Coronavirus has forced us to do many things, and most of them negative. However, it is one of the best reasons ever to embrace frugality. If you are looking to be proactive during this global crisis and can’t find a way to do it, then learning how to live frugally could be the answer. You don’t know what’s going to happen with the market or the economy, you don’t know what’s going to happen with this virus, and you can’t control either of those things, but one thing that you can control right now is your spending.
Frugal living doesn’t have to be miserable either; it can actually be really enjoyable once you get into it, and the feeling of control over your money at the same time as watching it grow can be exhilarating. A frugal lifestyle means that you have to be very intentional with your spending; it is where you choose to prioritize the things that matter to you most to you and cut back on spending in other areas. Frugality isn’t the same for everyone either and will look different for each person, so the best part about it is that you can create your own approach, and you can decide where you spend and where you cut back. But where do you start?
Do A Direct Debit Audit
To start with, go through your bank statements and make a list of all your direct debits. Sort them into the order of priority and decide if any of them can be canceled? Or even can you cancel them just temporarily until things ease? Once you have done that, take a look at what’s left and see where you can reduce them. Could you switch energy providers? Or start doing more to save energy? Is there a better deal on your insurance or mobile phone? Shop around and see what you could do.
Next, you need to start budgeting. You need to know how much money you have going out, and don’t bury your head in the sand. If you do this, it can easily lead to overspending. Being in control of your finances also makes you feel a lot better, and your spending habits will probably improve as a result. When you budget, you will also be able to work out how much you could put aside for your savings. Check out Pigly.com and use the free calculators to work out your sums.
Stay At Home
So here’s where Coronavirus really starts to benefit you. With lockdowns and isolation and the fact that it’s safer for everyone if you stay at home, there are not many places you can go, and you can’t invite anyone over either. So if you stay at home then you’ll be saving money on transport, entertainment as there’s nothing to do, going out to bars restaurants and coffee shops and spontaneous shopping.
Cut down on unnecessary shopping.
It can be difficult because you’re likely using the internet more than ever before to stay in touch with people and seeing ads for things which you want, plus online shopping can be the only thing to look forward to these days. However, if you do have to buy something such as a birthday present for someone, then try to avoid buying online from big companies as there are smaller businesses that need your money more. Try to help out small brands where you can and even better if they’re local. If you aren’t going out, see if they have an online presence as many now have, and some small businesses are even just on Facebook, so have a look there.
Buy Food Wisely
You’re still going to need to eat, but you can do this frugally; you just have to have a plan and think carefully before you go out to the supermarket. With time on your hands, though, instead of buying a loaf of bread, buy the raw ingredients to bake bread as this will turn out cheaper in the long run. Buy bulk, raw foods, which will give you plenty of flexibility in your cooking and will cost less.
Try batch cooking
It’s easy to make big batches of soups and stews, so why not make a load of these and then freeze portions of them. This way you’ll have healthy meals which you can simply heat up easily when you want them.
Take advantage of free resources.
Luckily, the internet is full of free resources, so you should really make the most of them and seek them out. For example, Audible sometimes offer free children’s books, which can be great, and if you are a member of your local library, then Borrow Box or Libby apps offer free e-books and audiobooks too. There are tonnes of free workout videos online, and for kids, you can find all of Joe Wicks’ free kids PE classes on YouTube.
Finally, while you’re spending more time at home, there is no better time to sort out your stuff, and at this time of year, it’s a good idea to go through your wardrobe and get it ready for winter. When you clean your house, give it a good sort out too, and as you come across things that you no longer need or want or clothes you haven’t worn for a while, then sell them. This is a really easy way to make money, clear out your clutter, and while people are watching their money right now, they are all after bargains as well, so you’ll find it pretty easy to sell your things.
If you do not have an emergency fund saved up, then now is the time to start one. This should be money you can access immediately in an emergency and be enough to live on for about three to six months and by following some or all of these steps you can save a decent amount of money as it all adds up and can be so useful should another global pandemic happen.