Surviving the unexpected: How to adapt your budget

In 2020, COVID-19 held the entire world hostage. You could almost hear it cackling "Had plans, did you? Not anymore!" Whether you lost your job, had your hours cut or your internship postponed, your finances have probably taken a hit. Step 1: rethink your game plan.

Updated January 22, 2021

It may be hard to imagine what the next few months will look like, whether it’s pandemic-related or an unexpected event. But there’s no need to panic—most of the time all you need to do is evaluate your priorities. If your financial situation has changed, you just need to make some updates to account for your new reality. Are you someone who finds talking about money stressful? Taking the time to understand how much you earn and spend can actually be a reassuring, plus it helps you feel more in control. And that will help to reduce your stress. Let’s go through the basics together.

1. Figure out your income

If you want to know how much you can spend, you have to know how much you earn. What are your sources of income right now? We’re talking about your pay, as well as any other money you have coming in. To make sure you’re not leaving anything out of the equation, use our tool to make your budget - This link will open in a new window..

Remember that the CERB or CESB income is taxable! Avoiding a nasty surprise is as easy as setting money aside in a savings account for your taxes.

2. Get a handle on your spending

Write up a list of all (seriously, we mean all) of your expenses. What are your fixed costs (the ones you have every month like rent, electricity, Internet) and your variable costs (groceries, clothes, activities)? Are you saving for a big project like studying abroad or buying a car? Do you have any debt to pay back (credit card, line of credit)? If you’re spending more than you’re bringing in, you might need to change some of your habits. You could go through your list of subscriptions or start thinking twice before making a purchase. There are tons of solutions out there! Here’s an article with all kinds of ideas for optimizing your budget - This link will open in a new window..

3. Set some money aside

If you’re in a position to do so, keep up (or set up!) your good savings habits. By setting money aside, you’ll be gradually building yourself a safety net that can help you when the unexpected—like a job loss—hits. Consider setting up automatic transfers - This link will open in a new window. to your savings account. Every single dollar counts! You’ll see, it relieves some financial stress and helps keep you focused on your goals, no matter the circumstances.

If the pandemic has you feeling like you’ve lost control, start by taking a deep breath. So many of us are experiencing the exact same situation. Take advantage of the tools that Desjardins is offering and set aside the time to update your budget every so often. Planning well today means giving yourself the chance to make your dream project come true once this crisis is over.

Desjardins is here for you

Our advisors are always available to answer your questions and help you draw up a budget that meets your needs.

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