While you’re doing your part to help flatten the curve (and catching up on TV you’ve missed since 2015), try kicking your savings into high gear.
Tell me more.
Uncertain times like these are why emergency funds are a thing. They can save the day if you lose your income or get an unexpected bill. Spend some time now figuring out how to start building (or keep adding to) yours. Future you will appreciate it.
Related: Where to Put Your Emergency Savings
I’m actually finding ‘inside life’ to be pretty expensive.
Okay, you might be spending more on baking ingredients, shipping, and food delivery than usual. If you’ve also upgraded your wifi and bought new office equipment to WFH better, see if your company will foot some of the bill.
So how do I save money right now?
Start by looking at your bank and credit card statements. Knowing where your money’s going is key to smart budgeting. The 50/20/30 rule can help. That’s where 50% of your money goes toward basic needs, 20% gets saved or invested, and 30% is for wants. Shrink the needs and wants to make more room for saving.
Still waiting on the ‘how.’
Social distancing should be keeping you away from restaurants and bars, concerts, sporting events, etc. If you already have tickets to a big event that’s been canceled, you’ve probably got a refund coming. Put that money directly into savings.
It’s going to take a lot more than that to fill my emergency fund.
Got you. Here are some other ways to save more now.
Transportation costs: Staying home means saving on gas, tolls, public parking, and transit passes. If you autopay your commuter costs, remember to cancel.
Food: Make your grocery store runs or orders count to keep this bill in check. Pick up versatile foods you can eat a lot of different ways. (There’s shrimp kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, pan fried…) And some that’ll last a while. Think: PB, potatoes, apples.
Subscriptions: Look at all your regular monthly payments to see what you can freeze (your gym, clothing rentals). Or cancel altogether. This is a good time to think about which subscriptions are worth your money vs. the ones you forgot to cancel after the free trial ended.
Housing: If it’s about time to renew your lease, play hardball. You could have more negotiating power if the coronavirus slows demand for rentals. If you own, consider refinancing. Mortgage rates recently hit record lows, and the Fed just cut the federal funds rate — a benchmark percentage that influences mortgages — to almost zero. Do your homework and make sure you’re getting a good deal before re-signing on the dotted line.
Prescriptions: Getting medicine from a mail-order service can be quarantine- and budget-friendly. If your doc and insurance approve, generic and 90-day supplies could also save you money.