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Canada's 'Millennial Money Expert' Has Tips For Getting Through The Pandemic

It's time to start budgeting!
Trending Senior Staff Writer
How To Save Money During COVID-19? 'Millennial Money Expert' Has Tips

If you want to know how to save money during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond that, there are lots of things you can do.

Narcity spoke with Jessica Moorhouse, an accredited financial counsellor and a self-proclaimed millennial money expert, to get tips on how young people can get through these challenging times.

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What should you be doing during the pandemic?

Moorhouse noted that everyone has been affected differently by the pandemic with some people making more money than ever and others losing their jobs.

"We're still in a pandemic so I think we all still need to give ourselves a break," she said.

You should focus on yourself and not what milestones others are reaching or what their financial goals are.

That means figuring out what's reasonable for you to do, like pay down your debt, put some money into savings or find ways to earn a little bit more.

However, Moorhouse said you shouldn't feel bad if you're struggling.

"Give yourself some patience and just some grace because we're still in a tough time," she said.

She mentioned that the pandemic has been a wake-up call for people who never paid attention to their finances, and is an opportunity to get educated.

According to the money expert, one of the biggest barriers to getting in control of your finances is the fear that the situation might not be pretty.

"As bad as it could be, if you don’t do anything it may get worse," Moorhouse said.

One way to start is budgeting.

Why is it important to have a budget?

Moorhouse said that having a budget is simply figuring out how much you make and where you want that money to go.

It's figuring out what you want to do with your hard-earned cash and then tracking what you actually do with it to keep yourself accountable.

Doing that is important because it "will help you slowly tweak your habits and see that your budget is easier to implement."

If you think that you're not making any progress because you have to pay off debts like student loans each month, that's not necessarily true.

Moorhouse said that it's imperative to have a budget and track your money — especially when you're paying debts — because it can show you that you actually are making progress.

How do you budget your money?

There are so many ways to do this, like with spreadsheets or apps, but all budgets have the same core principles.

Moorhouse said that you should start by figuring out what your total income is before taxes or other deductions and what it is after (also known as gross and net income).

Then you divide your net income by putting some of it towards saving and investment goals with the rest going to expenses.

A tip of hers is to make saving and investing the first priority and spending the second, so you'll never feel like you don't have money to put away at the end of the month.

When it comes to expenses, there are fixed ones like bills and necessities and variable ones that can change every month, or things that aren't necessities like entertainment, alcohol or take-out.

Another tip from Moorhouse is to track your spending and your net worth to see if your budget is working.

You can figure out your net worth by subtracting your liabilities from your assets.

Liabilities are debts like student loans, a line of credit or a mortgage; assets are things you own like bank accounts, investment accounts or properties that aren't mortgaged.

Moorhouse said that even if you have a negative net worth because you don't have a lot of cash and have a lot of student loans, each time you pay that bill your net worth increases.

That should motivate you to keep paying off your debts.

How can having extra income help?

Moorhouse said that when you're just starting out in your career, it's tough to make money.

So it's important to see if there are any ways you can get some extra income.

That could be working multiple jobs or even investing some of your money.

She mentioned that a lot of young people don't like the idea of having a second job because they think it can make them look like a failure.

"But at the end of the day, who cares what people think? You'll be so glad that you actually did that," she said.

Moorhouse knows from experience that it can sometimes feel embarrassing to have a second job while your friends don't, but she doesn't regret making extra money.

Even though she had to pass on some nights out, she said, she's further ahead because of it.

However, that doesn't mean you can't ever do anything fun.

"I don't believe in the old school way of thinking where you have to cut [out] everything exciting until you [have] completely paid off your debt or reached some financial goal because life is too short and you need to enjoy your life," Moorhouse said.

    Lisa Belmonte
    Trending Senior Staff Writer
    Lisa Belmonte is a Senior Staff Writer for Narcity Canada’s Trending Desk focused on government of Canada jobs and is based in Ontario.
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