In a matter of weeks, Canadians’ lives have been turned upside down. Schools have shuttered. Bars and restaurants have been ordered to close. Fitness studios and gyms are no longer operating. And grocery stores have begun to reduce their hours.
While these are the appropriate responses in the name of public safety and slowing the spread of the new coronavirus, these are financially concerning times for many people. Thousands of employees are being laid off, and while the government has promised immediate employment insurance relief to them, anyone who’s been on EI before knows it won’t be enough to cover every expense.
If you’re fortunate enough to be in a stable financial position right now, with no immediate threat to your job security, what can you do with your money that will have a positive impact?
Subscribe to news publications
Much of the reporting around COVID-19 is free right now, as news publications made the socially responsible decision to lift any paywalls on this content to ensure that as much of the public gets crucial information about what’s happening in their province and how to slow the spread.
Still, this reporting takes hard work. Journalists are now working from their kitchen tables and closets to get the public the information it needs. By subscribing even to just one newspaper or media outlet that you trust, you can help support these people and make sure that free access to information remains a viable option during this pandemic.
Support local restaurants and businesses
Sadly, restaurants and other businesses have had to close their doors in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. And this means that their income will have practically come to a halt, while their rent keeps coming due, and they continue needing to pay their employees.
One way to lend financial support to these establishments during this time is by buying gift cards, which can give them a source of cash at a time when they really need it.
For those businesses now exclusively offering take-out or delivery, now would be the time to leave bigger tips than you normally do, if you can afford it.
Buy groceries for those struggling financially or in self-isolation
Not everyone can or should go to the grocery store during this pandemic. A very simple and helpful way to do something positive with your money is by offering to buy groceries or other essential items for friends and family who are immunocompromised or perhaps in self-isolation due to recent travel or symptoms.
A simple e-transfer from said person will replenish your bank account, or if it’s a friend who’s just been laid off and lost their income, consider this a helpful gift to them in a time of need.
Pay for cancelled appointments
A lot of self-employed people are losing work right now. Massage therapists, hairdressers, cleaners and the like are having to cancel their upcoming appointments or stop working altogether out of concern for both their own safety and the safety of their clients.
To you, this might just be a cancelled appointment but for them it means lost income. If you had an upcoming appointment with a self-employed person and the money for that appointment is still worked into your budget, maybe consider e-transfering them the money anyway.
Donate to Canada’s food banks
As our collective purse strings start to tighten, more and more people may need to rely on food banks for their meals. There are plenty of opportunities to donate to Canada’s food banks, either online or at various grocery store checkouts. As a direct result of COVID-19, Food Banks Canada has made a special $150 million donation request.
Maybe all you can afford is a one-time $25 donation. That’s okay. Every little bit helps.