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How can you make the most of your $400 to $600 cheque?

November 24, 2022

The Government of Quebec has announced that Quebecers will receive a non-taxable payment of $400 to $600 to help them cope with the rising cost of living. Here's what you need to know. 

By Audrey Pigeon, youth reporter for Desjardins

How much you get will be calculated based on the income you reported in 2021. A person with a net income of less than $50,000 will receive $600. For those earning more than $50,000, the amount will gradually decrease to $400 starting at $54,000. Then, starting at $100,000, the $400 will gradually decrease to $0 for incomes of $104,000 or more.

The payments will be made from late November to late December. The government won't text or email you to remind you to deposit your cheque. If you're already signed up for direct deposit with Revenu Québec, the money will be deposited directly into your account.

Anyone who is 18 or older on December 31, 2022, and filed a tax return in 2021 will automatically receive the amount they're entitled to. If you haven't filed a tax return, you have until June 2023 to do so. 

What should you do with the money?

The cheques aren't exactly a surprise—they're an election promise from François Legault. But not everyone thinks they're a good idea. Some say handing out cheques isn't a good way to get a handle on inflation. 

But that debate aside, it's a good idea to start thinking about what you'll do with the money once it lands in your account. The money may seem like a windfall, but don't get carried away if you want to use it responsibly! 

For ideas on how to do just that, I met with Kevin Sitaya, a financial advisor at Desjardins. Here are my takeaways:

1. Pay down your student debt

If you have a variable rate loan such as a student line of credit, you can repay part of it to save on interest. 

"With interest rates going up, you need to be thinking about paying off loans and other debts."

2. Put money into your savings

Setting some of the money aside in a savings account is smart, thanks to higher interest rates on guaranteed investments. That means you'll have the chance to do even more with the money you save! 

"My advice is to not spend it all. Plan and organize what you want to do [with the money]."

3. Treat yourself

Before you start shopping, though, ask yourself if it's really necessary. Black Friday is coming soon, and so are all the temptations. You may be able to snag a few deals, but does the stuff you want meet a real need or is it just impulse buying?

"Remember, the cheque you receive is meant to help offset the rising cost of living. So think about paying for groceries before ordering the latest iPhone. Put necessities first."

4. Save toward a goal

Whether it's a trip, a new car, or a business venture, this cheque could help move you closer to your goal. 

"It can be hard to save up money as fast as you'd like when you're working toward multiple goals. So why not consider [the cheque] as a financial helping hand?"

The options presented here can help you make the most of your cheque, but there's no perfect solution. Everyone has their own financial issues to deal with. Splitting the amount is another possibility. You could splurge on a treat, put some money in savings, and pay down some of your debt! 

If you'd like more tips and tools on how to effectively manage your personal finances, check out this article. It's got some great tips on how to maintain healthy financial habits.

Audrey Pigeon is a youth reporter for Desjardins. Her role is to create original content that covers social issues from a youth perspective.