More than 22 million Americans are out of work because of COVID-19. If you’re tightening your belt, you’re not alone. It’s a difficult time, but you find some comfort in knowing that it’s easy to save money by staying home.
For now, travel, outside entertainment, events, and even eating out are is a thing of the past. This new normal already brings its natural cutbacks, but here are a few more effective ways to save money while staying home.
1. Be conscious of energy usage
One expense that’s likely to spike for most Americans practicing social distancing is utilities. We’re home all day. That means more dishes, laundry, showers, air conditioning or heat, and leaving lights on for longer. To save money on utilities, reduce where you can:
- Run the dishwasher only when it’s fully loaded
- Hang-dry clothes
- Use natural lighting during the day
- Weather permitting, open windows to save on air conditioning
- Time your showers
2. Embrace batch cooking with cheap pantry staples
Pantry staples store well, are incredibly affordable, and with a bit of creativity can feature in nearly every meal you serve without feeling repetitive.
To maximize your savings with groceries and dry goods, invest in experimenting with a few batch recipes that will feed you and your family for a week. Fill up your freezer with lentil curries and batch cook some rice to tide yourself over for a week for just a few dollars.
3. Tune out from big brands advertising sales
Most big brands have the same idea right now: sell to people while they’re home and bored. It’s tempting to want to take advantage of slashed prices, but you probably wouldn’t spend the money if these products weren’t on sale.
Think to yourself, would you buy this product if it was full price? If not, think before you jump at the discount. Or better yet, simply unsubscribe and mute these brands on social media. Your wallet will thank you.
4. Set a budget for home delivery services
Since we can’t go out, many of us are trying to bring out to us through home delivery. Self-care is important, but $3-10 delivery fees add up.
Set a weekly budget for delivery (including your tip) and stick to it.
5. Freeze accounts you’re not using
We’re so used to some services that we’d never consider canceling, but under extraordinary circumstances it’s time to reevaluate.
If you haven’t already, call your gym and ask to freeze your account for the next month. If you use a recurring metro or bus pass, cancel auto-draft and pocket the money instead.
On the other end of the spectrum, there’s likely subscriptions and services you’re paying for that were intended to be one-time purchases. Spend some time scanning your account statements. You might be surprised how much you can save.
6. Reap the refunds
Although social distancing has only been in effect for a few weeks, there’s speculation that we could be in it for the long haul (at least for a few more months). And that means you’re likely to have at least one event cancelled from your calendar.
Call you the ticket provider and see what your refund options are.
7. Deposit your stimulus check into a high-yield savings account
Stimulus checks are starting to roll in. If you don’t need to use it to pay outstanding bills, you can put that money to work in other ways. Consider a high-yield savings account, which can generate up to 25 times more interest than a traditional savings account.
Saving money by staying home really comes down to self-discipline, so keep your head up, close your online shopping tab.