Category: Helpful Information
The economic uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic has been frustrating for many people. Millions lost their jobs and are struggling financially as businesses around the globe shut down. Those who are lucky enough to have not lost their source of income don’t feel as financially safe as they used to. Everyone has been reconsidering their spending habits as it is unclear how the economic recovery will go once the health crisis is managed. A survey from Bankrate showed that 52 percent of people have already cut their spending because of concerns about the economy and stock market.
Regardless of the income situation, there is a need for everybody to get their finances in order to make it through this crisis. Fortunately, there are some actions that you can take to save more and protect your finances during this time. Even with an uncertain economic future, proper financial moves will benefit and make you thank yourself later.
It’s a great time to take a close look at your spending. Start with listing all income sources you have, such as a job, government benefits, unemployment, etc. Then list your mandatory monthly expenses, like utility payments, rent, car loans, and so on. Spendings that don’t have a set payment (groceries, gas, etc.) should be included in your list as well. Create line-item budgets for each category and check every couple of weeks if your spendings don’t exceed your budget.
You might also want to be financially prepared for the time when the quarantine is over. During the lockdown, common categories of spendings, such as traveling, entertainment and so on, are unavailable. It’s a good idea to make a plan for your spendings for the time when businesses start reopening.
If you want to save more, you should consider transferring any credit card balances you have to a card that offers 0 percent interest on balance transfers for the first 12 to 18 months. According to experts, this move will give you some time to pay down the balance interest-free so you can keep more cash on hand for turbulent times. To ensure it actually saves you money or extends the time you have to pay off the debt without excessive interest, look for no- or low-fee transfers and do your research on any new credit cards before committing.
If you haven’t set up autopay for your payments yet, it’s time to think about switching to this option. Today, you can set up autopay for almost all bills and payments you make, from subscriptions and phone payments to your savings.
With this feature, you won’t miss any important payment. Also, some lenders provide rewards or discounts for switching to the autopay option. For example, some phone providers offer a dollar amount or percentage off your bill every month with autopay. Contact your provider or lender to check if they offer autopay benefits and whether you qualify for them.
While you are following stay-at-home orders, your electricity bills can go up as they are directly related to your usage. However, there is still a way to pay less for your electricity bill even if you spend more time at home.
As it’s getting warmer and you are stuck at home, you might use air conditioning a lot. Instead of keeping your A/C running, you can open the windows and enjoy the fresh air while it’s not too hot outside. Also, ceiling fans use less energy than air conditioners, so it makes sense to keep them running instead of A/C. Another way to save on electricity bills is to switch to LED lightbulbs that are way more energy-efficient than traditional lighting. You can also install a dimmer and use motion sensors so lights and air kick on only when you enter a room.
Take your time at home to review your subscriptions. If you have a beauty box, wine box or even a BarkBox for your pet delivered to your door every month, it’s time to reconsider whether you actually need all of them. If these boxes are stocking up, you might want to ask yourself whether they are essential for you during the quarantine. By canceling a couple of those subscriptions, you’ll save some money for more important things.
Don’t forget to go through your digital subscriptions, such as App Store, HBO, Spotify, Hulu, etc. You might be charged monthly for the apps you don’t use anymore or for the streaming service that you subscribed to watch one show. Make a list of all subscriptions and get rid of those that you don’t need anymore.
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