Here are seven steps you can take to stay afloat after your CERB payouts stop coming.
Pad your emergency fund while you still can
While your CERB payments are still rolling in, it’s a good idea to set aside a portion of each cheque in an emergency fund. That way you’ll have something to fall back on if you need the cushioning.
Most financial experts recommend keeping enough saved up to cover at least six months of your typical expenses, but anything you can put away now will help.
The best place to park your emergency fund is in a high-interest savings account like EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account, which will earn you up to 1.70%* interest on every dollar you put in.
Choosing an account with a high interest rate will allow your savings to grow over time, and leave you with more money available when you need it most.
Make sure your credit score is in decent shape
Once your CERB payments run out, you may need to take out a loan to help cover your expenses until you get back on your feet.
If you want to get the best interest rate possible on any future loans, you’ll need to make sure that your credit score is in good shape.
The easiest way to do that is to monitor your score using a website called Borrowell.
Using Borrowell means you can check your Equifax credit score and report anytime you want, and the service provides tips and tools to help you boost your score if it’s lower than you’d like it to be.
Best of all, Borrowell is totally free to use and it won’t impact your credit rating.
Invest in the stock market (with a little help)
If you already have a solid emergency fund in place when your CERB ends, you might want to consider investing what you can spare in the stock market.
With the help of a robo-advisor like Wealthsimple, you don’t need thousands of dollars or years of investing experience to play the market. Wealthsimple offers a wide range of balanced portfolios that have stayed steady and reported earnings, even during the pandemic.
Just pick the risk level that you’re comfortable with and Wealthsimple will make all the tough decisions for you, like what to buy and when to sell.
There’s no account minimum so you can start investing with as little as one dollar, and if you use this special MoneyWise link you’ll get $50 added to your portfolio for free after you deposit your first $500.
Cover your lost CERB with a side gig
You may be able to replace some (or all) of your CERB payments by using your hobby to pick up a side gig or two.
One of the most popular places to find side gigs online is Fiverr, the world’s largest marketplace for digital services.
Whether you’re an artist, a web designer, or do spot-on impressions of celebrities, Fiverr makes it easy to turn your talents into cash.
Just create a profile describing what you offer, and you’ll start popping up in people’s search results right away. Once you complete a few gigs and rack up some positive reviews, you can raise the price of your services and earn even more.
Depending on how high the demand is for your services, you may even make more on your side-hustle than you were collecting from CERB. So sign up for Fiverr today and start getting paid to do what you love.
Find a better rate on your car insurance
Before CERB ends you should make an effort to trim down your monthly expenses, and your car insurance bill is a great place to start.
By shopping around for a better rate online every six months, you could save hundreds of dollars a year.
There are a number of websites that will let you compare rates for free, and the process usually only takes a few minutes. You just answer a few questions about your background, your car, and your driving record, and you’ll instantly get quotes from multiple insurers in your area.
Searching for better rates online won’t cost you anything, so it’s worth a shot even if you’re just curious about how much you can save — it might be a lot more than you expect.
Refinance your mortgage into a record-low rate
Mortgage rates are sitting at all-time lows right now, and they’re predicted to stay that way for up to two years.
Refinancing your current mortgage could lower your monthly payment by hundreds of dollars and help you hold on to more cash once your CERB payments end.
Just keep in mind that breaking your mortgage early will require you to pay a number of fees, so you should make sure the savings you’ll see with a refi outweigh any costs you may incur.
As with your car insurance, rate shopping is a good idea but shopping mortgages can take ages.
To make the process easier, use an online broker like Homewise to help you find the best rate in minutes.
With the right mortgage refi, you may be able to save thousands of dollars in interest over the course of your loan.
Think about downsizing
If you’re not able to refinance and find yourself struggling to make your mortgage payments after CERB ends, it might be time to think about downsizing.
If you live in Toronto, Ottawa, or Calgary, you can find out exactly how much your property is worth using a website called Properly.
The site provides a free home value report that’s 99% accurate and only takes a few minutes to complete.
Properly also has a guaranteed backup offer for the sale of your current home, enabling you to release equity and speed up the process of buying a new home that’s a better fit for your lifestyle.