While you may not be affected financially from the loss of a job during this economic downturn, why not take some time to comb through your bank statements and look at your spending? As we witness so much loss around us, we have an opportunity, to minimize the waste in our own spending. After all, we have extra time on our hands due to this forced slowdown in our social lives and work schedules, with many of us now staying home. There are obviously monthly savings we will have in the short term – for example, from money not spent on entertainment or fuel – but this is a great time to make permanent changes in spending habits. The following exercises and tips will not take much time, but could reap hundreds of dollars in monthly savings.
Comb through your subscription services
While many of us may be watching more TV and streaming more entertainment than we normally would, this is still a good time to look at our subscription services. Do you really need Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+? Take a look at how much you are watching, and perhaps turn one or two off for a few months. Then consider this: $20 a month saved = $240 in a year!
How much are you using your gym membership? Most gyms are closed right now, but before COVID, were you taking advantage of your gym membership and using it regularly? If not, now would be a good time to save that money and find alternate home workouts. There are many streaming services (some are even free), that can be done with minimal equipment from your living room. That’s $100 a month saved = $1,200 in a year!
And is it time to cut the cord all together? Cancelling the landline phone and only paying for a cellular phone can save over $50 a month. Do you really need that unlimited data plan? Take a minute to view the last 6 months of your cellular bills to see if you really need unlimited data. Between the landline and a different data plan, you could easily save $100 a month = $1,200 in a year!
Do you really need cable or DirecTV? A few years ago, my family realized we never watched the 400+ channels on DirecTV and were really only watching Netflix! We saved $180 a month = $2,160 a year! And, while I can definitely live without NBC’s Today Show in the morning, I absolutely cannot live without college football. During football season, we spring for HULU Live TV, and at around $60 a month, from August through the National Championship in January, it is well worth it. We just turn the subscription off when football season is over.
Take a few hours and get updated quotes on insurance
Are you paying too much for your auto insurance? Have you taken time to get quotes from other companies? I took an hour to shop around for auto insurance after my teenagers started driving and was able to save $300 a month off of my bill. That is $3,600 a year! Plus, many companies offer competitive prices if you bundle services. Take some time to evaluate what you are paying for your homeowners and auto insurance bills. It would be worth it to see if you can save with another company or by bundling services.
The cost of life insurance has also fallen over the years which can translate into lower premiums. As a Ramsey Solutions Preferred Financial Coach, I recommend 10-12 times your annual income in life insurance, term life only, for a 15-20 year term. This is crucial coverage if loved ones are dependent on your income, and you still carry debt. It is worth a second look to see if there are any savings available. Contact one of our insurance specialists to run you a quote!
Trim your grocery bill
The largest waste in most household budgets is in the grocery bill. We neglect to take inventory before going to the store, then we buy too much, food goes bad before we have time to eat it, and we don’t take the time to check prices and shop deals. This is a great time to clean out your pantry and freezer. Many of us have hundreds of dollars of food such as meat, casseroles, and vegetables in our freezers and pantries. Challenge yourself to use it all before buying any more groceries. Go through your pantry and see what you have; make a list of your supplies on hand and do some recipe planning; take advantage of your extra time and cook instead of getting take-out.
This is just a few things you can do to save money. Be deliberate. Mark off time in your calendars and make the calls. The savings add up quickly.
If you need help budgeting, I have several helpful tools that I would be happy to share with you. Take advantage of my financial coaching services during this down time and make permanent changes in your spending habits to put towards creating long-term wealth.
Ranch Capital Advisor