About one-fifth of the world’s population is in the same purgatory-like state of lockdown, recent figures have reported. And while our collective mental health, along with the economy, are both approaching one of the most dramatic downturns in recent history, it feels like there could be some silver lining deep down in there… somewhere.
Here’s how to hack your financials by learning how to save money during a pandemic.
For many, this pandemic has put a pause on the kind of spending that eats up a larger-than-we-care-to-admit part of our income: eating out at restaurants, late nights out, and travel.
It’s enough to make quite a few Twitter users realize just how much money they're saving (Hint: it’s a lot.) and our social timelines are at an all time high when it comes to self-reflection meme content.
HOW TO SAVE MONEY
The first step on your journey of learning how to save money begins with the word some of us hate most— budget. We know, it’s savage and it might not feel like a day at the spa, but it’s important if you want to bank some cold, hard cash to make that spa day a reality (or save up to hit a goal!).
The first step is taking a deep dive into all of your essential bills and your spending habits. Here’s how you get started:
- Make a list of all your need-to-pay bills, as well as the amount and how frequently it needs to be paid. This includes: bills for utilities, internet, phone, car, transportation passes, and your rent/mortgage.
- Make a list of your essential expenses, this includes: school/office supplies, clothing, shoes and food. Also include a reasonable amount for entertainment/fun. (You gotta treat yo’self a little!)
- Evaluate your non-essential expenses. Cleo can break it down for you. Look for areas that you can reel yourself in a bit. Who doesn’t love an iced coffee on the daily? At $5 daily in the course of a month that could total $150. Cutting back a few days a week would really add up (and possibly even cover one of your need-to-pay bills).
MONEY SAVING TIPS
- You remember your parents shrill midday screams of “Don’t touch the thermostat!” and “Turn off the lights!!!!” – they were on to something. Reducing your energy consumption is an easy way to save money.
- Do you get tempted to click “Add to Cart” whenever you see a promotional email from one of your favorite stores in your inbox? Unsubscribe.
- Avoid retail therapy. You know too well that insanely amazing rush you get when you swipe (your card, that is). Retail therapy is real, and it can become a real problem— especially with how easy it is to shop from the comfort of your couch. Find another hobby or activity that can become your go-to when you need a boost.
BEST WAYS TO SAVE MONEY FAST
- Keep an eagle eye on those auto-recurring subscriptions. From apps to gym memberships to subscription boxes— they can really add up. Swipe left on the ones that you don’t use often enough to justify the cost.
- Meal prep is your friend. Those food delivery and takeout expenses add up quicker than you can count. You definitely don’t have to get in a boring old rut or spend hours cleaning up after cooking daily. Try new recipes to keep it fun. Simple, cheap and environmentally friendly if possible – recipes you can make ahead and freeze or drop right into a slow cooker or oven are great, saving yourself prep time, cleaning effort and money.
- Become the coupon pro. Apps and extensions, such as Honey and Retail Me Not can often automatically apply a number of coupon codes and save you money—fast. Also, ain’t no shame in the clearance or thrift game. You can save a ton of cash by shopping a little differently.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR MONEY SAVING HABITS STICK
How many of you have stuck to your 2020 New Year’s resolution? *crickets*. Well, it’s been a dumpster fire of a year so it’s our honor to let you know that you still pass with flying colours. Congrats.
However, you can definitely make your newfound money saving skills stand the test of time by following a few tips:
- Pay yourself first. Get into the habit of putting some scrilla into your savings account every time you get paid, instead of waiting to painfully transfer whatever’s left into your (hopefully high interest!) savings account. This can be even a small amount— and luckily, you can automatically set it to transfer right away. This method is less painful, and also, is an extremely helpful way to get into a long-term habit of saving. It will feel awesome watching your savings grow— and even better when you NEED it, it will be there!
- What do you value? During a pandemic, we often feel like so many things we love are being taken away from us. But, on the other hand, what did you find yourself truly valuing during quarantine? Did you find a new passion? Be sure to keep room in your budget for your most valuable hobbies, activities and favorite things. Saving money and budgeting doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t be, a buzz kill.
- Like any habit we’re trying to make stick, consistency builds up any habit like a muscle. Exercise your saving strategy by regularly using the tips we mentioned here. Before you know it, it will feel like a habit, instead of a chore. And remember— we are always here to help if you fall off the wagon!