The coronavirus pandemic definitely put a wrench in everyone’s 2020 plans, throwing the U.S. and countries across the globe into financial hardship. Up until February 2020, the U.S. economy was on an upward trend, the longest in its history stretching back to 2009. Since then, the unemployment rate in the U.S. hit an all time high in 2020, peaking at 14.7 percent in April and is still higher than it was in the years prior, at 6.9 percent.
The future of COVID-19 is uncertain, as big medicine companies race to create an effective vaccine. Nobody knows when they will be widespread available and when the economy will recover to the point where it was before the pandemic struck. With that being said, you are probably searching for ways to save as you head into the new year. Luckily, we’re here to help.
Here are 6 ways to create a personal budget and cut back on the books for next year in light of COVID-19.
1. Search for Extended Warranties
An extended warranty, also known as a service agreement, maintenance agreement, or service contract, is an insurance of sorts offered to consumers who purchase a product. The extended warranty is offered on top of a standard warranty, and can cover a range of issues depending on the product.
For example, companies like Olive offer extended warranties for Mazda vehicles that cover issues such as mechanical breakdowns, according to their website https://gogetolive.com/extended-car-warranty/mazda/.
If you need to purchase an expensive product such as a car in 2021, you should consider an extended warranty. This will ensure you pay less in the long run in the event that something happens to your vehicle. Doing so will help you save big!
2. Use Coupons
When it comes to budgeting and saving, coupons are your best friend. Whether it’s the old fashioned method of clipping newspapers and magazines or using online promo codes while shopping your favorite brands, there’s a way to save for everyone. Shopping at wholesale stores such as Costo or BJs, Walmart, or online at Amazon.com will also help you save big with coupons that you can apply.
3. Cancel Automatic Subscriptions and Memberships
You may not even realize it, but chances are you have a subscription or two that you are not even aware of that you are paying! Perhaps you signed up for a free trial but never canceled. Or maybe the price went up on a subscription service of yours but you never even noticed. Suddenly, you’re paying double than what you used to! It’s easy for automatic costs like these to fall through the cracks, especially if you don’t go through your card statements line for line.
The next time you receive your credit card bill, take a look at what the charges are and make sure there isn’t anything that shouldn’t be there.
4. Buy Generic Brands
A brand name may look attractive on the shelf. Shiny packaging, catchy phrasing, and the idea that their product works better than generic brands. In most, if not all cases, this is not true. You can achieve the same effect or quality of product whether you are buying generic or brand name. It all comes down to packaging and marketing. Save big by siding with generic store brands next time you are at the store.
5. Reduce Energy Costs
Your energy bill could make up a major portion of your monthly costs, especially during the summer months. How can you be more energy efficient in 2021? Here are a few ways:
- Clean your A/C filter every two months
- Buy smart lights and smart plugs
- Take shorter showers
- Use smaller appliances such as a microwave when cooking, instead of a stove
- Turn off lights and fans when you leave the room
- Keep doors inside the house open to help airflow
- Make sure electronics such as video game consoles are off or unplugged when not in use
6. Pack Lunch and Eat At Home
Eating out is tempting, especially when ordering delivery so you don’t even have to leave the house to get your favorite meal with zero effort! However, those delivery fees will add up quickly. Doing groceries and cooking can help you save big on restaurant costs. The next time you go back into the office, be sure to pack a lunch. Use the food you have in your refrigerator to prepare your lunch the night before or in the morning, so you are not rushing out the door to the office and eating out for lunch once you’re there.