Make it last

Since the pandemic lockdown began, many Canadians have lost their job and face their bills with little or no savings.

Last week, employment insurance cheques, GST credit, and CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) payments appeared in bank accounts.

Most recipients will use that many to catch up on rent and other bills and squirrel away the rest. But there will always be those who don’t plan for the rainy day and spend it all the day it comes in. As a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, administering consumer bankruptcies and proposals, I can attest to that.

The pandemic has forced everyone to look at our income and expenses. When the money wasn’t there to pay basic living, everyone determined their priorities. The needs took over. We learned that if we are forced to live below our means, while not easy, we could survive. This is a lesson we need to remember long after COVID-19 has passed.

If you’re heeding Stephen McNeil’s admonition to “Stay the blazes home,” impulse spending is gone. We are hunkered down at home with loved ones, working from laptops, zooming with friends, learning how to teach Grade 4 to our children, baking cinnamon buns or sewing protective masks.  

We are not on our way to work grabbing a latte, meeting friends for dinners, going to theater or headed to the shopping malls for clothes. Impulse spending is almost eradicated. It’s a perfect time to save the money that you would have otherwise spent on wants and focus on the more important things. 

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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