Simple steps to help you take control of debt
(NC) For many people, debt is a fact of life— a situation the COVID-19 pandemic has made worse for some Canadians.
According to a COVID-19 financial well-being survey conducted by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, over half of Canadians have been financially impacted by the pandemic.
In these challenging times, it’s a good idea to have a realistic plan to pay back your debt.
Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Identify what you owe
Make a list and for each one, list the total amount you owe, your minimum monthly payment and the interest rate.
Decide on a strategy
Create your plan:
- Choose a timeframe that is reasonable and affordable.
- Decide which debts to pay off first, depending on the type and considering things like interest rates.
- Work directly with your bank and creditors to discuss your financial situation.
Review your budget
If you don’t have a budget, take some time to make one. Having a budget that lays out your income and expenses is an effective way to manage your day-to-day finances. It will help you figure out how much money you get, spend and save.
Consolidate your debts
You may consider applying for a loan or line of credit to pay off multiple debts with high interest rates. Consolidating your debts means you’ll only have to make one monthly payment rather than paying each one individually, and the interest rate could potentially be lower. Contact your financial institution to discuss whether this is an option that could work for you.
Managing debt isn’t always easy, but there are resources to help you. Find unbiased and fact-based information you can count on at canada.ca/money.
Drinking water: Should you be worried about lead?
(NC) As clean water travels through pipes towards your tap, it can pick up contaminants. One of these could be lead. It’s important to reduce exposure to lead as much as possible, because even low concentrations can negatively impact your health.
If you suspect lead is present in your drinking water, keep yourself and your family safe by following these steps:
1. Flush out your pipes
Run the tap until it’s cold before drinking or cooking with it, particularly if the water has been sitting in your pipes for several hours. Use only cold tap water for drinking or cooking, since heat increases the leaching of lead and other metals from your plumbing into the water.
2. Inspect and clean your taps
Every month, inspect and clean the aerators or screens at the tap. If you find debris, clean it out. This will remove any particles that may contain lead.
3. Replace brass fittings
Brass faucets and valves can contain some lead. Replace them with fittings certified to low lead content standards.
4. Consider a household water filter at the tap
If you know there is lead in your tap water, you can use a filter. The filter must be installed and maintained properly, or it could become ineffective. Make sure that any device you purchase is certified to the NSF International standard for removal of lead. Test your water for lead before installation and during use of the filter to confirm it is working properly.
This option is recommended as a temporary or interim step until a solution that addresses the source of lead can be completed (such as replacing a lead service line).
Find more information on keeping a healthy home at canada.ca/healthy-home
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