Getting your financial life organized may rank the most useful thing to tackle during quarantine. Let’s face it — learning to play the ukulele is fun, but it probably won’t pad your pocketbook.
You might be one of many who knows they need to straighten out their economic situation but need essential tips on how to get started. The following nine ideas will set your feet on the road to financial freedom.
1. Realize You Have Limited Spending Options
Instead of lamenting ordering takeout yet again instead of sitting down to restaurant service, why not adjust your mindset and make saving money a game? If you focus on the lack of favorite activities, you’ll end up feeling depressed and deprived.
Pretend you’re on a TV game show and give it a thrilling name, like “Empire Building.” The objective is to see how hard work and sacrifice can improve your finances.
When you look at your current restrictions as purposeful, you’ll rejoice in not hitting happy hour. Why spend $15 on a single cocktail, anyway, when you can enjoy a comforting cuppa and a friendly Zoom chat that doesn’t require shouting? Start a list and keep a tally of what you save on weekly expenses.
2. Use Excess to Pay Down Debt
You see that you’re saving $40 a week by skipping the latte line and Friday night drinks. What to do with the excess cash? Paying down debt is wise — if you don’t need the money to pad your savings.
Experts recommend keeping three to six months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund. Doing so keeps you from having to take out high-interest debt in the future when your transmission gives up the ghost.
Therefore, if you don’t have anything set aside, it’s wise to invest funds in a liquid savings account — even if only a spare $20. Once you get three months’ worth of expenses set aside, take a balanced approach to pay yourself while reducing debt. It takes a long time — but if you don’t get started now, you’ll still be in the same boat five years in the future.
3. Slash Your Food Budget
Did you hear about the seed shortages due to so many amateur farmers taking up gardening during the pandemic? Why not join the party and grow some herbs and favorite veggies at home? You can always use containers if you live in an apartment.
You can also save by reducing your meat consumption. Doing so will lower your family’s risk of developing colorectal cancer — a win-win.
4. Trim Excess Subscription Services
We live in a “free trial subscription” world, and many folks have unused services draining their credit cards monthly. Download and use an app such as TrackMySubs or Truebill to avoid paying for duplicate Netflix sign-ins and airport Wi-Fi you haven’t used since your trip to Hawaii two years ago.
5. Learn How to DIY
When your garbage disposal won’t spin, do you call a plumber? If you do, you cost yourself a pretty penny for a clog you could fix yourself. If you have extra time on your hands, YouTube is an excellent resource for finding educational videos. Plus, if you have a smart TV or stick, you can find apps dedicated to teaching you anything from building a deck addition to fixing a creaky door.
6. Repurpose Instead of Recycling
Recycling benefits the planet, so keep your bin — but before you toss that soda bottle in it, consider if it could save you more than $5. Citronella candles can cost $5 and up at hardware stores, but you can trap pesky mosquitos with an empty 2-liter. Speaking of the lumber yard, what’s that pallet you brought home except for more wood for building a hanging garden?
7. Take on a Side Hustle
If you have time on your hands, why not put it to use earning extra money? You can find a ton of online side hustles and work from home or even your local coffee shop. Firms like Apple and Amazon need remote customer support representatives if you enjoy making others smile. New homeschool parents need all the assistance they can get, and you can become an online tutor if you have a degree and pass the required test.
8. Start a Small Business
Maybe you don’t relish the thought of clocking into a second boss if you already work a nine-to-five. Why not start a small business? You could help other homesteaders by creating a YouTube channel dedicated to the art of self-sustainability. Conversely, gigs like Postmates or DoorDash let you pick up extra cash while driving.
9. Save for Happier Days
Don’t overlook the power of saving when it comes to alleviating the distress you might feel while stuck at home. Why not start a family vacation fund so that, when pandemic fears finally abate, you can treat yourself to a well-deserved getaway? You can open a targeted savings account — see if your bank will “round up” your change and deposit it automatically into this fund.
Use These 9 Tips to Get Your Financial Health in Order Now
Seldom in the course of human life do you experience something as historical as a pandemic. Let this challenging time serve as a nudge in the right direction and get your financial house in order.