Let’s face it, 2020 has been an awful year. It’s likely that you or someone you know has been significantly financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Either you lost your job or saw reduced hours, or maybe you caught the virus and had to stay home from work for weeks without pay. This pandemic has put many of us in a difficult financial situation, so we thought it would be a good time to go over some money-saving tips everyone should follow.
I know that local restaurants have been devastated by this crisis, and we should support small businesses whenever we can, but eating out is so much more expensive than preparing your own meals. Cooking for yourself can be really fun! Especially when you throw some music on and involve a friend or significant other. Buy the raw ingredients at your local grocery store, pick up a cookbook if you really want to go old-school, and make yourself a delicious meal that you’ve never made before. Nine times out of ten it will turn out well and you may discover a new passion for cooking. And you’ll save money.
Live sports are back (sort of) and that can be one incentive for maintaining your cable subscription. But if you get rid of the cable to save money, I don’t think you’ll miss it too much. If you really love television content, there are many other cheaper ways to get it (Netflix is the obvious choice here!) And if that’s not enough, try rotating through the various streaming services every month. Keep Netflix for this month while you watch Cobra Kai, then cancel and switch over to Disney+ in November for season 2 of The Mandalorian (maybe this is just me). You get the idea. You can access a huge library of streaming content for just $10/month.
The COVID-19 pandemic has scared people away from thrift stores, but I can assure you that these second-hand retailers are following proper health guidelines, disinfecting their merchandise and stores, and want to keep their shoppers safe. On average, you can save 50% off your clothes shopping by going to thrift stores. Plus, there’s the added thrill of the hunt and satisfaction of finding that one, awesome item you just can’t get anywhere else.
Yes, it can be inconvenient to carry all those loyalty program cards around with you, and a pain in the butt to dig them out at the cash register, but those savings can add up quickly. It costs you nothing to join these programs and you don’t have to change any shopping habits if you do. Just use the card whenever you happen to be at that particular store.
Speaking of shopping, when you are at the grocery story buying those amazing fresh ingredients for your new home cooking passion, make a list and stick with it. We spend so much more than we need to when we shop without a plan. Set a monthly budget for groceries, and stick with it. I’d also recommend trying the online “shop from home” option that most stores now offer. That way you can pick out exactly what you need, see how much it costs, and have it delivered or ready to pick up at your convenience. You’ll save time and money. Oh, and go with the no-name or generic brands whenever you can, there’s no real difference in quality.
Hang in there. As they say, we’re all in this together. Things will get better. In the meantime, save a bit of cash to help ease the stress.