Tips to help you get back on top of your finances

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(NC) As the Canadian economy recovers from the disruptions caused by COVID-19, it has become clear that a growing number of Canadians are under increased financial stress.

If you are among those facing financial pressures, the following tips and tools can help you gain the upper hand and take charge of your personal finances.

Set up a budget

Setting up a budget is key in all circumstances, especially during an emergency. It will help you to identify your income and expenses, and establish spending and debt repayment plans. If you have money left over, it’s a good idea to create an emergency fund to help you prepare for unexpected events and emergencies.

If you need help getting started, try the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s interactive online budget planner. It includes tips, advice and alerts to help you take charge of your personal finances.

Get financial advice

During this uncertain time, it is always best to live within your budget. However, if you are struggling with your finances and you have to borrow money, get financial advice.

A good first step is to speak with your financial institution to find out about borrowing options available to you. They may be able to defer the payments on some of your credit products, such as your mortgage.

A financial professional, such as a licensed financial advisor or an accredited credit counsellor, can also help you develop a plan to deal with an emergency.

Avoid more debt

During uncertain periods, try to avoid taking on more debt. If you must borrow money, do your homework. Make sure you understand the cost of different credit products before you make a decision, and borrow only what you need.

And remember that certain credit products are more expensive than others. For example, a payday loan should be your absolute last resort, as they often carry very high fees.