This is a collaborative post by Ellie Jo with tips on saving money during quarantine.
There are many different stages to self-isolation and quarantine, and depending on how quickly you tend to cycle through things, you’ll probably be at one of the following points.
- What do I even do if I’m not supposed to live the house?
- Oh well, time to watch every streaming service I have and sign up for free trials on the ones I don’t.
- I’ve never really got into baking. No time like the present, I guess.
- My sourdough starter is better than everyone else’s.
- Is it time to come out of quarantine yet?
The truth is, there might well be a few months before we can reasonably start to return to normal. Some reports indicate that “normal” might be very temporary before quarantine is advised once again. So it is probably worth getting used to the fact that this is a longer-term experience than most of us were banking on, and really use the time productively. That doesn’t mean you need to write a novel or learn to play the harp. It could mean going through your finances and seeing where you could benefit from the restrictions we’re currently living under.
How to Save Money While In Quarantine
Don’t stop spending, but consider where it’s most effective
When you’re aware that you may have to quarantine, one of the first steps any of us makes is to make sure the house is ready for lockdown. This can mean stockpiling food and household items – which is an entirely understandable reaction – but stockpiling often gives way to panic buying.
Do you need eighteen bottles of pine fresh furniture polish? No, probably not, but when you are worried that you might not be able to shop again for some time, it can muddle your decision-making powers.
Sometimes, for the same price that you would accept paying for a huge shop, you can buy one thing that will save money going forward. For example, an additional freezer or fridge will allow you to keep food for longer, rather than throwing things away when you have accepted that you’ll never use them within their best-before date. Even when we’re all through this thing, additional storage space is never a bad thing to have.
Turn phone calls into video calls
It’s easy and convenient to pick up your cell phone or the landline to call family, friends, and others; and being stuck at home more or less permanently makes it more likely we’ll make more of those calls.
In truth, there has never been a better time to take a leaf out of the corporate book and turn the phone call into a Skype call or similar. It’s free, it’s more personal, and yes, it might be a little more technical – but we do suddenly have the time to learn more things; that includes any friends and family who might previously have been skeptical about video calling.
If you haven’t been making video calls previously, this is honestly something to get used to now. All the evidence suggests teleconferencing is going to be more and more prominent in the business world as time goes on, so it’s absolutely time to learn which camera placement suits you better and get used to the vagaries of video calling.
Speaking to family or friends is also a much better time to learn about how your cat enjoys wandering into shot, compared to finding that out when you’re working remotely and in a strategy meeting on Zoom.
Have an audit of accounts
Going through all of your accounts is one of those tasks that is inevitably necessary, but absolutely no fun. However, you’re going to be home for a while, so it’s a good idea to get financially prepared so when the time comes to leave quarantine, you’re in the best possible position.
This means making sure that credit card balances are as low as they can be, interest-bearing bank accounts are funded as they need to be, and that you are signing up for any income support schemes you may qualify for at federal and state level.
It also may be time to look at changing your provider on a range of fronts – do you need to be paying what you are for your cell phone? Given that you aren’t going to be driving much for a while, and that working from home is an increasingly popular move, maybe you’d be better served going to the likes of Metromile for your car insurance?
Anywhere that you’re paying for more cover, or more space, than you really need, can be crunched down to save some cash; if there is one thing that we can all agree on the life we’re all experiencing right now, it’s that we’re able to get a unique perspective on the things that we need and those we don’t.
There’s no need to buy clothes
Shopping for clothes – especially online – is about more than having something to wear, of course. The excitement of having something new, the thought of how to pair it with things you already have, of course these things make clothes shopping all the more pleasurable.
However, if you’re not about to be leaving the home for anything but the essential trips, you’re not going to get value for money on anything you buy. It’s absolutely fine, even if you’re working from home, to dress as you would for a duvet day.
Not only is this the case, but due to the lockdown there are things currently in your wardrobe that you haven’t worn in weeks. By the time things return to normal, it will be months.
This is a chance to rediscover the joy of a garment without having to spend on getting something new. Sure, you’ll spend on clothes again in the future – but then, you’ll be making the choice for all the right reasons, rather than shopping online because you’re bored.
For now, keep your powder dry, and may all of your clothes shopping be of the “window” variety.
We don’t know when all of this is going to end, but if you make the right financial decisions you can emerge from quarantine with a spring in your step thanks to the savings you make now.