Since last year's COVID outbreak, we have all been facing a lot of uncertainty and insecurities when it come to our finances and job status. We are hearing people losing their jobs, businesses downsizing and/or closing and all this has been quite depressing news.. We also all are fully aware that this is just the beginning and that there is still a massive impact of COVID yet to come.
On the plus side, we are all spending more time in our homes than ever as we're being foced to stop socialising or be less social let's say. So it's actually a great time to budget and start thinking of saving some money for the future. The future that unfortunately currently, is very uncertain..
I'm excited to share some tips based on what I've implemented over the past months and have started doing.
Image from bondora.com
1. Chase monies owed or pause services you cannot use
Think about club memberships, gym subsriptions, electricity bill refunds from last year you never chased up, flight ticket refunds etc. I'm certain that if you dig deep, you will find something you are in credit for. It's important to get them back in a timely manner despite being so easy to procastinate over. I have 3 flights cancelled last year due to the pandemic and I had been putting off calling the airline to ask for my refunds for over 6 months as we all know how boring it is to be waiting on hold for hours and then going through all booking details with an agent that deals with thousands of them each day. As easy as it is to put this off, remember how much that cash can mean you in the near future and even now! Add it to your to do list and get it done! Stop procastinating.
I also recently paused my social club memebership back in London as I am stuck here in Bali and cannot make use of their services. They paused my monthly payments however they are not giving me the monies for the previous months I paid and was not able to use, they are only offering it as a credit to spend in the future when they re-open. Again, I wish I had stopped this earlier as I would have preffered the cash as opposed to credit. This is definitely a lesson learnt and something for you to consider.
2. Use comparison sites before you commit
There are so many excellent money saving expert sites that gives you a comparison of companies offering products and services. Don't just commit to the first company you hear about. Do your research. You will be amazed as to how much money you can save monthly and how it will all add up eventually.
Another added extra feature of these sites is the price history tool. You will be able to see if the current price is higher or lower than usual - a useful way to work out if the lowest price is actually the best price too.
3. Claim benefits you are entitled to
Always check the latest and up to date news from your government with regards to what support they are offering. Help will most likely be available to you but it will not land on your lap, you will need to apply for it and claim it. It varies from Country to Country but there are benefits out there such as statutory sick pay, employment and support allowance, jobseekers' allowance, and personal independence payments says the BBC.
If you're struggling to stay afloat, there are other grants available such as energy and water suppliers that are helping out homes. There are also schemes in place to help parents of children that normally receive free school meals. If you have children, you should contact their college or school to see what help is available.
4. Check your existing savings
We all have tried to save for a rainy day at one point of our lives at least I hope! If you already have savings, don't just leave them in that same account, check the best buy tables to see if a bank or building society will give you a better return. This may mean changing banks but I promise - it's worth it!
Image from Getty Images.
Even though interest rates are not so good at the moment, by monitoring regularly over time, this can make a big difference as to how much is being saved. Just make sure you do a regular check on what the best interest offers are and switch to one of the best paying accounts as opposed to just leaving your money where it has been for years!
It's a great time to give up certain luxuries we have such as having a manicure & pedicure every two weeks or the regular monthly haircut. I'm not saying you have to stop doing what makes you feel good mentally and emotionally for yourselves, just do it less regularly. I've started doing my manicure & pedicure appointments monthly or even bi-monthly now and I've been saving, bit by bit! This situation shows that we all have to put something aside in order to have something to fall back onto rather than ending up with massive debts.
5. Cut down on your Grocery shopping
Most of us after working out how much we actually spend on our groceries are shocked to find out how much we actually spend each month. Dave Ramsey states that the average American family of four (with two kids 5 and under) spend around $929 per month. Oh My Gosh! It’s so easy to walk down the aisles, grabbing a bag of Oreos here and a few bags of chips there, and then top it off with the small fun bits to buy. by the cashier desks. But those little purchases which are called "budget busters" add up quite a bit and we end up spending so much more than we should be.
I started planning my meal plans each which not only helps me consider my budget but it also helps me make healthier food choices. It also makes you aware of what you already have in your food cupboard that we often neglect and don't even remember we had. This way we don't buy more of what we already have and also we get more creative with what recipes we come up with!
I also found that ordering exactly what I need online rather than going to the store (especially going food shopping when I'm hungry!) helps a lot with spending extra money on things I want rather than need! This way I remove temptation and replace my grocery shopping hour with an hours walk in the park to unwind and have time for my own thoughts such as "what shall I cook the upcoming week, lol!
Some small but very useful tips I hope! Start today and start saving!