How to Cut Expenses During COVID-19
Uncertain times often call for unprecedented measures. For most, job security is up in the air and by now, you’re probably thinking of ways to cut expenses during COVID-19.
Truth be told, I am already looking for ways to tighten our belts and look for ways to save money while we navigate this pandemic.
Read on to discover how to cut expenses during COVID-19.
1. Research What Banks and Companies Are Doing for COVID-19
If you can’t pay any of your bills, many companies are not charging late fees and not disconnecting the service.
Contact them to see what their COVID-19 action plan is and how they can help you.
Whether it’s deferring your payments or offering flexible payment plans that can help you get through this hard time.
Phone, utility, and banks are all initiating COVID-19 plans to help consumers get through this. Just check out their websites, check out their social media for updates, and call the appropriate numbers.
Just remember, they are working with skeleton crews and the wait will be long. Be kind!
2. Pay as much as you can, when you can
We are living in tough times and they may get harder before it returns to normal. The reality is that many will experience layoffs or a drastic loss in income.
What’s worse, is that government aid may take time to kick in.
Just remember that while companies are being lenient and helping consumers, at the end of the day, you still owe that money.
Make a budget and prioritize all of your needs and commitments. Obviously, keeping your family fed and safe is of utmost importance.
A good practice to use is to pay what you can as often as you can to your bills. Make payment arrangements if you feel that you can’t pay the full amount.
While for many, it will be impossible to pay entirely, you want to come out the other end of this tunnel with your head above the water.
You can do it! Remember, there are millions in the same boat, so take a deep breath and know we will get through this.
3. Examine Your Income
If your hours have been cut or you’ve been laid off, you should start by figuring out how much income you currently have or are expecting.
Make a plan to look into what the government is offering citizens to help.
4. Preserve Your Utilities
Now is the chance to get a little greener and by doing so, save a little cash. Remind your family to turn off lights when not in use.
Take shorter showers, don’t run the water while brushing teeth, and run the dishwasher and washing machine at low peak times.
Drop the temperature in the house a degree or two and wear a sweater or open the windows if it’s warm.
By doing this, you can lower your utility bill and make it more manageable.
5. Manage all of your subscriptions
We all have different services we subscribe to. Grab a piece of paper and pen and write down everything you have a subscription for.
Start by looking at the ones you absolutely need. Do a little research and see if maybe you can downgrade the membership/subscription for the time being.
For example, do you use all the screens allotted for Netflix? If not, drop down to the basic plan. You can do this for many different types of services. Your music subscription, do all of the people on your plan use it? If not, drop down to a cheaper plan.
- Music Subscriptions (Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music)
- Meal Delivery Subscriptions
- Phone App Subscriptions
- Apple iCloud Storage
After that, take a look at the ones that you can eliminate completely. Go ahead and cancel them, remember, you can always sign up for them again later.
Maybe it’s time to cut the cord and get rid of cable or at least downgrade your packages. Many cable companies right now are offering free previews so, even if you downgrade, you have access to this.
If you cut the cable altogether, bundle your services. In the US, you can bundle Disney+, HULU, and ESPN and save.
For Canadians, Netflix is a great option and if you are an Amazon Prime member (you can sign up here for $5.99 a month), you already have access to Amazon Prime Video. We cut the cord years ago and don’t miss cable at all.
Then look at the memberships or subscriptions that you can put on hold. Your gym membership is a great example.
You can call and ask them to put it on hold for the next few months. Most gyms are doing this as part of their action plans already and require you to do nothing. It’s always good to check if you aren’t sure.
6. Don’t Overbuy Out of Fear
While I am a big proponent of being prepared (you can see my COVID-19 preparation here), I am also a big cheerleader for being realistic.
In a time when things are running scarce, so is your money. Don’t go out and buy a ridiculous amount of product in hopes of being prepared or worse with a plan to sell it.
Instead, only buy what you will need for your family in the short-term. Buy food that will keep you healthy and has nutrients and not empty calories.
Most importantly, food that lasts.
Panic buying does no one any good and it doesn’t help your wallet either. Instead, take a look at your pantry and fridge and make a list of things you need.
I’ve been using Click and Collect and Instacart (you can use my code to get $10 off your first order, I get $10 too). I’ve also been practicing a lot of patience and kindness for those who are still working to get us food.
7. Take Advantage of Low-Interest Rates
While it may not be a good thing for the economy, interest rates have plunged during this outbreak. For example, it’s a good time to see if you can find a better rate for your mortgage.
Alternatively, you can look into refinancing your home at a much lower interest rate. Which in turn, can lower your monthly payment significantly. This can help you build equity faster by putting more of your mortgage payment towards your principal balance.
8. Consolidate Your Debt
We get it, we have all been there. Trust! Not to mention, many of us will find ourselves there if we aren’t proactive.
Since interest rates in mortgages are low right now, the same can be said for other types of products.
If you are looking to manage your debt and get out of credit cards that have super high-interest rates, getting a loan or line of credit can help.
9. Build your emergency fund
Lastly, I know not everyone has the ability to have an emergency fund. The government suggests you save enough for 3-6 months.
With people losing work, it may not be possible. Though, it’s a good time to start putting a little away if you can.
Ways to Add to Fund:
- Your Tax Return (add all or at least a small portion to emergency fund)
- Use the money you would be using on (nails, hair, spa services, gym) & add to fund
- Roll in savings to your weekly budget (add a large or small strictly for savings)
You can add it to a high-yield savings account. One that is still accessible when you need it. Plus, you can earn some interest in the long-term.
For the times we are in right now, it’s a good idea to keep some cash on hand and only use it for emergencies.
You May Also Like:
- How to Protect Your Family from Coronavirus – COVID-19
- How to Help Others While Social Distancing
- 12 Ways To Save Money In 2020
- Saving Money While Living Paycheck to Paycheck
Hopefully, these tips can help you cut expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The journey will be tough for a little while but, we are resilient and we’ll pull through.
As always, consult your financial advisor for the most accurate help and action plans. These are tips that I have used and researched since I want to be proactive.
Do you have any ways to cut expenses during COVID-19?
Let me know, til then–cheers m’deres!
Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela, and wife to Darasak. They all share her insatiable wanderlust, enjoyment of good food, and sharing their adventures with the world. Nancy is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.