Pandemic. It’s a scary word with an uncertain future. Many people are concerned about the potential economic impact of a pandemic. How can you protect your finances during these uncertain times? Check out our tips for saving money during the pandemic. With a little bit of preparation, you can keep your finances on track even in the face of adversity.
Stay home as much as possible to avoid getting sick and spreading the virus.
If you must go out in public, practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet between yourself and others. Avoid close contact with sick people, and wash your hands often.
Covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough is also essential. If you don’t have a tissue, use your sleeve. And be sure to wash your hands afterward!
Another way to protect yourself from the coronavirus is to get a flu shot. Flu shots are available now at most pharmacies and doctor’s offices. They’re quick and easy, and they can help keep you healthy.
Cancel or postpone any unnecessary expenses, like cable bills, eating out, or shopping trips.
Start by evaluating your current spending habits and see where you can cut back, even if it’s just a little. You may be surprised how much money you can save by making minor changes to your spending habits. Then, once you have a better idea of where your money is going, you can make some adjustments.
If you’re used to eating out for lunch daily, try packing your lunch a few days a week instead. You’ll save money and likely eat healthier as well. If you have a gym membership that you never use, consider canceling it and working out at home or taking advantage of free outdoor activities.
In June, savings rates fell 4.2 percentage points from May to 19%, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Friday. That’s a sign people started spending more when businesses partially reopened. However, the rate could be affected in July by the increase in COVID-19 cases and the end of the extra $600 in federal unemployment benefits.
Re-evaluate your finances.
While people generally have more money in savings and less credit card debt, sharp demographic divisions could emerge as fault lines in a post-pandemic economy dependent on robust consumer spending. Personal finance is about managing your budget and how best to invest your money to realize your goals.
A new survey of over 1,000 people from Bankrate found that just over half of respondents prioritize growing their emergency savings over paying down credit card debt, increasing seven percentage points from last year.
But the survey also found that people are sharply divided along generational and racial lines regarding their priorities for using any extra money they may have. For example, nearly two-thirds of millennials say they would put any additional money into excess savings, while less than half of baby boomers said the same.
Financial advice remains the same, pre and post-pandemic: Building up an emergency savings fund and creating a financial plan is essential. COVID-19 also highlighted the need for a budget, however small it may be. Financial advisors are available to help. Ask for referrals, and take it one step at a time. Many racked up debt during the pandemic, while others were able to save.
Bring your lunch to work instead of buying food outside.
Packing your lunch is a great way to save money and eat healthier. It takes some planning, but it’s worth it in the long run. Plus, you can get creative with your lunches! Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Make a list of your favorite lunch foods. This will help you come up with ideas for what to pack.
- Try to include a variety of food groups in your lunches. This will help you stay balanced and energized throughout the day.
- Pack leftovers from dinner or make extra food at night so you have something to pack for lunch the next day.
- Invest in some good Tupperware or reusable containers. This will make packing lunch easier and help you save money on disposables.
Shop for groceries online to save on gas and time.
Entering the second quarter of 2020, Americans’ fears of the pandemic were ramping up amid record job losses and the worst economy since the Great Depression. Those without jobs wondered how they would pay bills, while those with jobs either stopped spending or, at least, found fewer places to spend. In response, the country went on an unprecedented saving spree.
Loss of a job or even having hours cut back at work can lead to unplanned financial stress on you and your family. Unfortunately, financial stress is only the tip of the iceberg for this issue, but there are a few things you can do to make the change in income less of a stressor.
Rework student loan debt payments.
Rework your student loan debt payments to save on interest and time. You can consolidate your loans, extend your repayment period, or switch to an income-driven repayment plan.
If you have multiple student loans, consolidation could be a good option. By consolidating your loans, you’ll have one monthly payment instead of various amounts. You may also be able to get a lower interest rate.
In addition, the Federal Student Aid office confirmed that you could place your federal student loans in administrative forbearance. Administrative forbearance means that you can temporarily stop making payments on your federal student loans. Your loans won’t accrue any interest either. You can use that savings to cover your basic needs while in quarantine.
An income-driven repayment plan is based on your income and family size. Your monthly payment will be a percentage of your discretionary income. For example, if you have a low income or large family size, your monthly payment could be $0 per month.
If you’re struggling to make your student loan payments, options are available to help you. First, you can contact your loan servicer to discuss your options. You may also want to consider deferment or forbearance.
Use apps and websites for discounts on local businesses.
There are a few apps and websites that offer discounts on local businesses. For example, Groupon features daily deals on restaurants, spas, things to do, and more. You can also check out Living Social and Gilt City.
If you’re looking for discounts on groceries, you can try using an app like Ibotta or Checkout 51. These apps offer cash back on select items at participating stores. You can also find coupons for groceries and other household items on Coupons.com and RetailMeNot.com.
When it comes to saving money, every little bit counts. By taking advantage of discounts and coupons, you can save a significant amount on groceries, restaurants, etc.
Ask family and friends if they need help with anything – you can offer to run errands, watch children, or clean their house.
If you’re looking for ways to help your family and friends, offer to run errands, watch children, or clean their house. This could be a massive help to them, and it’s a great way to stay busy during quarantine.
You can also check in on your neighbors. See if they need help with anything. Maybe they need someone to pick up their groceries or walk their dog. Whatever it is, see if you can lend a helping hand.
We’re all in this together, and we need to stick together. By helping our loved ones and neighbors, we can get through this tough time more leisurely.
If you’re facing a significant change in income, you can do a few things to ease the financial stress. Rework your student loan debt payments, take advantage of discounts and coupons, and help your family and friends. We’re all in this together, and we will get through it. Need to finance a large purchase, consolidate your debt, or cover medical expenses? Edfed offers personal loans with fixed rates and no hidden fees.