We are always trying to save money and I consider myself a very frugal person. During this period of quarantine, we are trying to save now, more than ever, since we are staying home and also missing work.
Here are some tips I have learned over the years, and others that we are working on in light of quarantine. While not all of these save a lot of money, every little bit adds up.
- Go through your bills and subscriptions and see if there are any services you can cancel – especially anything that is not relevant during this time of staying at home and in isolation.
- Drink water. It’s free, and it’s healthy. Stop drinking soda, wine, and other beverages.. even a dollar a day spent on beverages adds up. It is also a great way to stay healthy. Use a reusable water bottle to keep track of water consumption – make it a daily goal to finish a certain amount!
- I can relate to wanting a cup of coffee every morning, but I generally do not get coffee outside of home. Once in a while I splurge on a $0.99 coffee from Cumberland Farms or I use my Dunkin Donuts gift card as a treat. If you are trying to save money, spending $5 on a coffee at Starbucks is the last thing you should be doing. Homemade coffee isn’t always amazing, but it is still pretty good in my book, especially when I remind myself about that vacation to Mexico we are saving for. $5 a day Starbucks x 30= $150 a month saved.
- Minimize takeout. While I think it is fine to do a splurge here and there, keep track of your spending. Maybe go for a family dinner on Sunday nights, versus everyday takeout. The great part about limiting how much you eat out, is that it becomes a treat, versus an everyday thing.
- Line dry your clothes. I stopped using my dryer for the most part years ago, and use it only for a few minutes on medium heat per wash for things like dress shirts. Everything else gets dried in the sun in the summer, which means we have some really fresh laundry! In the winter, I have a drying rack for clothes. Plus, there are theories about sunshine killing germs, so now more than ever is time a give everything a healthy dose of sunshine.
- During quarantine, you want to keep your sanity, so paying for a streaming service or renting books or movies is fine. However – shop around and look for freebies. Your local library may be offering free digital books, and I have seen lots of other freebies. Streaming services are often running promotions, such as a free trial or low-cost trial. When we rent a movie, you can google the title, and a list of where to rent, and at what prices, comes up. Sometimes the prices vary, and this is a great way to save.
- Turn down the heat or turn up the AC. Our house stays pretty cool in the winter, but we save money. We wear slippers or thick socks, and you can always wear a sweater if you feel chilly. In the winter our heat doesn’t go above 65 (66-67 max, usually when we have guests) and down in the mid-50’s at night.
- Now is a great time to clean your own car, inside and out. Do your own thorough cleaning since chances are, you are home and have the time. It is also a good time to actually go through your glove compartment, console, etc. and make sure everything is clean and up to date. Time to throw out those expired snacks and be sure your insurance card is up to date!
- Be aware of things like taking long showers. While it is good to get dressed and look/feel presentable, I am using more dry shampoo lately so that I don’t spend as much time in the shower.
- Do your own yard work and improve curb appeal. You can add value to your home just by cleaning up your yard, without spending money (e.g. raking, trimming bushes, neatening landscaping beds, pulling weeds). Getting rid of a lawn service may not be possible for everyone, but at $40+ a week for lawn service, you could easily buy a mower and quickly recoup the money. Same goes for raking, fertilizing, etc. If you generally work long hours and are either exhausted or there isn’t enough daylight, it is understandable if you can’t do it on your own (as you will eventually be going back to your usual schedule). You could invest in other lawn equipment like a good pole saw and it will easy earn itself back.
- Be savvy about leftovers and freezer meals. Even if I am cooking pasta, I always cook the whole box at one time. This way, I save the hassle of cooking small portions, and I know I will have leftovers, which is efficient. Make large batches of food you can freeze (like soups or lasagna). You can also buy things in bulk to freeze, or day old bagels at the bakery (and toast them or use them for pizza bagels).
- Figure out cheap, cost-efficient meals. You don’t necessarily have to sacrifice eating healthy for this! For example, make a big batch of soup using a variety of lentils or beans, carrots, celery, etc. Freeze leftovers. Try your hand at making things like homemade granola.
- Go through things you don’t normally use – and use them! For instance, we seem to have an eclectic collection of paper plates from birthdays and other celebrations over the years. I literally found Dora & Diego themed birthday plates (and my daughter is 13!). We are working on using up random disposable dishes, which also helps to save on utilities (running the dishwasher). Also go through your freezer and pantry. We have been eating up foods that we have ignored for too long, like freezer burnt green beans and that can of beans we have been avoiding. Make a fun meal out of it, like a creative and healthy soup that uses up canned tomatoes and beans.
- Be conscious about what you wear. While I like to get dressed and look presentable even during quarantine, I am not wearing my best clothes so that I don’t wear them out. We reuse our pajamas and wear them more than once. Since we are always home, I will wear a t-shirt under a sweatshirt, and reuse the sweatshirt or sweater for a few days (instead of washing the sweatshirt every day).
- Plan early if you need to order something like birthday gifts, because shipping time is longer than usual, so that you do not have to pay for expedited shipping.
- Look or wait for coupons for your online shopping. For example, order your pet supplies online when there are good deals.
What are some ways you save?