A lot of people have been impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another. Unfortunately, many have lost their jobs and are finding themselves in a tough position financially. Although that stimulus check will definitely help, it’s not going to replace the huge loss of income many have experienced. As a result, many people are having to figure out what to do to make sure they can financially survive the coronavirus pandemic. Now is a perfect time to really focus on being more frugal. Sometimes the best way to figure out how you can be more frugal and save money is to be put in a position where you have no other choice. If you’re in a position where you haven’t suffered any loss of income or been impacted too much by this pandemic, then this is a good time to beef up your emergency fund and ensure that you are setting yourself up in the event the unexpected happens. It’s important to take time to figure out what you can do to set yourself up to come out on the other end of this crisis okay. With that in mind, here are some ways to do that:
Budget, Budget, Budget
You’ve heard me talk a lot about budgeting on this blog (check out our post on Why You Need a Budget and our Budgeting 101 post). It’s because it’s so important! If you weren’t convinced that budgeting was important before this pandemic, it’s time to start getting serious about it! Creating a budget is the BEST WAY to be able to take a long, hard look at your financial situation and hit the reset button. This will all you to see where all your money is going and where you need to make changes. It will show you where you might be spending too much money and where you might be able to cut some expenses. By budgeting and making adjustments as your life situation changes, you can set yourself up to be successful and ensure you are being as frugal as possible.
Cut Back on Your Spending
I think it’s fair to say that many of us will not be going out as much as we used to, if at all given the current circumstances. Naturally, this will help us cut back on spending in general. I know that for my husband and I we have found it EASIER to save money because we simply don’t have the option to eat out or go on a shopping spree. However, since Starbucks and other places are still open, you might be tempted to grab that grande caramel macchiato every day just to get out of the house. Expenses like this, although they may seem small, can really add up!
It’s important to objectively look at what you’re spending and cut out all the things that aren’t necessities. Here’s a blog posts that will describe how to Determine if You Really Need Something. Going through this process as you’re making buying decision will really help you determine if that’s something you truly need. It’s important to make a commitment during this time to not give in to temptation and save as much money as you can instead. In a time of crisis, you need to save every penny you can. Check out my post on how to Save Big by Not Wasting Money on These Items and How to Save Money on Your Pet Expenses to get you started.
Don’t Make any Large Purchases
Times are so uncertain right now, and I definitely know a few people who are “stress buying” things they really don’t need. Online shopping is still open for business and when you’re stuck at home with not much to do, you can easily over spend. It’s really important to not make large purchases right now. You may be thinking since you’re stuck at home, now would be a good time to buy that new flat screen TV you’ve always wanted or buy a Vitamix because you’re cooking at home more. Although they may seem practical at the time, it’s really important to avoid making large purchases like this. Even if you have a job and are doing well financially right now, you never know what tomorrow will bring. It’s better to be safe then sorry and save up until after this crisis is over. You can always treat yourself later.
Pause Paying Off Debt
If you’re like me and have been throwing every extra penny you have at paying off your debt, as much as it pains me to say this, it may be time to put that on hold. Paying off debt is important, but having extra money saved up in the event you lose your job or experience some other financial hardship is much more important. Although I’m lucky enough to still have a job and don’t forsee myself losing my job – you just never know! I have talked to so many people who didn’t think they would end up losing their jobs but they did and unfortunately weren’t prepared for it. I definitely want to take this time to build up my emergency fund to make sure I’m prepared in case the unthinkable happens. I need to make sure I can financially survive this situation, and the best way to do that is to save up as much as possible.
Switch to Less Expensive Options
Have an unusually high phone bill? Is your car insurance costing you an arm and a leg? Now is a great time to shop around for other options with better rates. If you’re still paying for cable, STOP! Seriously, just stop. It is so unnecessary and costly. There are so many internet T.V options out there that are a fraction of the cost. Are you still paying hundreds of dollars for Verizon or AT&T? Why haven’t you switched to Visible Wireless yet? I am literally paying $25 a month for my phone plan! They are even reducing your payment to $5 a month if you are experiencing a financial hardship due to COVID-19! You can learn more about in my post about How to Save Money with Visible, but the bottom line is there are so many ways you can reduce your expenses! All you have to do is put in the work and do some research to compare prices and options. Better yet, if you have a large expense and are not sure where to start with figuring out some better options, contact me! I LOVE doing research and figuring out how to save you money. Let me know the leg work for you. Doing things like this will help you survive a financial crisis like COVID-19 and come out on the other end better than you were before.
Take on Another Job
While this crisis may have affected many people in different ways, including losing their jobs or have their pay reduced, there are some industries and fields that are still operational and even thriving. If you need some additional income, now might be the time to apply for a job in one of the industries that desperately need to hire more workers, like yesterday.
Some of these jobs include:
- Pizza Delivery Drivers
- Grocery Store Workers
- Amazon Delivery Drivers
- Online Tutors/Educators
- Ubereats Delivery Drivers
- Healthcare Workers
- Instacart Delivery Drivers
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is kinda a theme with delivery drivers. An added bonus is many of these jobs also receive tips. Some might argue that these are high risk positions and by taking on jobs like this you are increasing your potential for exposure to the coronavirus. While you are certainly exposing yourself more than you would if you were just sitting at home, there are things you can do to limit your exposure while doing these types of jobs (e.g. wearing gloves, wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, washing your hands often, maintaining 6 feet distance as much as possible etc.). If you’re consider “high risk” these may not be the best options for you, but is definitely something to consider if you are in need of work.
Overall, going through a crisis like this that impacts you financially is not easy. Many worry about how they are going to pay bills and how they can cut costs and save money. In addition to all of that, they’re worried about the health and well being of themselves and their families. The best thing to do is follow the steps I mentioned above. If you run into a situation where that’s not enough and you can’t pay certain bills, communication with your providers is key.
It is absolutely essentials to communicate with your providers early and often if you cannot pay a bill. Let them know your situation. Many are understanding given the circumstances and have programs in place to help you. They may be able to arrange extended payment plans or offer reduced costs for a few months. It never hurts just to ask. Keep in mind that what you’re experiencing, many others are too. Seek assistance from local food banks or other charities that have programs to help people in times like this. You’re not alone and there are things you can do to set yourself up to be able to financially survive this crisis. Hang in there!