Your financial situation has just changed, the budget explodes and very quickly, you lose control and you no longer know where to turn. What can you do to get out?
Sometimes all it takes is an honest exercise and really putting your mind to it to figure out if we're really spending our income in the right place. It's actually something all families should do on a regular basis in order to fine-tune their budget for life's predictable and unpredictable changes and to ensure that they always stay in control of expenses.
You may have to cut back on some luxuries while you get back on your feet. Some changes will even be permanent, at least until your financial situation improves, which you should always aim for. It can certainly seem demotivating presented like this and it is normal to feel a certain reluctance to change your lifestyle.
But instead of getting discouraged, see this experience as one more reason to start saving up to treat yourself in due time. You will be very proud to have succeeded in planning your pleasures without the guilt that you know too wellgood.
Tools to help you review your budget:
- Read the document Knowing how to manage your money published by the Canadian Bankers Association which clearly explains, using calculation tables, expenses, income, credit and credit score.
- Industry Canada offers a " calculator" that demonstrates that if you develop the habit of putting the money you spend on small things aside, your situation will only be better!
- Our article Shopping and Savings gives you a range of tips to make the most savings possible on your expenses and purchases.
Which bills to pay first?
If cutting your expenses isn't enough, consider overdue bills that you need to address first. Some bills should absolutely not be late since they actually contribute to worsening your financial situation by affecting your credit and risking you losing certain essential needs.
Rent/Mortgage and property taxesYou can't afford not to have a home, that's why you absolutely have to pay the related costs at home in order to avoid losing your home or having your house seized. If you have a house and are not paying your property taxes, your municipality may issue a lien on your property (tax lien) to ensure you receive late payments.
Car loanIf you fall too far behind, your car could be returned, causing you a lot of trouble. If you think you won't be able to make the expected payments, contact your lending institution to discuss the possibilities of extending the term of your loan or refinancing the purchase to reduce your monthly payments.
Many parents have student debt and it is important to fulfill their obligations to avoid unpleasant surprises. If your current financial situation does not allow you to repay your student loan, you may qualify for student financial assistance, which allows you to defer paying off your student debt.
Change due dates
According to the Yahoo! Quebec, we receive an average of eight to ten statements each month! If in addition, they all tend to arrive at the same time, it is easy to not know where to turn.
By taking the lead and contacting your creditors and service companies to explain your situation and have the due dates changed, you will certainly be able to find an arrangement.
In some cases, if you have lost your job or your working hours have been reduced recently for example, some companies will agree to reduce your monthly payments temporarily or even give you a few months off. It's worth toexplain the situation to them to put the odds on your side.
If you make arrangements with your creditors and service companies, it is very important to respect your commitments and make your payments on time in order to prove your good faith to them and avoid consequences such as fees delays or a refusal to help you in the future.
Watch out for fees
If you're tight on money, the last thing you need is to rack up unnecessary fees like overdraft fees when you've written a check but the money isn't there in your account. Most banks charge between $40 and $45 for each returned check. So keep a sharp eye on your accounts and make sure you don't write a check that you can't cover. By getting into the habit of monitoring your current account online almost daily, you will avoid unpleasant surprises.
It's never too early to seek the advice of a financial advisor who can guide you on the options available to you depending on your personal situation. He may, for example, offer you a personal loan or a debt consolidation that will allow you to repatriate all your bills in a single payment, sometimes with a more advantageous rate. If your problems are more serious, you can discuss remedial measures with him, such as a consumer proposal or, as a last resort, abankruptcy.
- Becoming a Parent: Services Québec – Financial assistance: The list of government programs and services intended for future and new parents.
- What financial aid for parents? – Jecomrends.ca, National Bank: Overview of the main financial assistance programs offered to parents by the provincial and federal government.
- The ACEFs: These associations offer you information, training, help or referrals for everything related to your budget, debt and consumption.
- Centre des Femmes de Montréal: This center offers several support services well suited to expectant and new mothers: food and clothing assistance for families in need, cooking program collective, used diapers and maternity items distribution system and more according to your needs.
- CLSC: If you are a low-income family, you can contact your CLSC to see if you qualify for material or food assistance according to the programs available in your area.
- Fondation OLO: Since 1991, the foundation has offered food aid and vitamin and mineral supplements to pregnant women who are in a precarious situation.
- Last Resort Financial Assistance Program – Gouvernement du Québec: For underprivileged families who need support during pregnancy, lactation andfor school fees.
- Régie des Rentes du Québec: Universal assistance offered to all families paid in a variable amount to eligible families.
The Coalition of Consumer Associations of Quebec (CACQ) has launched the 9th edition of the annual campaign In the margin up to your neck ! Under the theme "I'm in debt, but I'm taking care of myself!", the Credit Challenge wants to encourage consumers to take action and take control of their financial he alth. The Credit Challenge runs from October 23 to December 7, 2012.
Each registrant will receive a participant's kit to concretely help them get their personal finances back on track and prevent debt. Prizes will be awarded by drawing lots among the participants.