Not Much Money These Days
Unfortunately, for many people, this is the case, there is not much money these days. Very few people have savings accounts and those who did had accounts that were probably under funded.Those accounts will run out very fast.
To deal with lost income from Coronavirus, you are going to have to take action. You will need to find a way to both cut your expenses to the bone and to replace at least a part of your lost income.
We have some suggestions that can help you do both.
A dollar saved is a dollar earned. This expression has never been more true, so let’s begin with cost cutting. You need to reduce as many expenses as you can and eliminate some if possible. Let’s dive into your current expenses.
1) Food – Estimated Monthly Savings $200 – $400
It should go without saying that you should no longer be dining out or ordering food in. You need to be making your own meals, ideally from scratch. Even the pre-processed meals can be expensive, so if you do not know how to cook, now is the time to learn. Luckily, you have the internet with a limitless supply of tips and recipes.
Cutting out pre-made meals is just the start to your food budget slashing. You also need to begin meal planning and switching to cheaper staples.
Meal planning involves planning out your meals for an entire week and then making a grocery list. Planning your meals in advance allows you to buy just what you need without any waste. If you just randomly buy groceries, you will be wasting a lot of money on items that will just sit on your shelf.
When planning meals, also remember to include snacks. Forgetting to do that could lead to costly trips to the gas station or drive thru.
Cooking your own meals is a must, but what should you cook? You are going to need to switch to cheap staples like potatoes, pasta, rice and beans. Beans are an excellent protein source and you will need to use them as a replacement for meat. If things are tight, meat is a luxury that you can not afford.
Luckily, you can do a lot with the four staples above. Everything from spaghetti to fired rice to bean tacos. There are hundreds of recipes of meals that you can make that will cost you just pennies a serving.
2) Entertainment – Estimated Monthly Savings $100 – $300
Once again, going out on the town is not an option anymore. Even a trip to the movies, if you can find an open theater, would be too costly. All outside entertainment should be eliminated.
Things do not stop there though, you need to look at the rest of your entertainment expenses in the home and see where you might be wasting even more money.
One area is subscription television. If you are still holding on to cable or satellite television, you need to drop it and drop it fast. At 100 to 200 dollars a month, this is a ridiculous expense to hold on to.
Switch to a streaming service like Netflix or ad supported Hulu. These cost just a few bucks a month. Want to go even cheaper, look at free services like Crackle. You could potentially save over 2000 bucks a year with this one switch.
Internet is the next thing you need to look at. Yes, you will need it to run your streaming service but you may be able to get away with a reduced speed plan. If you are paying for 100 MBPS or higher, switching to a lower speed could save you as much as 50 dollars a month, depending on your provider.
25 MBPS is considered adequate for most families. Sure, you might experience a bit of lag with multiple devices connected but the occasional annoyance is worth the savings.
3) Auto Insurance – Estimated Monthly Savings $40
If you have not shopped your policy around in some time, now is a great time to do so. Insurance companies have a way of increasing your policy premium little by little over the years. In addition, many insurers offer new customer discounts that you can take advantage of.
If you must stay with your current agents, having a chat with them might still prove beneficial. They can review your policy and look for any discounts that you might qualify for. In addition, if you are not working, you are probably not driving as much. You may be able to get a reduced premium if they lower your estimated miles driven.
4) Electricity – Estimated Monthly Savings $50
There are dozens of ways to cut the electric bill. In the summer, keep the air conditioning a few degrees higher and use fans to keep cool. In the winter, keep the thermostat a few degrees cooler and dress appropriately.
If you have electric heat, adjust the thermostat down to 120 degrees. Most people have their water heater set too high. Also, consider a water heater blanket to keep the heat in.
Be careful about wasted energy as well. Be religious about turning off lights and if you have multiple bulb fixtures, unscrew a few of the bulbs. Also, be aware that many appliances, mainly ones with any kind of computer, still use electricity when turned off. Completely unplug them from the outlet when not in use.
5) Water – Estimated Monthly Savings $30
Water is just as easy to waste as electricity, so you need to be careful about how much you use. Wasting water hurts you in two ways. Not only do you pay for the wasted water, but you also pay more for sewage. Sewage charges are based on your water usage.
There are lots of ways to prevent wasting water. Stop washing partial loads in the dishwasher or washing machine. Wait for them to be full before starting them and while you are at it, use cold water to eliminate water heating costs.
If you have a sprinkler system, water deeply once a week a few hours before the sun rises. That will allow the water to sink in before the sun rises but not harm your lawn by leaving it wet all night.
Remember, with water usage, the little things also matter. Take shorter showers, turn the water off when brushing your teeth and fix leaky faucets. When all is said and done, a potential savings of 600 dollars cash a year makes it all worthwhile.
6) Gas – Estimated Monthly Savings $20 – $50
If you have gas, your savings will be higher in the winter due to heating costs, but you can still save in the summer.
For starters, adjust the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees. This is 40 to 50 gallons of water that you are paying to heat 24 hours a day.
When winter comes to your area, be sure to keep your thermostat a few degrees cooler. You can make up for the colder home by dressing appropriately. A long sleeve shirt and warm socks will usually do.
7) Cell Phones – Estimated Monthly Savings $60 – $100
If you are on a plan with one of the big three contract carriers, you probably have a big savings opportunity. An individual can easily spend 100 dollars a month for cell service and a family of four’s bill could be as much as two bills.
Compare that to the cost of pre-paid service where an individual can get a plan for as little as 40 dollars and a family of four can spend just 100 dollars.
Pre-paid carriers have come a long way. They use the same towers, so there service is almost as good as the bug three. The only real difference these days is that you pay your bill at the beginning of the month instead of the end.
8) Vehicles – Estimated Monthly Savings $200- $500
If you are making payments on a vehicle, you have a major tool at your disposal, payment deferral.
Most auto lenders are making it easy on you to defer payments to the end of your loan term.They know that if people fall behind on payments they are likely to default and they do not want that.
Many lenders will even allow you to request a deferment online. Simply log into your account and look for anything about Covid-19 relief.
If you can not find anything online, make the call to your lender. Do this before you get behind for better odds of getting a deferral.
Keep in mind, interest will continue to accrue on your account but not having to make that monthly payment for a few months can be a real life saver.
If you believe that you will have a longer loss of income, you might need to go one step further and sell your vehicle. If you have equity or little negative equity, you may be able to secure a cheaper and more affordable payment.
9) Housing – Estimated Monthly Savings $200 – $500
You have to have a place to live but if you rent, it might be easier to find a cheaper one. This is especially true if you have an apartment and are at the end of your lease term.
Think about what kind of space you truly need and downsize accordingly. Just moving from a 3 bedroom to a 2 bedroom can save you 500 much needed dollars a month in some areas.
If you are not near the end of your lease, talk to your landlord and read your lease contract. It might save you money to pay a re-letting fee and move than to stay in a high rent location.
If you have a mortgage, moving is not such an easy option. Still, you might be able to refinance your loan for a lower payment and even pull out some cash equity to help you get by.
Cutting expenses is great, but there comes a time when you just can not make any more cuts. If you reach that point and still find yourself a bit short, you need to increase your income.
There are opportunities to grow your income, even in a recession. Here are some options.
1) Surveys – Estimated Monthly Income – $50
You have probably seen other websites promoting surveys, so you probably expected this.
Only difference is that we are not putting up an affiliate link and will certainly not tell you that you can make thousands of dollars from them. You can, however, make about $50 a month from them. This will come in the form of gift cards but it spends the same.
To make as much as $50 a month, you need to do several things. Sign up for several different survey websites such as Swagbucks or Inbox Dollars. Little hint here. If you sign up with Swagbucks directly instead of through an affiliate link, you get a $10 startup bonus versus $5.
Once you join these websites, do everything that you can to earn points. Take surveys, surf the internet with their browser extensions, watch videos and play games. Do this in your spare time while watching television to make the most of your down time.
2) Start A Side Job – Estimated Monthly Income – $100 – $500
Even in a recession, people will always pay others to do the work that they do not want to do. Things like house cleaning, cutting grass, junk removal or even picking up pet waste.
You probably have in your possession all of the tools to do one or two of these things. Start placing some free ads on Craigslist and get to work.
If none of the jobs above appeal to you, get creative. Look around and see what services people are advertising until you stop and say, “I can do that too.” This does not have to be limited to physical jobs either. Digital services can be advertised on places like Fiverr. Keep in mind the gigs on Fiverr can be for much more than 5 bucks.
3) Recycle Metal – Estimated Monthly Income – $30 – $500
If you have a truck or trailer, you can make a decent amount of money recycling metal. You probably see waste metal discarded along roads and thrown away all of the time.
Pick this stuff up and take it to a recycler to cash in. Rates vary but you can make 30 to 40 cents a pound. That makes 100 pounds of scrap worth as much as 30 to 40 dollars. If you hustle, you could make 100 dollars a day.
Now, where to get the scrap. One option is to simply drive around a neighborhood on bulk trash pickup day. Grab the stuff that would have been bound for the landfill. Just be careful to make sure that it really is being tossed.
Another option is to post an add on craigslist for free metal removal. People generally want this stuff gone and do not expect payment.
4) Sell Free Stuff – Estimated Monthly Income – $20 – $200
There is a section on Craigslist in the “For Sale” category called “Free”. People list all kinds of things that they just want to get rid of. They do not want to bother selling it, they just want it gone. Many times they even leave it on the curb so you can just go by and pick it up.
Pick up these items, clean them up and list them for sale. Sure, you are profiting off of their generosity but you are also doing them a favor. These people know that they can sell these items but just want them out of their house. You can do them that favor and also make a bit of money.
5) Get A PT Job – Estimated Monthly Income – $100 – $1000
There may not be as many jobs out there as there used to be but there are a few industries that are hiring right now.
One of these is the grocery business. People are eating from home more and stockpiling groceries. Places like Walmart, Kroger and Target need people to work the register, fill online orders and stock the shelves.
Another possible part time job is in the warehouse industry. Places like Amazon and Wayfair are seeing record profits sue to the pandemic. They are filling orders as fast as they can and need workers to process orders.
In addition to being hungry for employees, these places are also being much more generous. Starting pay at Amazon, for example is 15 dollars an hour. Just picking up a few part time shifts a week could get you 900 dollars in cash to replace lost income.
6) Walk Dogs – Estimated Monthly Income – $100 – $1000
If you are finding yourself with some free time, you can consider using it to walk dogs for profit. Rover can help you get started and you can make as much as 20 dollars a visit minus Rover fees.
Yes, Rover does take a cut of your profit, but they do most of the heavy lifting in getting you clients. When you are new, expect things to start slow but you can greatly increase your income with repeat business and good reviews.
With walking dogs, you have the ability to replace a significant part of your lost income.
7) Go Back To School – Estimated Monthly Income – $500 – $800
If you lost income, chances are good that you have found yourself in a non essential profession or your employer has found that you are expendable. Maybe now is the time to change that.
Consider going back to school with a college loan. Increase your employ-ability while getting money to help you pay your bills.
Distance learning is a big thing these days, so you may not even have to visit a campus. It has become so mainstream that online education is no longer looked down upon as being lesser quality. This means that you can increase your education level even if you are stuck at home, home schooling kids.
Of course, any money you borrow must be paid back in the future. That being said, the funds might be useful now and the education could help you increase your income greatly in the future.