9 Things That Are Cheaper Due to the Coronavirus

Woman in a mask and headphones
Photo by LightField Studios / Shutterstock.com

The lockdowns are hopefully behind us, but the coronavirus pandemic is hardly over.

While some aspects of daily life more or less have returned to normal for many people, others remain out of work or afraid to leave home as COVID-19 cases continue to swell in some parts of the country.

Fortunately, many of the things that became cheaper due to the coronavirus remain free or cheap today, more than four months after the pandemic was officially declared.

1. Shipping

Some of the retailers that offered free shipping with no minimum purchase as the pandemic spread across the U.S. are still offering it for a limited time. They include Sephora, Staples and Walgreens.

2. Credit reports

Through April 2021, consumers can access their free Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports as often as once a week.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, free credit file access generally was limited to one per year from each of those credit reporting companies, as mandated by federal law.

Checking your credit reports is important because they contain information used to determine your credit score. To learn how to request yours, check out “How to Get Your Free Credit Report in 6 Easy Steps.”

3. Borrowing

The Federal Reserve’s two rate cuts in March were expected to have a domino effect on multiple types of consumer interest rates, ultimately making it cheaper to borrow money. In fact, on July 16, mortgage rates fell below 3% for the first time in 50 years, according to Freddie Mac.

Stop by Money Talks News’ Solutions Center to compare rates on credit cards, home mortgages, mortgage refinances and other types of borrowing.

4. Extra savings account withdrawals

Thanks to a recent Federal Reserve ruling, you may be able to take money from your savings account or money market account penalty-free.

In the past, bank customers paid a fee if they made certain types of withdrawals from these accounts more than six times in a month.

The Fed is relaxing that rule temporarily, which means each bank can decide whether they’ll offer more penalty-free withdrawals. Check with your own financial institution to see if you get a break here.

5. Audiobooks

Even if your public library is closed, you can stream select kids audiobooks for free through the Audible Stories program.

And pandemic or not, there are always plenty of ways for anyone to enjoy audiobooks for free, as we detail in “10 Places You Can Find Free Audiobooks.”

6. Home workouts

Even if your local gym has yet to reopen, you can still get your sweat on at home. Some gym chains continue to offer online classes for free, even to nonmembers.

For example, Blink Fitness and Planet Fitness are each hosting free home workouts on Facebook Live, and Orangetheory Fitness is posting workouts to its YouTube channel.

7. Postponement of student loan payments

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides a freeze on payments and drops interest to 0% for federally owned student loans until Sept. 30.

The law doesn’t do much for borrowers with private student loans, but several states have stepped in to help.

More than a dozen private lenders reached agreements with the governments of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Virginia and Washington state. Separately, the District of Columbia and the state of New York also have extended relief to borrowers with private student loans.

Under the multistate agreement, participating loan servicers must offer minimum protections, such as $0 payments for 90 days — for borrowers who request them. If you live in one of these states and your lender is participating, contact your loan servicer for details.

8. Required minimum distributions

The CARES Act waived required minimum distributions, or RMDs, in 2020. That means folks who normally would have to take an RMD this year aren’t required to withdraw money from their retirement accounts this year.

If you choose to skip your RMD in 2020, your taxable income likely will be lower this year. That means you are likely to see some tax savings when you file your return in 2021.

If you withdrew an RMD this year and wish to return it to your retirement account, you have until Aug. 31 to “undo” the withdrawal.

9. Sales tax

Not even the pandemic can put a damper on back-to-school sales tax holidays. Just as many states will offer them this summer as did last summer.

School supplies, office supplies, clothing and computers are among the types of items for which you can pay no sales tax if you purchase them during these state-mandated periods. To learn more, check out “16 States With Sales Tax Breaks This Summer.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
My Favorite Amazon Purchases From 22 Years of Shopping There
My Favorite Amazon Purchases From 22 Years of Shopping There

Yes, I’ve been shopping on Amazon since the 1990s. These are among my most beloved buys.

9 Purchases That Will Make You More Productive
9 Purchases That Will Make You More Productive

These Amazon products can give you an extra edge at work and other parts of your life.

9 Ways to Get Cheap or Free Veterinary Care
9 Ways to Get Cheap or Free Veterinary Care

Medical care for your furry friends can be expensive. Here are some tips to take a bite out of vet bills.

How to Fix 6 Common Retirement Mistakes
How to Fix 6 Common Retirement Mistakes

Here’s how to strengthen your nest egg before or even during your golden years so these missteps don’t ruin your retirement.

33 Home Upgrades That Cost Less Than $100
33 Home Upgrades That Cost Less Than $100

A little money goes a long way with these imaginative projects. You can do most of them yourself.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

Why Cloth Masks May Increase Your Coronavirus Risk
Why Cloth Masks May Increase Your Coronavirus Risk

A new study finds that wearing a cloth mask can backfire if you don’t clean it properly.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car
This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car

Looking for a good deal on a set of wheels? This should be your first stop.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value
7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

You can add value to your home without hiring a contractor to do expensive renovations.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.