How To Reduce Debt Stress During Tough Times : The Saturday Weekend Review #299

Debt Depression

Take Your Debt Stress To The Bin For Good

It may seem impossible to stay motivated when not being able to get ahead paying bills and debt plagues your every thought.

Having a constant fear of not having enough money to pay the bills can easily manifest into crippling anxiety of constant debt stress.

With the state our economy is in as we stumble, fall though the rage of this horrific virus we will get back up and rise again.

(Please note that I am not using the full name of the virus as Google is trying to keep all news sources related to it accurate and by me not sharing the name my blog post won’t get buried by Google.)

Many of you have emailed me over the past few days fearing for your money in the bank and retirement investments.

The most direct questions related to whether your money was protected by Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Debt Stress And No Income

You wanted to know if cashing in your RRSP and TFSA was a good idea if you had to wait for Employment Insurance to come in.

So many of you are at home social distancing yourself from the world and not getting paid.

This can be a harrowing ordeal especially when you are healthy and willing to work but the world is not.

Unfortunately, all we can do is get one step ahead of the germ so we’re not faced with falling deeper into debt depression.

Income Source Cut Off Causes Debt Stress

Hi Mr.CBB,

Debt stresses me out and with being laid off of work now due to this virus I’m not sure how I’m going to pay my bills.

Do you have any tips to help me get through these tough times as I could use some hope?

Please don’t use my last name, thanks.



Ontario, Canada

Dealing With Debt Stress

Coping with debt stress means looking after yourself first and then contacting all of your creditors to make arrangements with them.

If you are in the position of Christy above because you’ve been sent home due to the virus without pay or any other reason, there is hope.

Just before I moved to Canada I quit my job to renovate my house with my dad so I could sell it.

In the midst of it all, I had to sort out all of my finances, pay for renovations and get on a plane to Canada.

The daily grind of finding stuff to fix as we ripped stuff apart that drove renovation costs up and not knowing if my house would sell sent me into depression.

It was a short-lived depression but any type is a serious type that needs tending to either by a doctor or yourself.

I chose to battle my demons by finding out what my biggest fear was.

Do you know what it was?


Debt Stress Caught Me Off Guard

I had gone way over budget and even though my dad was helping me I had all of my income invested and no job.

I had to quit as I was moving and had to sell and there was no way I could afford to pay someone to do the work for me.

When you get your permanent resident card you don’t wait to move, you get a move on and fast.

Anyhow, I did run out of money and my parents were kind enough to lend me $5000 which I could pay back when I sold my house.

In my head, I thought, “IF my house sells” and never said a word after that.

Owing anyone money has always been something that weighs on me heavily even if money from my parents.

My debt stress got worrisome as the house needed to sell as my parents need their money too.

I hate to see them go without because of me but they assured me they were fine financially.

Thankfully the house sold fast and I was able to pay my parents back and every other debt I owed and moved to Canada.

During those unknown moments, I was taken aback by not having set aside enough emergency savings and having too low of a reno budget.

Turning On The Frugal Mindset

Once I landed in Canada and started working a year later both Mrs. CBB and I turned into frugal savers to avoid debt stress.

Even when we bought our first home together we had conditioned ourselves to understand the modules behind debt and how to combat insecurities.

Some of our battles revolved around health, job loss and any unforeseen events that could cripple our income.

We both went through times in our lives where debt stress lit a fire under our asses so we don’t live it again.

You know why? Because debt can kill you.

Not necessarily in a literal way however people have committed suicide because their debt stress got out of control.

It eats you alive especially if you struggle to get over that hump.

There was no more of that because we knew what we needed to do and that was to buckle down and save, create a budget and emergency savings.

We needed a solid financial plan.

Included in our brainstorming we also came out with ways that weren’t just financially sound ideas but provided health benefits.

Let’s have a look.

Debt Consolidation

Even if you don’t need to consolidate your debt learn about it because you never know when you may need the services of a consolidation company.

One popular way to consolidate debt is by applying for a zero-interest or lower interest credit card and moving credit card debt to it.

This is called a Balance Transfer Option which helps you crush paying it off with one creditor rather than many.

Tracking Finances

If you are not budgeting I urge you to get your finances in order and build your emergency fund.

This is not something that you should do it’s a task that everyone MUST do.

If you find your debt stress is overwhelming find a budget that you can balance and one that works for you.

There are many types of budgeting systems available from using the jar system, envelope system, basic budgeting or using apps such as or an excel spreadsheet like we do.

Extra Income Sources

If you have limited to no income coming in start finding new ways to earn extra income even if it’s working from home.

There are many online freelance jobs and companies that want to hire people to manage their social media accounts.

Another great idea that can bring in money is blogging however it takes time although some bloggers have turned massive profits quickly.

Related: CBB Blogging Resources Page

Communicate With Creditors

If you can’t pay a bill you must call your creditors and let them know, ideally ahead of the due date.

Showing them that you are dedicated to paying the bill or minimum payment once your income stream starts back up you can work out a plan.

In light of this virus, you will find many companies will work to help fellow Canadians out.

Practice Yoga +Meditation + Light Exercise

Relieve debt stress anxiety by taking the time out to refresh your mind and body.

Even during social distancing you can get outside and go for walks.

Practice yoga in your home or the backyard using free YouTube beginner videos.

Meditation is a great way to put yourself in a state of mind that is calm and rational.

You can find many free apps on your phone for meditation and even yoga positions.

Free Yoga Resource: Yoga with Adriene- has free online classes

Music – Play+ Sing+Dance

Turn it up loud. Music is life and by playing music that makes you happy. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like music.

Download Spotify on your phone or stream music online if you don’t own a radio or other source for music.

You’ll often find us dancing around the living room and singing at least once a week.

Not only is dancing great exercise but it raises your energy level and releases endorphins.

Talk To Someone You Trust

Lastly, don’t let debt stress take you to a place where you get so lost it’s hard to find a way back home.

If you have a friend or relative you trust to pick up the phone and call them.

Talking about your debt stress and what is causing it may lead to finding a money source that can lift you until you are on your feet.

It may also find someone to talk to that will comfort you or perhaps have other ideas to motivate you.

Whatever path you choose just know that doing something is better than nothing when it comes to your financial and personal health.

Canada Suicide Prevention Support

Discussion: What ways do you deal with debt stress? Leave me your comments below.

Blog Posts You May Have Missed

Scookies Chocolate Chip Cookies

Below is a recap of the blog posts I’ve published over the past two weeks so you can catch up on your reading.

If you haven’t already subscribed to the blog make sure to add your email to my list so you get my weekly blog posts and access to my Free Budget Resources Library.

You’ll get all of my Budget Binder Printables and Monthly Budget For Free.

Plus, now I also release a bi-weekly newsletter that comes straight to your email only for subscribers.

In my newsletter, you’ll find exclusive updates about the blog and my home life including photos and contests.

Seasonal Frugal Recipe

Red Pickled Beets

I’ve changed the frugal recipe section where instead of finding a recipe that I believe is budget-friendly and delicious looking to seasonal.

I plan on finding seasonal recipes whether they are desserts or meals that you can make at home based on Canadian seasonal availability.

For example, just to name a few in Ontario for March such as beets, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, mushrooms, and onions.

Let’s begin with one of my favourites, red Pickled Beets where I love nothing more than sticking a fork in a jar and smashing through it.

What I love about this recipe is how easy it is to make that even someone like me can’t possibly mess it up. Or maybe I can. Ha!

  • 5 lbs. small red beets or a mixture of red and orange or yellow
  • 4 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 tsp. Kosher or Pickling salt
  • 6 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 6 star anise
  • 3 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 3 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 6-500 ml. jars sterilized, including lids and rims

I’ll tell you what, I’ll buy a few beets and give it a try and share how it went in an upcoming blog newsletter so make sure you subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss it.

I’ve never tried yellow or orange beets before as suggested by this recipe over at Noshing With The Nolands.

Have you? Leave me a comment below and tell me what you think.

Finance Post

I can’t stand scammers and like most people we get them calling our house all hours of the day.

The worst is when the phone rings at 5 am and I’m being told that I’m going to get arrested.

This is total bull-shite and makes me so angry that people show up to a call centre to get paid to scam.

Since the Covid-virus more scams have hit the Canadian scene that we need to be aware of.

That’s why I’m doing my part by sharing what is already out there to reach a bigger audience.

I hope you will do the same by telling everyone you know about these new Covid-19 scams shared by the Canadian Anti-fraud centre.

As of February 29, 2020

  • Canadian reports of fraud:
    (46,317 in 2019)
  • Canadian victims of fraud:
    (19,285 in 2019)
  • Lost to fraud:
    ($98M in 2019)

— Cleaning or heating companies offering duct cleaning services or filters to protect from COVID-19 offering “special” air filters.

— Local and provincial hydro/electrical power companies threatening to disconnect power for non-payment.

You can read the full list at

Mr. CBB’s Motivational Corner

Make Today Count

If there’s something that you want to do today, do it.

I know it may seem unconventional to just say, “do it” as everything doesn’t happen that easily.

However, if it’s something you’re passionate about such as wanting to donate blood at the Canadian Blood Services then go!

I’m not sure what’s on your mind but write it out and figure it out and stop letting opportunities pass you by.

Gardening Season 2020

green asparagus

Now that we are a couple of days into Spring and planting season I thought I’d take the opportunity to bring back my Gardening Season.

This is where I will share with you tips and tricks for growing vegetables, fruits and flowers.

I’m a huge fan of being able to save money by living off the land and am thrilled to see my hard work growing.

Starting off the season I found this wonderful post about how to grow asparagus which is a perennial vegetable.

This means that it can grow over and over for up to 30 years without even doing anything.

I’ve been asparagus hunting many times with my Father-in-law and I can tell you without a  doubt when the seeds blow they grow everywhere.

So, if you live in a rural area and there are vegetable farmers who grow asparagus for customers start searching the ditches.

I bet you’ll be surprised when you start finding them but you’ll need a good eye.

Perhaps I will write a blog post about it if you’d like.

Just comment below and I’ll share with you what we did so you can add this to your Spring bucket list.

Home and Blog Update

Here we are 2020 and a new year of our exclusive blog and home updates.

Subscribe and get exclusive behind the scene newsletter emails from me featuring photos, contests, and updates not posted on the blog.

Home Update

Spring garden seeds

You may have noticed there were a few days I was missing from the blog and that’s because we had another serious family emergency.

Thankfully, things are better now and we can move forward and pray nothing more happens to our loved one.

Also, thanks for your patience and kind words of support during that time.

Virus Taking Over The World But We Won’t Let You Win

Well, we all know about what is happening around the world right now so like most people we are keeping busy indoors.

Every day we do go out for a family walk or play with our son outside the front of the house.

He’s so full of energy I have to wear him out like I did the dog when he was around just to get him to chill.

I can see a big difference in him not being at school and being home.

I’ve also taken the opportunity to start cleaning up the yard now that the snow is gone.

The next time we get out to shop hopefully I can find some basil seeds although I need to go through the seed packets we already have.

Now is the time to start growing your garden seedlings and since we have a sunroom we can leave them in there to sprout.

If you don’t a ledge or table in your house works just as good.

So, I bought a new toy for the summer that I’ve been needing for years and finally found a deal and went for it. 

If you want to know what I bought, subscribe to the blog as I’ll be sharing that info with you next Friday, March 27th in my next update.

Parents who have school-age children at home Scholastic Canada as created a free education learning hub for students and teachers.

While our children have an extended March break if you are looking for free educational resources check it out.

We will be starting it with our son on Monday.

How’s your week been given the circumstances?

Are you still working?

What do you do and how have you been coping?

Leave me your comments below.

Until next update,

Be safe


Blog Update

Finally, CBB has a Birthday Freebie Page although my designer is working on a cover photo. 

Please if you see anything that has missed email me the link and I’ll get it up right away.

We’re working on updating the Ultimate Grocery Guide which isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Keep an eye on that page to see how it turns out hopefully in the coming week or two.

Next, you’ll find the Free Resources page updated and password protected as well I may offer a little something to new subscribers.

For current subscribers, you’ll get the password sent to you so you’ll have lifetime access.

What do you all think about me doing a blog post on how to create a budget binder as we use at home?

It’s not going to be full of fluffy lowers and covers, just straight to the point budget binder.

Leave me your thoughts on that below, please.

Also, if you are a subscriber and read my bi-weekly newsletter please comment below with your feedback on it.

When you tell me what you like or don’t like it helps me to look at other options I may have forgotten or missed.

Lastly, What is something that you would LIKE to see on CBB but is not here? It could be an informative page, budget binder printables, specific lists, etc?  Comment below.

Saturday Search Term Giggles

kermit the frog

Every week I get tens of thousands of people who visit Canadian Budget Binder because they searched online and found my blog.

Yes, I can see your search terms and sometimes they are funny, educational and worth sharing.

If you see the acronym (SIC) next to a word that means I’ve copied the text exactly as it was typed in Google and it has spelling errors.

You may also notice that the English is broken or just typed into Google with short-form or acronyms.

  • Sample Mall Rent Reduction Letter To Landlord- This is sad and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
  • Carrot Manmade with Ginger– Haha, you mean Carrot Marmalade with Ginger.
  • What is secure to buy with my Canada Cash? – Um, Cash is King.
  • Why No Frills asks if the receipt is needed? – Well, if you don’t have one you can’t return your items or cash in using Checkout51. Perhaps they are on an environmental mission to cut-back on paper. 

That’s all for this week my friends, see you again in 2 weeks for the next Saturday Weekend Review!


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