The pandemic has transformed the way many people live, especially when it comes to finances. If you have experienced a decreased income due to the pandemic, you may be struggling to adjust your lifestyle. Below are five ways to revamp your budget and save money during this time.
1. Research Finance Options
There may be some large purchases you are already undertaking, such as solar panels or new flooring. There may also be expensive purchases you have to make because they are necessities, such as heating and air conditioning. For these projects, financing is a great option to afford these high purchases.
For example, perhaps you have already broken ground for a new pool in your backyard. If you find yourself with a smaller income than when you started the project, talk with lenders about taking out a loan. There are a variety of pool finance options that allow you to finish your project with payments that are within your budget.
2. Cutback on Non-Essentials
When updating your budget, you need to narrow down the non-essentials. While certain items you have to pay every month, like your electric bill, there are probably a few items you can cut out of your budget until you have more disposable income.
Go through all your monthly payments and determine what is a necessity and what is not. Non-essentials include things like gym memberships, movie streaming services, entertainment and subscription services, such as makeup, clothes or wine club subscriptions. Cancel what you can live without and scale back on things you depend on. While you might need one movie streaming service, you probably do not need five or six.
Every once in a while, everyone needs a break from their daily routine. However, the cost of vacations can quickly add up. Instead of taking a trip to a different state like you normally would, save money by going on a staycation.
A staycation is a trip to a location that is near where you live. You get to experience a new place without all the expensive costs of a full-blown vacation, which typically includes airfare or lots of gas if you drive. Research cities in your state and what local attractions they offer.
Go during the off-season to avoid crowds and save more on your hotel stay. A great alternative to a hotel is Airbnb. With Airbnb, you rent a person’s home, so you typically have a lot more personal touches than a hotel, plus it may even be cheaper.
4. Find Lower Rates
As mentioned, there are some items in your budget that you have to pay. However, this does not mean you have no control over the total costs.
Keep a close eye on your electric, heating and air conditioning use. Oftentimes, there are hours during the day where rates are higher, so keep your use to a minimum during these times. Always turn the lights off when you leave a room and do not leave the television on unless someone is using it.
If you have been with the same phone and internet providers for some time, reach out to them and see if they have any cheaper plans. They may have more affordable options you never knew about or they may offer to discount your bill if they believe you will cancel your contract with them.
5. Cook at Home
While the convenience of restaurants and drive-thrus may be alluring, the costs can add up fast, leaving you spending hundreds of dollars a month on eating out. Cutback on this expense by preparing more meals at home.
While it takes more time to prepare, cooking at home is often healthier and far cheaper than eating out. Plan your meals for the week, so you are not stuck trying to figure out what to cook for dinner when you are already starving and exhausted from work.
While the pandemic may have impacted your income, there are steps to relieve some of the financial stress. Apply these five recommendations to your new budget to help save money during these leaner times.