The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us into financial situations that we could never have predicted. Country-wide shelter-in-place orders have left many without work, and businesses without customers. Now more than ever, it’s important to think
about the way we spend or save every dollar we make. In some cases, the quarantine orders have given us an opportunity to shift how we are spending money while staying at home. Here are some tips on swapping where you spend your money during the pandemic.
Make a Pandemic Budget
Regularly updating your budget is smart, but it’s especially important when you are hit by an unexpected financial or life change, such as the pandemic. Since your income may be different, now is the perfect time to go through your budget and see
where you can swap costs due to fewer work hours. Figure out as close as possible what your income is, and if there are any recurring costs that can be reallocated during this time.
Recurring expenses to consider include:
- Monthly subscriptions.
- Recreational membership fees, such as gym memberships and kid’s activities.
- Extraneous entertainment costs that you would normally spend at the movie theaters, bars, concerts, or amusement parks.
- Gas and public transportation costs.
- Any bills that can be put on forbearance or deferred due to the pandemic such as consumer credit or student loans (make sure to check with your financial institution to see what options are available to you).
Many companies are already offering membership freezes or insurance rebates due to the pandemic. If there are any services you can’t access due to the quarantine, make sure you aren’t spending money on it.
During challenging economic times, Nusenda Credit Union is your first financial resource. We offer BALANCE,
a comprehensive financial education and counseling service; and SavvyMoney, an
anonymous, easy-to-use online tool that help you analyze your financial health. Both programs are available to Nusenda members and the public at-large at no cost.
Learn to DIY
The best way to save money is to stop spending it. With extra time on your hands, you may be able to take over costs for services you don’t know how to do, or didn’t have the time to do pre-pandemic. Learning to cook will save you hundreds of dollars every month on higher delivery fees for eating out, for example. Rather than spending $40 to $50 a meal for a family of four, you can reduce that to under $20 by putting that apron on. Some other ways to save by doing the work yourself include:
- Auto maintenance.
- Simple home maintenance.
- Pet grooming.
Who knows, you may learn a new skill or find a new hobby! And if you need a little extra financial assistance to get those projects under way, Nusenda Credit Union has a wide variety of options to help you achieve your goals.
Make Smart Spending Swaps
Now that you have cut costs, you need to decide where to put the money you have saved. If you are still having trouble making your expenses, any extra money should go to housing, food, and utility costs first. However, if you feel like you can spare
extra each month here are some financially smart places to put your money:
- Traditional savings account.
- An emergency savings account.
- Auto maintenance.
- Paying off debt.
- More stable investments (talk to a financial advisor).
Other smart swaps you can make include:
- Spending more on fresh food than eating out.
- Using streaming video services rather than all-inclusive cable subscriptions.
- Buy (or rent) tools and equipment to help you complete tasks around the house.
- Investing in your business or vocational classes to add to your resume.
Nusenda Credit Union savings accounts offer several options to accommodate a broad range of short- and long-term
goals, and help you prepare for your financial future. Additionally, Nusenda members have access to complimentary our CFS* Investment Services Registered Representatives can share information on investment products and services that best meet your needs – all at no cost or obligation.
By making smart choices, the pandemic does not have to be the financial pitfall it may appear to be.