OTTAWA -- As the COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease, a financial expert suggests this is a good time to re-examine your household budget to see if you can save money now and moving forward.

Money Coaches Canada Certified Financial Planner Janet Gray tells CTV News Ottawa she has heard anecdotally from people that they are spending less as we enter the ninth week of physical distancing measures and business closures. However, Gray notes instead of movies, trips to the coffee shop and kids activities, “people are spending elsewhere.”

“The thing people are finding is that they’re spending more on food than they did before.”

With businesses set to reopen and more people going back to work, Gray recommends sitting down and examining your finances.

“I think you need to have your regular planned budget – pre-pandemic. Then have an isolation spend so you can be really critical and say, ‘yes, I’m not spending more and a matter of fact saving,’” says Gray.

“If people can manage their goals within the isolation – which for some people does mean an income drop – then when they go back to pre-pandemic spending, reality as we knew it, then maybe it can be easier to kind of say I didn’t miss Starbucks that much. So why don’t we take that Starbucks money and that becomes travel money or kids tuition.”

Gray says the Victoria Day long weekend is a good time to do a bit of “examination and retrospection” to see if there are ways you can trim expenses and reach your financial goals.

“If you don’t have a little bit of monitoring now, when you go back to pervious spending it will be too easy to go back to previous poor habits.”

Janet Gray of Money Coaches Canada shares seven tips for saving money during the pandemic:


Gray says you can save money by spending less on takeout and delivery. Cook at home from scratch.

Reduce fees

Gray recommends contacting your cellphone and cable providers to negotiate a lower rate and a better fitting package. You should also call your auto insurance company to see if rates can be reduced because you are driving less during the pandemic.

Subscriptions and memberships

Gray suggests cancelling any subscriptions and memberships that you no longer need or use during the pandemic, including gym memberships and online services.

Defer payments

Gray recommends contacting your mortgage broker or credit card company to see if you can defer payments until a later date.

Buy used

Buy used online to save money. Gray also suggests selling some of your unused/unwanted items to create extra cash.

Free programs

Gray says you should take advantage of all the free learning programs offered through local and international organizations and educational institutions.

Reduce non-essential spending

Gray recommends looking at your spending to see where you save money now and moving forward. Gray uses the example of your daily coffee purchase – could you go without the visit to the coffee shop and use the money to pay for a trip or pay down debt.