In the past year, the whole world has come to a stop thanks to the global coronavirus pandemic. Millions of people worldwide have been locked down in their homes, making everyday life look very different. Not only has the pandemic changed the way that we teach our children, buy our groceries and entertain ourselves, but it has also affected the way that we work.
Many employees have been lucky enough to be able to move their careers to their homes. Using email and video conferencing platforms at home, some workers have been able to stay in their positions. However, with so many businesses closing during the pandemic, record-breaking numbers of people are now out of work, in the interim period of unemployment least temporarily.
In addition to all the other changes brought forth by the pandemic, many people are struggling to make ends meet. Hopefully, businesses will slowly begin to recover as vaccines continue to be administered worldwide, but in the interim period of unemployment, it can be a challenge to avoid financial hardships.
Even if you are struggling to make ends meet, there are always things that you can do to save money. Reviewing your subscriptions and getting a new car insurance quote are just a few things that can help you reduce your expenses. The most important thing to remember is that your priority should be your rent or mortgage, utility payments, and food.
During hard times like the pandemic, those are the most important things that you need to maintain. Let’s take a look at a few frugal ways to save during the pandemic.
TRACK YOUR SPENDING
Many of us don’t know what our monthly paychecks are going towards.
Once your bills are paid, what is left over may slip through your fingers faster than you expect. An excellent place to start when you are trying to save money is to track your spending over the next month. Keep track of every cent you are spending to give you a better overview of where your money is going. Once you have your spending habits on paper in front of you, it will be easier to see where you can make changes and cuts.
The average person spends over $100 a week on take-out food.
This includes drive-thru lunches, morning gourmet coffees, and pizza deliveries for dinner. You may be surprised to learn that for $100, you could fill your fridge and freezer with groceries that will last you much longer than a week.
One of the easiest ways to cut your spending is to eat in. Pack a “bagged lunch” with healthy snacks and visit your local grocery store for some great dinner ingredients at home. Now is a great time to discover your inner chef. Don’t forget to start home brewing your coffee to save a bundle of money.
CREATE EMERGENCY FUNDS
If you don’t already have an emergency fund, now is the time to start one. If you are still working, you already know how lucky you are during this period of uncertainty. Opening a high-interest savings account to put away a bit of money each week can help you to be prepared for any emergency.
CUT ENERGY USAGE
When money is tight, every little bit counts.
Becoming more energy conscious can help you reduce your utility bills every month. Turn down your thermostat and put on a sweater to help you save a bit of cash. Installing a Smart Thermostat could save you up to 40% on your heating and cooling costs by taking advantage of AI programs that will learn your household habits and turn them on only when needed.
Many people are spending more time at home during the pandemic. This can lead to higher energy bills if you aren’t acting wisely. Close the doors in your house to the rooms that aren’t used regularly so that you won’t be heating unnecessary areas.
Make sure to turn off the lights in your rooms when you leave and switch over to LED bulbs to save more on your energy consumption and costs.
Twenty bucks here and there for that extra cable package or magazine subscription may not seem like much until you come upon tough financial times.
When you make a list of all of your subscriptions, including entertainment, magazines, newspapers, and monthly gift boxes, you may be surprised at how much you are spending. Take a hard look at the essential subscriptions and either put the others on hold or cancel them until you are back in financial shape.
START A GARDEN
One of the benefits of the pandemic is that it has given people more time to do the things that they love, including gardening.
More families have started a garden on their properties in the past year than in the past decade. The desire to become more food independent has prompted many to get out their heirloom seeds and get to work. Many growers turn to their gardens with lineups and shortages at many local grocery stores as an essential food source.
Planting herbs and vegetables can go a long way to saving you money and providing delicious nutrition.
NEGOTIATE WITH CREDITORS
During the pandemic, many companies, service providers, and lenders have softened their repayment policies.
If you are having trouble paying some of your debts, it’s essential to stay in touch with your creditors. Many debts like student loans and mortgage payments now qualify for limited deferment, giving you more time to repay your debt.
Talk to your creditors today about your situation and renegotiate a repayment schedule that will help you stay on track.
LOWER INSURANCE PREMIUMS
Car insurance is an essential expense, but you don’t have to pay a fortune to get the coverage you need.
If you are paying high premiums, it’s time to make some changes. You can start by shopping around and comparing insurance prices, and it could be time to change companies if you can get better prices elsewhere.
You can also talk to your current insurance provider about lowering your rates. Here are a few things you can do to bring down your insurance premiums:
- Qualify for a safe driver discount
- Ask about senior and military discounts.
- Increase your deductible
- Bundle your policies for home, car, and life coverage
COVID-19 has changed the way that we live life, including how we think about money. If you are struggling with your finances during this time due to work shortages and layoffs, it’s time to rethink your budget.
Follow these frugal tips to help you save money during the pandemic, and remember that we are all in this together.