3 Ways to Stop Overspending During These Times

Given the current pandemic that continues, you’re most likely more mindful of your finances these days. Even if you have a budget set up, you may still find that money feels a little tight right now. The last thing you want to do in these current times, is rack up unnecessary debt or spend too much money. Here are 3 easy ways to stop overspending.

Cut back on takeout: It’s great to support local businesses right now, but don’t overdo it. Have you been consistently making trips to your favorite fast food drive thru or ordering takeout/delivery? If your takeout budget has increased, your grocery budget needs to decrease. Be mindful of what you are spending on food and if the takeout is taking over your budget.

Pay with cash: After you pay your bills for the month, try to use cash for anything else. Other than necessities that you may still want to purchase online for health and safety reasons, are you shopping online and using a card just to pass the time or buy items you don’t really need? Using cash may prevent you from adding that one extra item to your Amazon or other online shopping cart.

Make do with what you have: Delayed events are happening all over. Movies and concerts have either been pushed back or cancelled. As much as you might want to spend money you normally would spend on summer concert tickets on something else, keep it in your savings account. For now – watch a movie on Netflix you haven’t seen yet, or on your cable network’s free on demand movies. You can also login to YouTube and view a past live concert at no cost. There are many ways to improvise and save money!

 

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

5 Ways Being Home Can Save You Money

As the public health emergency continues, what are you up to these days – working from home? Taking fewer trips? Eating at home more? Chances are, you’re probably saving money on gas and your usual food tab.

Hopefully, there are other areas where you’ve been able to save money as well. Check out these tips below that can help save you money whether you’re quarantined or not!

Unplug It

How many devices do you leave plugged in during the day? Did you know that even in standby mode, any electronic device that is plugged in will still suck energy?

Energy.gov reports that “an appliance constantly taking in 1 watt of electrical current is equivalent to 9kWh per year, adding up in annual costs (basically $1/watt/annual). Considering how many appliances are used in an average household, costs can quickly add up to $100-200 a year.”

If you’re not using it, unplug it. Or, use a power strip that can be turned off. It’ll save you money in the long run!

Save Water

You might be tempted to throw half a normal load of wash in, but first ask yourself – are there enough dirty clothes to make it worth it or do you have an energy efficient load sensing washing machine? Another tip to conserving energy is washing in cold water when you can, since the majority of your machine’s energy consumption happens when it needs to heat the water.

While you’re home – conserve water by taking shorter showers. If each member of your family reduces their shower time by 3 minutes, you’ll save about $100 a year on your water bill.

Check Your Policies

You’ve probably seen the car insurance commercials advertising a credit to customer accounts. Check into that. Give your insurance company a call or check your account online. Most companies are giving their customers a 15 percent credit because they aren’t driving as much. In some cases, customers are getting a $150 credit added to their policy for the duration.

Don’t sleep on the chance to save some money on your auto insurance. While you’re at it, check on your other policies and accounts. You might find other places offering a similar discount to help out their customers.

Cool It Now

What is your thermostat set on? If you’ve adjusted your thermostat during the day now that you’re working from home more, you might want to tweak that a bit to offset the cost.

Find Your New Normal

We’ve all said it – “when things get back to normal.” But now we’re all in the position to redefine what normal looks like for us. Take a moment to reevaluate your priorities and budget. Are their unnecessary subscriptions you can cut? Is there a magazine, streaming service or even gym membership that is no longer valuable because you’ve found an alternative? If so, cut those from your budget and save some money each month.

Article Source: https://www.schlage.com/blog/categories/2020/05/5-ways-to-save-money-at-home.html

 

Smart Reasons to Live Below Your Means Right Now

Having things and buying items is great, but life can still be amazing even when it’s simple. Cooking meals at home more often will definitely help you save money, and many are probably realizing that due to the recent pandemic. When was the last time you used your credit card just to shop? You are most likely not doing it as often as you used to. Living a modest lifestyle can actually be very satisfying. Even if you haven’t missed a single day of work due to COVID-19, here are a few reasons to live below your means anyway.

You’ll pay off debt faster: Debt is not cheap, which you probably know. If you’ve ever had to swipe your credit card for an unexpected bill you know it can sometimes take years to pay it back. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it’s probably even worse. These days during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re spending has probably slowed down – but if you focus on cutting back even more, it will provide you with an opportunity to pay down your debt even faster.

You can still have amazing experiences: Sometimes we remember the items we spent our money on years ago, and may regret those purchases thinking that we actually wasted our hard earned dollars on them. However if you really think about it, what most individuals remember are the people and experiences in our lives. Once things start to return to normal, most will want to have those experiences with the people that they’re unable to spend time with right now.

You’ll teach your children: Don’t let your kids see you trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” it only teaches them that material things and spending money are important. You want your children to learn to appreciate the little things in life. Recently staying at home and spending time together as a family and playing outside has probably shown them exactly that. Plus, this may also teach them to be a lot more frugal when they’re spending their own money one day.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

Costs You Can Cut to Save Money During the Pandemic

If you’ve been affected by COVID-19 due to unemployment or reduced hours (or even if you haven’t been affected in this way), it’s extremely important to focus on saving money and not spending money on items that are not absolutely necessary during this time.

Here is a list of suggested items you may want to consider cutting out during the Coronavirus pandemic:

  • Subscriptions – You might be stuck at home, but if paying for a multitude of subscription services like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, and the like are strapping your monthly budget, it’s time to temporarily suspend them. Or, if there’s one you use more so than some others in particular – keep one subscription service you are actually using.
  • Gym membership – More than likely your gym has been closed for the past two months, are you still paying for a facility you haven’t been able to use and may not be able to use for some time? See if you can have a hold placed on your membership, or if you can cancel and take advantage of exercising outdoors in the nice weather or utilizing free online workouts instead.
  • Services you can DIY – If you’re home on a daily basis, are you still paying for a lawn mowing service or yard maintenance? If so, this might be something you want to consider tackling yourself to save on monthly bills. Plus – you’ll get to enjoy the sunlight and fresh air.
  • Expensive cable packages – If you are paying for extra sports channels that aren’t even showing any sports right now because they’re cancelled, or premium channels like HBO and Showtime – call your cable company and temporarily suspend them. Anything you can do to make your bill less during this time is advisable. If you can cut out cable TV altogether and just pay for one streaming service, even better. Also, try not to order on-demand movies either during this time. That will continually make your monthly bill increase. Instead, see what free movies might be available.
  • Non-essential food expenses – Cooking at home is a big money saver. If you are continually having food delivered or buying takeout for your meals, costs can really add up. If you can, try to cook your meals at home and only order takeout once in awhile for a special treat on a weekend.
  • Shopping – While retail stores and malls are closed, you may instead be doing a lot of online shopping these days. Even if an online retailer is having a sale, is the item something you really need? Really evaluate all your expenses before you click “add to cart.”
  • Driving around – You might be itching to get out of the house, but driving around and burning through gas is going to eventually add up. Unless you have to get in your car to go to work or to an essential business, walking or jogging outside on a nice day is a much cheaper option.
  • Vacation fund contributions – If you’ve been saving money toward planning a trip, pause it for now. Since traveling is out of the question for the near future, put these contributions into an emergency savings account instead.
  • Seasonal memberships – Take a look at what might be coming up that you won’t be able to participate in like usual (swim club, sports season, theme park, etc). Make sure you aren’t being automatically billed for events you won’t be able to partake in this spring and summer.
  • Gifts – Since celebrations have been put on hold, take the funds you would have spent on them and put it in your emergency savings account.
  • Bottled water – This is a nice to have, but definitely not a necessity. You’ll save a great deal more money by making a one-time purchase on a refillable filtered water pitcher.

By reducing expenses of non-essential items, you can increase the amount you save to make sure you’re still able to pay your bills or have some money in savings if you need it. The last thing you want to do in a financial environment like the current one we are in, is to put yourself in debt. Stay financially safe and healthy!

Article Source: Gabrielle Olya for Gobankingrates.com