As a freelancer or full-time employee, we all (or almost all) saw our financial status change during this time of crisis caused by COVID-19.
Its arrival led to a lot of anxiety. If it wasn’t you who felt it, you undoubtedly saw people around you being consumed by it. Let me tell you that there is no worse cocktail than anxiety mixed with financial problems. In the next months, one way or another, we will all have to review our expenses and adapt ourselves to this new way of life…
As you know, I’m a very thrifty person, and I figured that the following financial advice would certainly be useful to some people. Obviously, adapt them to your financial situation as this one is unique to everyone.
BACK TO BASICS
This is my most infallible trick. I have often talked about it in my previous articles, like this one. The best way to save is to ask yourself if you really need it. I have been using this technique for years, and I have to say that it has changed my perspective on things.
Before pressing the famous “buy” button, take a break. Go do something else and ask yourself: “Do I really need this?”
Often, the answer is “no!” And you move on. And if it keeps going round in your head for days… See if your budget allows it, and if it does not, move on.
CREATE A BUDGET FOR YOUR ESSENTIAL EXPENSES AND STICK TO IT
This is something I do regularly, and it is quite simple. How much money comes in? How much money is being spent? With a few additions and subtractions, you will get a number. It can’t be clearer than that.
Once you know how much money comes in, calculate your essential expenses: electricity, gas, groceries, rent or mortgage, car payments, cellphone bills and drugstore.
Play around with the numbers until you get a clear picture of everything. You might have to adjust your phone plan or recalculate your grocery expenses to make it work. Make sure that there is a bit of money left at the end for unexpected costs because there is always something unexpected that happens!
CANCEL YOUR TV PACKAGE
If you still have a TV package … cancel it now! It is so expensive, and there are so many cheaper options online, in my opinion. Tell yourself that if your TV package costs you $110 per month, for a third of the price, you could subscribe online to a few channels that you really enjoy. Here, I use a Roku, which is a bit like an Apple TV (but for only $30). It connects to my TV, and from there, I add the apps that I really want to use like Netflix, Amazon TV, Canada TV, etc.
STOP BUYING NEW THINGS FOR THE HOUSE, AND REUSE WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE INSTEAD
I have been doing that a lot lately. When I want to make changes in a room, I shop inside my own house instead of buying new items. It changes the look of the rooms and makes me want to buy less. During tougher times, it’s a good way to bring change to your house or your condo without spending money.
Do “pizza nights” (by the way, we have an easy recipe for a great pizza dough, right here), create menus with fun themes to change your routine, or have a picnic in your living room. The idea is to create culinary events that get you out of your routine. You will see, after that, you will not (or less) want to order food online… Because let’s be real, a homemade pizza costs about $5. However, if you order it, you’ll be lucky if you pay under $20.
BORROW WHAT YOU NEED INSTEAD OF BUYING IT
I know it might seem difficult to borrow something when you can’t really be neighbourly and meet people. But you can still ask your neighbour to leave that thing you need on their doorstep so you can come and get it. Everything that you don’t buy and can borrow is money that stays in your pocket.
BE MINDFUL WHILE GROCERY SHOPPING
Now that you have a fixed budget to do your groceries divide it in 4 (for the 4 weeks of the month), and make sure to stick to it. Grocery shopping online during this time of crisis also helps a lot to adjust groceries according to our budget.
Vary what you buy from week to week, that way you won’t feel like you always eat the same thing! And also, home cooking really helps to lower your grocery bill.
I hope that these little tips will help you during these difficult times.
What’s important right now isn’t to save money, but to survive while things get back on track.
And tell yourself that you’re not the only one in this situation. Don’t hesitate to talk about it with a loved one, sometimes it helps to alleviate the problem.
This post was translated from French to English by:
Hi! I’m Judith, lab technician in research for almost eight years now and second-year student in translation. I discovered the joys of travelling in my late twenties, and I now enjoy exploring bustling cities as much as the great outdoors. True animal lover, I appreciate the simple things in life and see no problem in eating sushi with a side of poutine! #dontjudgeme ?