COVIDiaries: 27-year-old substitute teacher cuts spending and grapples with becoming poorer

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In the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic, many people find their personal finances in complete upheaval. We want to share real stories of how people are coping with the crisis. 

Our new series, the “COVIDiaries” will share individual experiences with how the pandemic is impacting income, savings, debts, and more. You can read more here. We hope you find these stories relatable and reassuring, even if they do nothing more than show you that you are not alone. 

We are all in this together.

If you would like to share your experience of how the Coronavirus is impacting your finances, please fill out the form here

Jared, 27, from Sherwood Park, Alberta

What do you do for work? Has the COVID-19 Pandemic impacted your income in reduced hours, layoffs, work from home or in another way?

I’m laid off. I’m a substitute teacher and it has eliminated at least three weeks of pre-arranged days I had booked in. Now I’m waiting for school districts to figure out how they can pay substitute teachers while waiting for EI assistance as well.

How has the COVID-19 Pandemic affected your spending? Are you spending more or less right now? What are you buying and why?

Spending far less. At the very least, I usually buy a coffee a day. I would also order takeout quite regularly. Now I’m making coffee at home as often as possible, making food at home, and limiting online purchases as I don’t know how delivery services will be affected. The main things I’ve purchased, besides groceries, are items that will fill my time. Puzzles, video games, and the like.

What about your debts? Are you incurring debt to cope with reduced pay or increased costs? Or are you finding relief in lower interest rates?

I’m not at a point where I have to worry about overwhelming debt, but if it takes beyond a couple months to sort out payment or EI issues, I’ll be in quite a bind.

Are you concerned about what will happen to your savings and investments at this time? Is this detrimental to your long-term wealth or a once in a lifetime opportunity to get into the stock market? Will you recover from this crisis or be richer or poorer because of it?

I’m not worried about my limited investments. They’re set up for the long term, and while I have some flexibility, I can contribute a little extra to my RRSP to take advantage of the depressed markets. I’ll likely be poorer off after the crisis though because I’ll be forced to use most of my savings as a stop-gap to get me through.

Did the pandemic force you to cancel any trips or special events? How did that impact your bank account (and your mental health!)

I’m a baseball coach too. Our season and a great deal of my time over the next 6 months has completely vanished. We had to cut short our winter development programs, tryouts, evaluations. There likely won’t be a 2020 season.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic made you realize anything unexpected about your personal finances? Did you find vulnerabilities or are you more secure than you thought? Will it change how you see and manage money going forward?

It’s made me realize that floating payments on behalf of sports organizations is not in my interest. I’ve had to wait extended periods of time to receive expense payments with the quarantine measures taking place. I’ve had to make debt maintenance payments and interest payments to cover these expenses in the interim. I’m losing a lot of money and I’ll have to re-evaluate how I make these expense payments from now on. I can’t afford hundreds of dollars in interest charges.

Share how your personal finances are being impacted by the Coronavirus here

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