In the previous post, we discussed financial well being where we explored our relationship with money and methods to manage financial resources. As we go through the pandemic, we are having to consider ways to make our money last longer and identify the primary things we need. We are also having to make decisions on what and how much to spend on discretionary items or in other words, the things we want (not to be mistaken for what we need).
Taking time to list out your expenses and making a budget is a critical first step in the process. The next step is to find the items that you can cut back on or do without for a while or the long term. You can be creative in how you can save money and use your existing resources more wisely. Here are some ideas to start you thinking about reducing expenses and to save money with everyday choices.
Ways you can reduce your expenses.
- Cut out buying food and beverages away from home
- Buy unbranded or generic products in the supermarket
- Make your own meals at home and take your lunch to work
- Bulk cook your meals to spread out through the week
- Share auto journeys by ride-sharing or ride a bike to run errands or to work
- Look for better deals and/or renegotiate your phone, cable, loans, and insurance
- Look for deals and use coupons on things you need
- Turn off your lights and use energy saving bulbs
- Use your library for entertainment – online and onsite when they reopen
- Cancel or cut back on subscriptions and memberships
- Leverage employee benefits and discounts that your employer offers
- Leverage the resources and use of decision support tools within your investments and insurance plans
- Set up an automatic savings within your bank account
- Do a spending freeze where you try to not spend any money for a week
- Do your own home repair, yard updates and ask family and friends for help when needed
- Sell things that you do not use anymore or need
- Take shorter showers
- Borrow tools and items from family and friends that you use infrequently
- Borrow books, use the library or join / create a book club
As you go through reducing your expenses and begin to save some money, you will have a greater sense of control over your daily, weekly and monthly finances. You will also have the security to absorb a financial shock and to have the financial freedom to enjoy your life on your own term. Overall, these steps will not only improve your financial situation but can help you reduce your stress and enhance your overall wellbeing!