How to Manage Your Money During a Strike?
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Bromwich+Smith Staff | 987 words | Reading Time: 5 minutes | Date: 2023/05/01
For some, the news of a workers union voting to strike has little impact on their day to day life. You may choose to visit another store, hold off on securing a service or wait it out and see what happens. For some, a strike can be a time full of stress. Take for example the ongoing strike action from federal Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) workers. Many Canadians are worried about when they will receive their tax refunds, or if there will be a delay to their benefits. We do not have the answers to those questions and recommend visiting https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/collective-agreements/collective-bargaining/labour-disruptions.html
For the most up to date information. For those workers involved in the strike action there is often little to no prep time to plan and set aside emergency funds. These workers are likely worried about how to manage their finances in such an unpredictable time. Let’s look at some easy to follow tips to help manage a reduction in income.
Know your budget
We often talk about budgeting basics, and if your income has been reduced due to a strike, reduced hours, or a layoff the first step to set up your finances are to revaluate your budget. You may already have a budget in place and if so its time to review and make some changes. If you do not have a budget, that’s ok too. Theres no time like the present to start healthy financial habits. Understand your total household income. This will include your partners income, strike pay, regular benefits including GST, CBC, Pensions etc, Alimony or child support etc.
Now that you know what income is coming in, track your spending and know where you are spending it and what can be cut back. Now is the time to make cuts and reduce extravagant spending. One plus side is that you may not miss these expenditures and decide not to reincorporate them into your budget once your income has gone back up.
If you have put money into an emergency savings account, now is the time to use those savings. You can pay back into the account when your finances are stable again. This is the emergency you have been saving up for and it is ok to use those funds.
Cut back expenses
Once you know how much your income has been reduced, you need to make the same reduction to your expenses. These cut backs do not need to be a forever cut back, but it does need to happen in order to help you through these financially difficult times. If you are not able to cut back now, you will likely end up incurring more debt which will be more difficult to pay off later. Lets get you on track today so that you can focus on your family and household, and not on how you are going to pay your bills.
Here are a few ways you can reduce your spending:
- Reduce your grocery bills. Groceries are often one of the biggest bills after mortgage or rent. Shop the flyers, utilize shopping Apps to save money, and use points when possible. Avoid big stock ups and buy the items you know you will using in the near future.
- Cut back spending. Its not the best time to be purchasing a new big ticket, or maybe even small ticket item. Put a hold on any extra spending especially anything that is purchased on a credit card.
- Put it on hold. You may be able to put a hold on some of your payments including your mortgage. Make sure to read the fine print on your contracts, as doing so may cost you more in the long run as you may be required to pay interest on the “ missed” payment. Make the phone calls, know your options. Putting a payment on the back burner- with your creditors permission may be vital to maintaining your household during your reduced income.
- Wants vs Needs. It’s the time old question, do I want it or do I need it? Now may be the time to tighten up the needs, and cut the wants. Remember this is not forever, but it will help you get through in the short term.
Increase your income.
If your strike pay, and cutting back on expenses is not enough you may want to explore ways to increase your income. This could be through a side hustle, part time job, or temporary employment.
We know that selling household items is a short term minor gain, but when times are tight it may help you get through another day with lowered income. Perhaps you are a two car household, with your partner working from home. This could be the right time to give up your second vehicle, and save on insurance, gas and more.
What to do, when there is no savings
If you are struggling, you can reach out to your union representative for a list of assistance programs they can offer. This may include extra shits to picket, financial assistant programs, or funds they have available to workers.
If the strike continues longer than your emergency savings do and you do not have any additional options it is time to reach out to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. There is no shame in needing help, and it is better to reach out early on. You do not need to struggle with debt and there are options available to help you. We understand the emotional distress you are likely under, and added financial stress can be devastating to an already difficult time.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with financial stress and don’t know what to do, we are here to help. With Bromwich+Smith you are never alone and we ensure that our expertise will leave you feeling hopeful and confident. We understand the financial, and emotional stress you are experiencing and want to help you today. Call our Licensed Insolvency Trustees today for a free, no obligation, confidential consultation 1-855-884-9243. We want to help you rebuild your worth.
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