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~An unexpected gift is the sweetest kind~

During the month of April, we shared our love of Fridays (& cookies) with some hard-working people in town. Funny how a simple, unexpected box of cookies can make someone’s day! I had to privilege of dropping cookies with accountants and bookkeepers, for whom April can be especially busy! I left a few boxes with our local emergency personnel, who were hard at work on a holiday Friday when most of us were off work and sleeping in! And, for my last week of cookie-gifting, I was able to share with a group of hardworking volunteers in our community, dedicated to making our downtown a little safer, and who foster a sense of belonging in our community. Want to see some of our fun? Check out our facebook page!

But what about that one Friday where there were no cookies?

There was one Friday in April though that didn’t see any cookies handed out. I did get a few questions, asking if I forgot, or perhaps ran out, but no…..those aren’t the reason. As a professional who sees the financial strain behind parents trying to get the hours in and still make the soccer game, Moms juggling careers and kids, and Dads balancing kid schedules with client emails (not an exhaustive list by any means!), I recognize family is important. You see, one of the mis-conceptions about those in financial trouble is that they need to work more hours, get a better job, or make wiser choices. While I’ll save addressing those comments for another time, one of the things I often hear is that people in financial difficulty miss being able to connect with others. It’s a little-known side-effect of being in financial difficulty, but one that impacts more than just the bottom line.


“people in financial difficulty miss being able to connect with others. It’s a little-known side-effect of being in financial difficulty”

As part of our process, every person who files a bankruptcy or consumer proposal is required to compile a spending plan, or a budget. Often when we reach the budget items such as ‘kids activities’, ‘recreation’, or ‘pets’, the comments I hear are that there’s no time, or money for such ‘luxuries’.  When I encourage them to allocate even a nominal amount, and to find activities that they would enjoy, they are surprised that these expenses should be part of a healthy budget. The reality is that these things don’t need to be costly, and finding an affordable activity to be involved in, or enjoy with family and friends, can lift the depression that for so many has become a part of their financial journey. To keep costs low, I urge clients to consider applying for Kidsport funding to assist with the cost of kids recreation, to volunteer at their local pet shelter for a budget-friendly way to enjoy a pet (Brandon’s Humane Society or the NWT SPCA would love to have you walk a dog or cuddle a kitten!). You can also contact your local library to check out free, or low cost special-interest programming for all ages (Both the Yellowknife library  and the Brandon Library offer programming!). Even your local gym might extend you a guest membership, or host an open house day to allow you to flex your muscles!

 So on the week when I took some time off from the usual cookie delivery, I spent it making memories with a special young lady, celebrating her birthday. While I wasn’t able to deliver cookies to others, we were able to share her large birthday cookie (her choice, instead of cake!) with our family.  Family time and connecting with others, no matter how that looks for you, is an important part of finding financial direction. Be sure to include room in your budget (& schedule) to connect!

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