Many Americans are still reluctant to leave home more than necessary as coronavirus infections continue to spread across the U.S.
If you’re trying to figure out how to improve your finances today — without leaving home — know that there are several things you can do to make a difference.
Following are some actions to better manage your money as we settle into a situation that may not end soon.
Start budgeting — or at least tracking expenses
Take a look at where your money is going. Check your bank statements from the last two months to see how you’ve spent cash.
Find expenses that are unnecessary and cut them from your budget. Redirect that money to your emergency fund so you can boost liquid savings before times get harder.
This is all much easier if you use a software program like Money Talks News partner YNAB (short for "You Need A Budget") to track and budget your money.
There are seemingly countless ways to make money from home, allowing you to diversify your income and protect against difficulties in the future. Explore the options in “12 Easy Ways To Make Make Money Online Without Leaving Home,” for example.
Plus, if you’re carrying debt, paying it off ASAP can be a good way to use extra income in the future.
Lower car and homeowners insurance premiums
One of the best ways to save money each month is to compare different premium costs and switch your insurance coverage.
Once you find a lower premium, ask your current insurer to match it. If they don’t, make the switch. You can bank any savings each month, using the money to protect you in the future.
Lower credit card rates
Even if you usually pay off your credit card balance in full each month, you might need to carry a balance if the recession drags on. As a result, you also might pay a lot of money in interest fees.
One way to reduce the cost of carrying debt is to ask for a lower rate. You might be surprised to discover that you can get a lower APR just by asking.
Now might also be a good time to consider getting a 0% APR credit card. You can get one with a long introductory period so you don’t pay interest on purchases made during the recession. Or, you might get a 0% APR balance transfer card and move balances over to that card and avoid interest during an introductory period.
Just be aware that you need a pay-down plan that allows you to get rid of the balance before the introductory period ends and your interest rate skyrockets.
Cut the cable cord
If you’re still paying for cable, now is the time to cut the cord. While some streaming services can be as expensive as cable TV, they don’t have to be. Do a little research, and you’ll find some dirt-cheap streaming options like those we outline in “4 Streaming TV Services That Cost $20 a Month — or Less.”
There are even numerous free streaming options that can save you on entertainment while you’re cooped up during the pandemic.
Raise your credit score
A good credit score can save you money in the long run. If you end up needing just about any type of debt — whether it’s a loan for economic hardship or a mortgage that can help you take advantage of a possible coming real estate crash — you want to qualify for the lowest rates.
Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson breaks this down further in “5 Simple Steps to Increase Your Credit Score in 30 Days.”