Did you lose your job or have your hours significantly cut because of the pandemic? If you’ve been furloughed, or impacted financially because of COVID-19, it may be time to reduce your spending. Here’s how to get started on the path to fiscal responsibility:
Track Your Family Budget
Set a realistic monthly budget and track all of your expenses to the penny. You don’t have a budget?!?! You need to! Use an online budget tracker. There are lots of free apps, like Mint and PocketGuard, designed to help you track your expenses and stay on sound financial footing. If you don’t want computer convenience, use an old-fashioned pen and pad. Just be sure to include every expense, especially those that come quarterly instead of monthly.
Eat with the Family at Home
As more restaurants open up, you may be tempted to eat out again, or to go back to your favorite place for a daily cup of coffee. Stick with preparing your own meals—and your own coffee—for now. It’s quick and easy, and it can save you money in the long run. Pro tip: Use your grocery store’s weekly ads to find out what will be on sale and use it to plan your meals ahead of time.
Use Coupons to Save Money
Speaking of those weekly ads, it’s not just grocery stores that offer discounts. There are several websites that offer codes and coupons for discounts and rebates on food, beauty products, cleaning supplies, and more. Make a habit of checking them every week, along with the websites of your grocery store and local retailers. You never know what deals you may find. But don’t buy things you don’t need just because they’re cheap.
Cut Out the Cable Bill
Cut the cord on your cable bill. Don’t worry—that doesn’t mean you have to throw away your television too. Streaming services can be a cheaper alternative to traditional cable, and they typically update their libraries every month. And if selection doesn’t matter to you, you can use a digital antenna to get local channels for free.
Renegotiate Phone and Internet Contracts
When was the last time you took a look at your phone bill? Or the one from your internet provider? Big companies often roll out discounted plans for new customers. As an existing customer, you might also be able to find savings. But only if you ask!
Buy Generic Brands
Generic and store-branded products are often cheaper than name brands. That doesn’t necessarily mean the quality is less. It just means the store doesn’t need to spend money marketing and manufacturing the product, so the savings is passed on to you, the customer. Sometimes big brands will even produce the same exact products in different packaging.
Find Free Entertainment for the Family
If your local library has reopened, it can be a great place to start since it offers books and DVDs that you can borrow. Many apps also offer podcasts, books, games, and streaming services for free or through free trials. And for outdoor activities, try a backyard camp-out, or go for a walk on a nature trail or in your neighborhood. You don’t have to spend money to have a good time.
Sell Old Items Online
When was the last time you cleaned out your house? You probably didn’t have time before, but now that you do, you may be able to make some money from it. Old clothes, books, toys, and other household items that you don’t need or use can be turned into cash with a little effort. Websites like Ebay, Poshmark, and Mercari make it easy to post your items and sell them quickly.
At Charter College, we know there’s a time to save—and to invest—your money. If you’re ready to invest in you, we’re here to help. We offer a variety of programs in Business, Health Care, Information Technology, and some Trades. Call us today at 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.