Saving money during a pandemic seems nearly impossible, right? With stores and restaurants closed and businesses everywhere cutting down (or closing), millions of people are out of a job. During a time like this, you need savings more than ever, but whether you’re out of a job or living paycheck-to-paycheck, it may seem impossible. It’s not. Because pandemic or not, black people can still save money.
Check out our favorite ways to save money. They may be unconventional, but they’re going to put money in your emergency fund, making it easier to stay afloat no matter what happens.
Cancel Subscriptions and Memberships
I like to call them ghost memberships – you know them, the memberships you signed up for but never used. Maybe you signed up for a free trial or two, assuming you’d cancel the membership before you got charged and then forgot.
We’ve all done it, but now it’s time to fix it. Go through your bank and credit card statements and look for recurring expenses. Look for things like gym memberships, warehouse store subscriptions, podcast subscriptions, and membership-based websites that you don’t use yet pay for and cancel them.
Just watch how much your credit card bill drops when you make this simple change.
Meal Plan Before Shopping
Shopping without a plan increases the chance of impulse buying and/or buying what you don’t need. Why overspend?
Instead, shop the sales. Grab your store’s circulars and plan your meals around what’s on sale. If your staple products are on sale, stock up. Then you don’t have to spend money when they are regular price and you need them.
Meal planning helps you figure out what you need rather than buying just to buy. You’ll have a plan, be more organized, and be less likely to eat out, which saves even more money.
Shop for Cheaper Insurance
When’s the last time you shopped your insurance? We all do it. You get comfortable with what you have and don’t think to shop around. If you look at your premiums now compared to a few years ago, you’ll likely notice quite an increase.
Premiums usually creep up slowly, so you don’t notice much of a difference, but over time, you’ll see the extra money you pay. Shop around for cheaper premiums and even check out the coverage you pay for – is it still necessary?
Car insurance is a good example of that. All too often, we overpay for coverage, not changing the amount we pay for as the car ages. Don’t get caught in that trap!
Cut the Cord
If you still have cable, cut it! Try a new service, like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu. You’ll pay a fraction of the price, have plenty of choices, and put more money in the bank.
Even if you opt for two streaming services instead of cable, chances are you’ll still save at least $50 a month. That’s $600 a year just for cutting the cord and getting with the times.
Negotiate your Credit Car APR
Do you carry credit card balances? If you’re a good customer (you pay your bills on time) consider asking your credit card company for a lower rate.
What’s the worst they can say? No? If they say no, look for balance transfer credit cards with lower interest rates and/or a 0% APR. You may pay a balance transfer fee, so take that into account, but if the interest savings is enough, it’s worth it.
Make your Own Coffee
I get it – coffee is a staple, but you can make it at home! Even if you love Starbucks’ lattes or other fancy drink, check out the copycat recipes online. You may find you can make your favorite drink even better at home.
Saving $5 a day or for some people $5 multiple times a day, adds up quickly. $5 a day every day or even 5 days a week is $100 to $140 a month that you can save and you don’t have to sacrifice. Have a little fun with experimenting with your own drinks.
Switch off the Lights
If you have kids, you hear me on this one. The electric bill is likely out of control. Get control back, though. Talk to everyone in your house about shutting lights off when they leave a room. Also think about unplugging electronics that aren’t in use, using a programmable thermostat to lower the AC when you’re not home or when you’re sleeping, and using energy-efficient lightbulbs.
Wash and Dry at Night
Energy costs are often lower at night. Make sure this is the case in your area by calling your utility company. They often charge higher rates during peak time and lower rates during slower times. Let’s say your rates are lower from 8 PM – 8 AM. Do your laundry, run your dishwasher, and take showers then.
You’ll use the same amount of energy, but pay lower rates. Who doesn’t love lower utility rates? If you want to take it a step further, air dry your clothes and even your dishes. You’ll use less heat and lower your bills even more.
Again, pandemic or not, black people can save money, and this is not just about black people. Anyone can save money today with a few simple steps. It takes a little thinking outside the box and yes, a little sacrifice. Don’t look at it as sacrifice, though. Instead, look at it as investing in your future. Would you rather have an emergency fund ready for the next downturn in the economy or be able to have your Starbucks today?
It takes putting things into perspective to realize what’s at stake. Yes, it feels like you have to give things up right now, but it’s so you have a brighter future. No one knows what the future looks like regarding the pandemic, so we are better off safe than sorry during these times.