If you're like many Americans, you're sheltering in place right now to help stop the spread of COVID-19. While staying indoors, it's an ideal time to try to reduce some of your costs, especially due to the economic uncertainty resulting from the coronavirus.
To help you drop your bills, consider these three techniques.
1. Batch-cook big meals around what's on sale
While you have time at home, cut your dining costs by getting creative with cooking. Shop the grocery store fliers to see what's discounted for the week or consider bulk-buying a few ingredients such as ground beef on special. Then cook up some big pots of meals using your sale ingredients. You can eat the meal for a few days and freeze the leftovers for lunches or dinners.
If you have a freezer full of good food, you won't be as tempted by meal delivery and can keep both grocery costs and dining-out expenditures as low as possible.
2. Improve your home's energy efficiency
Most of us have items plugged in that suck up phantom power, whether it's an old DVD player or a fully charged phone or a coffeemaker with a blinking clock. Put these items on power strips so you can turn them off when not in use or unplug the ones you no longer need so you can reduce your energy bill.
If you have conditioned air escaping your home through cracks around windows or doors, you can also take the time when you're stuck at home to seal up these gaps and stop wasting electricity and money on heating and AC.
Making your home more energy efficient will pay off now and over the long term.
3. Limit your online shopping time and buy only necessities
If you're at home and bored, it's all too easy to navigate to your favorite online merchant and add a few items to your shopping cart. Clicking "buy" often doesn't even feel like spending real money, so you could end up filling your time by wasting cash on things you don't really need.
Instead of browsing online shopping websites when you're looking for something to do, limit yourself to only making purchases at specific times such as ordering once every few days. And commit to buying only the essentials you need to keep your household running during the crisis.
Not only can this help you save money, but it will also limit your contact with delivery people. And you won't be placing an order that someone has to go out in during a pandemic to deliver something that's nonessential.
When you do buy online, you may also want to check your local stores first, before larger national retailers, since your purchase could give companies in your area the cash they need to survive the crisis.
Saving on expenses is smart during the coronavirus crisis
COVID-19 is causing adverse economic consequences for millions of Americans. Whether you're uncertain about how long your paycheck will last, living on unemployment, or aiming to find more money to invest in the market while stocks are on sale, cutting spending right now just makes sense. Hopefully, these tips can help.