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money and covid 19 on a teeter totter

Are You on a Financial Roller Coaster Caused by the Pandemic?

The coronavirus pandemic has been like a roller coaster of change. For millions of Americans, the economic effects of the pandemic have been devastating, with millions of people suffering from job losses and threats of eviction. But don’t be discouraged; one way to approach this situation is to review what we’re doing to spend less and save more. Some have managed to cut spending and increased their savings, paid off debts, or donated more to help those in need. Being honest with ourselves and simply asking where I can spend less money is the key to surviving the wave of the pandemic-induced financial struggles.

Consider the following steps towards saving money:

Start by writing down your expenses in a notebook, an app on your cell phone, or a calendar. It’s also essential to keep a budget. A budget is a written plan that helps you decide how you’ll spend your money every month. A budget helps you know if you’ll have enough money each month. Without a plan, you could risk running out of money before you cash your next check. Saving for sudden expenses, future purchases, or big financial decisions can be difficult. So why not save some of the tax refunds? You can use them to create an emergency fund or start a reserve fund.

Consider some of these other money management strategies:

Food:

  • Plan meals a week in advance and stick to your plan.
  • Avoid impulse shopping. Make a grocery list and stick to the list when shopping (compare price per unit: pound, ounce, dozen).
  • Plan your shopping around weekly and seasonal specials.

Home:

  • Learn to do simple home repairs.
  • Buy things that will require as little maintenance as possible.
  • Wash your clothing in cold water and do full instead of partial loads to reduce costs.

Shopping:

  • Use the 24-hour rule. Avoid purchasing expensive or unnecessary items on impulse with a self-imposed 24-hour rule. For any non-essential item, wait 24 hours before purchasing. It’s perfect for online shopping, where your items can simply be added to your cart to buy later.

Entertainment:

  • Cut your recreation costs way down with activities and games at home. Your family will grow closer.
  • Cancel subscriptions or gym memberships you no longer use.

Insurance:

  • Don’t buy insurance if you don’t need it.
  • Shop for new auto and homeowner’s insurance rates at three or four different companies.
  • Carry only replacement value insurance.

Extras:

  • Eliminate extra cell phone services.
  • Consider less expensive sports, hobbies, and gym memberships.
  • Save your coins – literally. Putting aside just 50¢ a day over a year will get you almost halfway to an emergency fund. Check with your bank or credit union and research apps that offer programs that round your purchases up to the nearest dollar and put the difference into a separate savings account.

For more information and classes related to money management, first-time homebuyer, or health and wellness, check out the following sites:
https://ocextension.eventbrite.com
https://americasaves.org/connect-to-a-campaign/florida-saves