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9 Practical Ways to Save Money During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In challenging situations putting some extra money aside might help an uncertain situation. Here are nine simple tips anyone can implement!

Thomas Groenvold
Sep 25 · 7 min read
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ANDRANIK HAKOBYAN/ with a license.

COVID-19 took the world in a sweep. No one saw it coming, and no one has prepared their resources ahead of time. Its onset brought frustration and fear to almost everyone. Now, after half a year of restricted movement, unstable economy, and unsecured employment, have humanity already adopted and embraced the new normal?

COVID-19 took not just our physical freedom; its undeniable effect on the economy also posed a threat to the financial independence of people worldwide. Business operations are hampered, customers are limited, and jobs lost during the pandemic. Expenses are continuous, while income remains inadequate. The government support could not last long, and people must develop a plan to survive financially. After months of facing the pandemic, no one is still sure about when or how this pandemic will end. This calls for concrete solutions — frugality and resourcefulness. To help you reclaim your financial freedom amidst the epidemic, here are nine practical ways to save money during this health crisis.

1. Cut your phone and insurance bills

Though the pandemic brought economic and health restrictions and problems, it also revealed camaraderie and sympathy. Several billers cut off their monthly premiums to help their customers adapt to the limitations due to COVID-19. Other companies even cancel the monthly payment during the spike of the pandemic.

According to the report of the Consumer Federation of America, around 80% of auto-insurance companies refunded and canceled around $6.5 billion worth of insurance for May and June. Farmers Insurance Group, for example, applied a 15%, 25%, and 40% discount for certain months, depending on the insured location. Hundreds of carrier companies also signed a commitment to the “Keep Americans Connected Pledge,” which promises a non-termination of connections due to overdue payments during the pandemic, waiver of late fees as a consideration for the customers’ economic circumstances, and an open Wi-Fi hotspot for every American who are in need. Carriers also pledge to develop cheaper plans and promos to help consumers save money.

With these things mentioned, you might want to call your providers to know if they implement the same considerations. You can refund and save the excess premium which you have already paid for. You can also ask for re-computation considering the restrictions posed by the pandemic, especially for auto insurance. Switch to cheaper and more inclusive plans that are just enough to cover your connection requirements.

2. Choose simple recipes

Our inability to dine in restaurants and bars can be considered as a blessing in disguise in terms of our finances, at least. When eating out, we pay not just for the foods we eat. We also pay for the place and the service. On top of the actual costs, businesses still add some amount to get a decent profit. Altogether, these charges cost us a significant amount of money, yet we are willing to pay for our experience and satisfaction.

The pandemic gives us no choice but to give up those benefits of eating out. On the positive note, it enables us to save a considerable chunk of our regular food expenses. Cooking at home allows us to choose the food we want while at the same time considering the costs of the ingredients. Since the end of the pandemic is still uncertain, we must choose simple recipes for the meantime. By simple recipes, it doesn’t mean plain and boring. They can even be exciting if one knows how to do them right. Use the Internet to find cheap alternatives to your favorite recipes. Cut off the unnecessary ingredients, especially those that are for aesthetic purposes only. To maximize the experience, you can create a DIY table set-up to achieve your desired ambiance.

3. Keep your shopping list simple

To maximize the benefits of your simple recipes, partner it with a simple shopping list. Before the pandemic, we are used to purchasing items, even outside our shopping list. Why not? We have stable jobs and regular income. But this pandemic teaches us an important lesson in life — discipline.

Keeping a simple shopping list ensures that your food expenses do not exceed your allotted budget. It is a crucial yet straightforward means of saving in times of crisis like this. You can also opt to buy in bulk to get items at a lower price. Keep your foods at the freezer to extend their shelf life.

4. Cancel subscriptions

A tighter budget demands for heartbreaking measures. With an excess budget at hand, we are tempted to commit to several subscriptions that keep us from boredom. That is entirely acceptable… before the pandemic started. To save money for the remaining days of the crisis, you have to cut out unnecessary expenses. Cancel the subscriptions that are not important and are not frequently used. Only keep the essentials.

5. Choose used items if possible

Amidst the pandemic, our needs and wants for material items still endure. Honestly, we should partly be guilty and partly be resourceful about it. Considering our unstable income, we can opt for used items over brand new ones. Though others may not be aware of it, overrun and second-hand items can still be as useful and as valuable as new ones.

To save some amount of money, take advantage of marketplaces and platforms where you can find used items. Just be sure to carefully check descriptions and specifications, as well as the credibility of the seller. As much as possible, avoid sending payments in advance.

6. Embrace DIY home designs

Home improvements can be delayed during the pandemic, but if not possible, why not use this opportunity to make a DIY design for your home? There are plenty of resources on the Internet, which you can watch, read, and follow to achieve your dream home design without shelling out a significant amount of money. This can also be a good time killer during the time of lockdown.

The first step is to think of your desired theme, search for cheap DIY home design, purchase the needed materials, and enjoy the design process. Ask help from your family members and housemates to maximize the output.

7. Process your refunds

COVID-19 pandemic has a disturbing impact on the tourism industry. Travel destinations are now unreachable to thousands of supposed travelers. In the US alone, a $519 billion decline in travel expenditures is expected. This value translates to a $1.2 trillion reduction in the economic output.

Unfortunately, travelers also need to refund their pre-booked reservations to deal with their current expenses. You might see this as a hassle, but it is definitely important. If you are one of those travelers, immediately call the airline, hotel, resort, and other companies you have paid in advance and ask for your refund. Companies are expected to be ready for such claims because, ideally, many customers have demanded the same refund. Other companies might offer you different alternatives, such as credits for future reservations.

8. Save energy

During the onset of the crisis, global energy consumption reached an all-time low level after 30 years. The closure of businesses and a steep decline in the worldwide economy pushed this downward trend forward.

However, as businesses partially or complete resume with its operations, and schools and organizations shift to a home-based arrangement, our energy consumption started to increase. Our daily activities require us to use more appliances and gadgets. While this is undeniable, we must still save energy whenever possible. Limit the use of heating and cooling systems, lights, computers, and phones if not necessary. Not only will we be able to save money, but we can also be of fair use to the environment.

9. Fill in your cash cushion

Now that you’ve already learned eight ways on how you can save money during the pandemic, you can then proceed on filling up your cash cushion. Your cash cushion is your emergency fund, which you would use if ever you exhaust all of your other resources, or during an emergency only. You can place all of the savings and refunds that you have secured on the first eight tips into your cash cushion. It gives you protection from the unstable economy, unsecured employment, and the uncertainty brought by this pandemic. Just be disciplined and mindful not to spend that money for other purposes.

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic shook everyone. By the start of 2020, all we knew about were losses, quarantine, and restrictions. While it is easier to view the epidemic as a problem, we should still look for the right side. Instead of being down and discouraged, use this opportunity to save up some money. Do not be sad about not being able to go out; instead, be thankful that you can avoid the unnecessary expenses from eating and going out. There is no wrong timing in dreaming, working, and achieving financial goals. Who knows, this pandemic might be your perfect drive to achieve financial freedom?

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Thomas Groenvold

Written by

I explain money and investing | Write about Finance, investing and how to make your money do the heavy lifting | Blog:

Data Driven Investor

from confusion to clarity not insanity

Thomas Groenvold

Written by

I explain money and investing | Write about Finance, investing and how to make your money do the heavy lifting | Blog:

Data Driven Investor

from confusion to clarity not insanity

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