The Coronavirus pandemic has thrown many lives into disarray. With businesses collapsing and unemployment rapidly increasing around the world, nothing is certain. Therefore, you must protect the money you do have currently. Saving money is essential right now, so here are a few tips you could use during these unfortunate times.
Saving during the Coronavirus pandemic – why it is important
Saving during COVID-19 is essential because everything we used to take for granted is now uncertain. Making your money stretch should be a priority because we have no real idea when or if the situation is going to improve. This is why saving money should take precedence.
Contact your service providers
First, make contact with your service providers to find out if they are offering any payment breaks for people that have been affected by the Coronavirus. Some providers like phone companies and insurance companies are offering discounts and payment breaks for their customers.
Second, it is advisable to have a chat with any lenders to make them aware of your current financial situation.
Lastly, if you have a cable or digital television subscription, consider canceling it to save some pennies. There is plenty of free content available online, so save some extra money by reducing the amount of money you spend on things like entertainment and cell phone bills.
Adjust your lifestyle
Now is the time to take a very serious look at your lifestyle and adjust it accordingly. For example, do you constantly buy takeout food? Are you guilty of impulse buying and overspending unnecessarily? You might need to fix that by taking an honest look at the money you spend on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Practice focused grocery shopping
It is often tempting to splurge and spend more money than necessary when it comes to grocery shopping. However, the pandemic is the perfect time to focus on budgeting your money. Here are some tips:
- Make a budget and stick to it
- Take a list with you to the grocery store
- Cut coupons and use them
- Avoid packaged fruits and vegetables and buy fresh and freeze yourself
- Meal prep – example, marinate and freeze your meat to speed up cooking time (if you already have food prepared at home, you will feel less tempted to eat out)
- Buy dried goods in bulk
- Eat simple meals
- Use up what you bought before buying more
- Buy snacks and juices in bulk and make grab-and-go snack packs for the kids
- Use your loyalty cards
- Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach
- Do a monthly food audit to ensure that you don’t keep purchasing the same thing repeatedly
- Try unbranded products
- Avoid buying items you don’t need just because they are on sale
- Don’t overspend, buy in bulk but don’t go overboard
Avoid buying non-essential items
It is tempting to spend Saturday afternoons purchasing non-essential items online or from your local store, but these tiny purchases start to add up. Consequently, to avoid spending unnecessarily, give yourself a cooling-off period before pulling out your debit card—learn to identify wants and needs.
For example, you are eyeing some nice shoes that will look perfect with your little black dress. Do you really need them? Or do you just want them? Think about it for a day or two and you will probably be better off putting the $100 you planned on spending into your savings.
Set savings goals
If you don’t already have an emergency fund, start building one now. As we stressed above, the Coronavirus pandemic has plunged many into financial uncertainty. An emergency fund can keep you afloat and help you avoid slipping into debt.
In addition, make sure your savings goals are realistic and feasible. You should always make sure your necessities are paid first. Then, set aside what you can spare comfortably—even $350 can make a big difference in a pinch!
Get a side hustle
Lots of people have transitioned from a normal 9-to-5 job to working remotely from home. This often means you spend more time on the job because there are fewer boundaries in place between work life and home life. Of course, you don’t want to overwork yourself, but you might want to consider taking on a manageable side hustle to help make some extra money during the pandemic.
There are plenty of opportunities online such as online writing, transcription work, teaching English online, online tutoring, data entry, administration work and more. We are living in a gig economy and there are always opportunities to make extra money on the internet. You can even use this time to work on your passion, which could eventually bring in even more money.
Get refunds for service you can no longer use
Services that have been closed down such as gyms and paid libraries can no longer be used. Therefore, you are entitled to a refund for these services. Make sure you get in touch with them and ask for a refund. The extra money you saved can be used for grocery shopping or you can even put the money into your new emergency fund.
Claim money you are entitled to
Find out how much you could be entitled to receive from government funding or benefits. You could be eligible for some financial help during this time, so claim whatever is available to you and save or invest it.
To conclude, saving money is necessary regardless of COVID-19, but, at this time, it is crucial. Budgeting your money and boosting your emergency fund will reduce anxiety, and it will help you to keep your head above water during these uncertain times.