So we thought we’d lay out some of our best tips for budgeting and planning during the COVID-19 crisis.
Budgeting during a crisis
This advice stands the test of time, so feel free to apply it to any situation in your life that you need to tighten your belt a little.
It’s possible that you’re facing uncertainty about what income you’ll be receiving in the future. Perhaps you’re looking at reduced hours or a pay cut or maybe you’re concerned you might be let go. Whatever your situation, you need to first look at your income compared to your expenses.
Work out your expenses
You need to know where your money is going before you can work out where to make some cuts.
List all the expenses that spring to mind then have a look through your bank statements and receipts to get a complete overview.
If you think you’ll want to keep budgeting into the future, now is a great time to start tracking your expenses. We previously linked to the top expenditure tracking apps in 2020 in our blog about reducing your personal debt.
Cut out the non-essentials
From there, you’ll want to suspend or cancel all your non-essential payments. Consider the gym, subscription payments for TV and music, and any lifestyle choices like food box subscriptions.
You can prioritize these in terms of how much joy they bring into your life and how much time they save you. Cancel or suspend these services in that order.
Cut down on the essentials
Your essential payments can potentially be reduced or deferred.
Speak to your landlord about reducing your rental obligations. If your building is closed, the outgoings may be less, meaning there may be room for adjustment. Similarly, if your landlord is able to take advantage of mortgage deferrals then they’re in a position to negotiate with you.
The answer is always no if you don’t ask.
For food and medication, use some of your extra time to shop around for the best possible pricing. You may need to visit an extra grocery store, but the savings do add up.
Take Advantage of Government Measures
Both Federal and Provincial governments are taking steps to equip Canadians with tools to remain financially secure during the pandemic.
Wage subsidies and work-sharing arrangements can help you keep employees on the books during periods of reduced revenue. While student loan deferrals and deferrals on your taxation obligations ensure you’ll have more money in your pocket now – when it counts.
Take time to familiarize yourself with those measures so you’re in the best position to take advantage of them. You can read more about the Government action against COVID-19 here.
Alternatively, get in touch with us. We can provide individualized advice that considers all your circumstances and let you know which Government programs you might be able to access.
Know when to seek professional financial help
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has outlined that “emotional situations can lead to poor financial decisions”. We’ve seen evidence of this (on a small scale) in the bulk purchasing of supplies like toilet paper.
The FCAC suggests seeking advice and information, as well as consulting their educational resources.
Tailored Financial Planning is best
Getting advice that relates directly to you, your lifestyle, and your circumstances will put you in the best position to weather this crisis.
Our doors aren’t open to the public and we have reduced our hours. But that doesn’t mean we’re not available to help. Our financial planning team remains on hand to provide advice to our members.
We can advise you on budgeting tips, managing your assets during the crisis, and your credit options.
Osoyoos Credit Union is here to help
We’re always on the lookout for creative solutions to financial problems.
COVID-19 has posed some unique challenges for us, as well as for you. As a first step, we’re waiving all monthly service charges for March and April.
We’ve also developed programs for our mortgage members that allow you to reduce or even defer your payments should the need arise.
Finally, we committed to providing our members with access to short term operating funds to support ongoing business activities in circumstances where your revenue has been reduced.
If you find yourself in any of these situations and require further assistance, please reach out to us. We can work together to create a tailored solution that works for you.
A community approach will get us through this crisis – and any that might arise in the future. Osoyoos Credit Union is always committed to generously supporting those in need, but especially now.