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Succedding Through Financial Challenges (Self care Series)

We’ve all been there! It can be hard for a family to pay the rent, put food on the table and heat the house, never mind paying for all the extras not covered by funding: gas for running around to therapy sessions, extra admission to have a support person at activities, and so on.

But there’s good news.

There’s Help Out There!

I want to make sure everyone is aware of the support that is out there for them and take a look as some creative budgeting and other opportunities to make some money on the side.

Respite care

This is to pay a qualified person to look after your child while you have a night away, or dinner with your spouse. Access this funding through your social worker. There is only so much money allotted by the government so it can be tricky to qualify for support. I could not find a lot of answers to what it takes to qualify but this is what I found.

To be eligible for these programs,

  • a child or youth must be: a resident of British Columbia
  • under the age of 19 and diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (this includes Autism, Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD-NOS, Rett Syndrome)
  • or eligible for the At Home Program that includes children who are assessed as dependent in at least three of four functional activities of daily living (eating, dressing, toileting, and washing) or diagnosed with an Intellectual Disability

Access pass

This has all kinds of perks! Each business that honours this pass offers different things:
some give you a discount, some let the support staff in for free, and some cover the child’s admission to things. You can apply for the Access pass here.

Leisure pass

Most city recreation centres have a pass for your child that offers their support person free admission. Since kids usually pay less, this is more than a 50% discount.


Most movie theatres have cheap days here in Victoria it is on Tuesdays. Often the theatres on Professional days at school and holidays have family movies, which are old Disney or Pixar reruns that are offered at a cheaper price. You’ll have to look into your local theatre for times and prices.

I know here in Victoria every so often they offer “sensory safe showings” where the lights are not as low, the surround sound is off and the sound is not as loud. They are far and few between and cost the same. I made my own “sensory safe” movies by using the baby room which you can still find in older theaters. It is a room with a glass window that allows you to watch from the back of the theater and then if the baby cries it doesn’t disturb anyone. It also happens to be quieter and no surround sound. I have been told if you need to leave in the first fifteen minutes of the show the theater will return your money, but I have not ever tried this.

Kid swapping

Save on babysitting by swapping kids! What does that mean? Just like your mainstream children have play dates, this means exchanging times when your kid will go over to another child’s house and their parents look after them. Then in return the kids end up at your house another day.

How do you find someone that is a good fit? Start by seeing if there are any children your child gravitates to first, then get to know their parents. Look to see if their parenting style is close to yours. Do they know or are they willing to learn about what your child’s quirks and needs are?

Make sure you are realistic in your expectations of your child and the other family who has agreed to watch your child. Especially at the beginning, if you have never left your child with someone before I would start off small—like 10 minutes—and work your way up so that you, the family and your child can adjust. Depending on the needs of your child, you may not want to ask a family to take them overnight. If your child has some high needs you probably want to pay someone trained to take them for more than a couple of hours.


Budgeting sounded like too much work to me, when I was first introduced to it. “You mean I have to keep and track all my receipts? Ugg! “ But in the end, it was a really useful tool.

Before I even made my first budget, my mom had me write down every cent I spent for a whole month while at university. That’s when I realized how I was wasting so much money on things like tea at the fancy coffee shop on campus. Right then and there I decided that buying hot water and a tea bag for anything more than a dollar was ridiculous and I started packing tea bags and a to-go mug. Take a good look at your spending habits: are there any little things that you could do without?

If you have never made a budget before, here are the basics for a monthly budget.

Income: Write down all the income that comes into your household for the month.

Monthly expenses: Then list all the set in stone bills like mortgage or rent, both car and house insurance, cell phone bills, car payments, cable, internet, water, electric, student loans, medical coverage and anything else that comes out monthly.

Annual expenses: Then list all the other things that maybe only come out once a year, or bi monthly, 4 times a year, like house taxes, RSP payments. Take those and divide them into monthly installments.

Occasional expenses: Now list all the expenses that vary, things like groceries, gas, entertainment, bath and beauty supplies, household products ( cleaning products, light bulbs, and so forth)

When you subtract your set in stone expenses from your income that should leave you with what you have to spend on the variable expenses.

  • Some tips for keeping track of expenses:
  • Have a weekly budgeted amount set aside for groceries
  • Have a set amount a month entertainment
  • Either have someone in charge of the spending or have regular check ins or recording it in the same place.
  • Agree to check in before blowing a budget

And we’re not done yet! You need an emergency fund (for when the hot water tank breaks), and savings for any other things you know you will want to buy in the future like a new car, a new computer or any other big purchase. I would also highly recommend a vacation fund, so you can actually afford to take one, and looking into building for your family’s future with things like RESP’s or RDSP’s,TFSA’s, or investing it somewhere to grow.

Make tomorrow easier!

I know how easy it is to get in the habit of making your life easier now and forgetting that money put away to make tomorrow easier, a month from now, a year from now or even 10 years from now easier is also a worthy deed. The money you save now is worth more money a year from now and even worth more than ten years from now.
Financial Planning

We’ve looked at how important it is to budget and save money for the future: for emergencies, future plans, and even retirement.The next thing you have to ask yourself is: is your money working for you or against you?

Until recently, I had no idea of what to invest in, how to invest or even where to find the money to invest. I really didn’t understand a lot about this until taking a financial literacy course. I learned some interesting things, such as:
That 91% of Canadian retirees will be retiring at or below the line of poverty according to Stats Canada.

  • Debt to income ratio is 173 to 1, meaning that for every dollar that enters the household per year after taxes, they owe $1.73 in debt.
  • 6 out of 10 Canadians don’t have a will or financial plan in place.
  • It is going to cost us twice if not three times as much for us to retire, than it did our parents.

If you ask me, those are some scary numbers, and those stats don’t take into consideration that you may have dependents still living with you now and even when you retire!
This is why we need to know the fundamentals of how money moves, how money grows, and how to build wealth here in Canada.

Falling into debt is easy

Falling into massive debt is easy. For some people it’s taking out school loans and then not landing a high paying job. For one of my friends, it was getting hurt in a snowboarding accident so that he couldn’t work for years, and even had to buy a special bed. He was self employed and didn’t even have any insurance to cover that time off work.

This same friend just recently eliminated 85% of his $55,000 debt. If you are interested in hearing more about his story, his contact information is at the bottom as it has made it his mission to educate people so the same thing doesn’t happen to them.

Side Hustles

Picking up a gig on the side is one way many women and men are making a little extra cash. There are three major types of side hustles:

  • Starting a side business — Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve got special skills like photography, house painting, or web design, you might be able to make some side income. If you’re interested, check out Chris Guillebeau’s book Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days.
  • A part-time job — There are lots of jobs you can take on part-time, from coffee shop barista to yoga instructor to working at book stores or in clothing retail. Sometimes the extra dollars per week can make a real difference.
  • Relationship marketing — When you choose the right company, for some people this can be the perfect balance between entrepreneurship and part-time employment.

Relationship Marketing

You know the ones I am talking about: Epicure, Mary Kay, Rubbermaid. Whatever it is you choose to do, make sure it is a company and something you believe in and you can take it as far as you want. Some people only want to have a couple extra hundred dollars a month. Not everyone will have the time and energy to bring in thousands of dollars a month on their side business.

What do I need to know or do to be successful at network marketing?

  • You need to be good at communicating with others, which means you need to be comfortable enough to talk to strangers.
  • You need to have a good understanding of the products and the company and how it can benefit someone else’s life.
  • Have the time to meet new people, follow up with them, check in with customers ( don’t be fooled network marketing takes time, energy and skill)
  • When deciding on a network marketing company there are a few things you can look into to make sure it is the right one for you. Here are a few things to consider:
  • Are their products something you would use yourself?
  • Is the science sound behind the products?
  • What kind of training is there?
  • Are the company’s tools and systems for selling easy to use?
  • Is there a need for the product ?
  • Is the niche market growing? Or is it saturated already with options?
  • Are other people involved people you like to hang out with? Do they share the same values?
  • What kind of buy-in is necessary to get started? That means how much you need to buy up front to start selling.
  • What kind of perks do you get for being a distributor?
  • Do you align with the mission and the vision of the company?
  • What kind of approach do they take to selling ? Are they spamming people everywhere?
  • Are they the people you mute or unfollow on facebook?
  • Do you align with the pay structure of the company?
  • How long has the company been around? Are they a fad that will pass in a year or two?

If you are scared of alienating your friends and family that is a legitimate fear. I would recommend checking out Micheal Oliver’s book How to sell network marketing without fear, anxiety or loosing friends! Or Eric Worre Go Pro.

Because for most people working 9-5, 5 days a week barely covers the bills in the larger cities (even if there are two of you), you have to take a very close look at where you’re spending your money, and how you can get the biggest bang for your buck. With smart planning and choices, tomorrow will look a lot better!

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Jay Holman
Financial Literacy Coach, saving, investing, RESP, RDSP and more

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