Many of us may be dealing with a sudden drop in income due to business closures as a result of the attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus. It’s affecting so many in our communities right now. Some may be completely out of work, while others may have seen a drastic reduction in income. Keeping up with bills and expenses at this time may be very difficult. Here are some things you may be able to do to ease the financial strain.
Ten Tips for Reducing Your Expenses Now
1. Cancel unneeded subscriptions. This can include magazine or food-based subscriptions, video streaming and cable tv services, audio/music services, and even mobile apps with monthly fees. You might find you have several monthly subscriptions or services that you never use, but are automatically billed to your credit card each month. Out of sight, out of mind. Of course, you may not want to cancel everything. Take inventory and decide what you can do without. Remember, you can always resume your memberships when your finances go back to normal. You also might find you don’t miss what you gave up.
2. Investigate cheaper cable alternatives. Have you considered streaming services like Youtube TV or Hulu with Live TV? These services cost less than $60 monthly and all you need is an internet connection. Often times this setup provides a pretty significant cost savings compared to traditional cable/internet bundles. Want to save extra long term? Buy your own router/modem combo and avoid rental fees from your internet company.
3. Review your cell phone plan. We rely so much on our cell phones all the time. Because we think we need it, we might have the max of all available minutes and services on our plans. Are there discounts for bundling services? Do you really need all of the services you currently have? Do some research and compare plans.
4. Cancel your landline. Many younger people have already done this. Most of us use our cell phones almost exclusively. If that’s the case for you and your family, consider canceling your home phone service. If it’s bundled into your internet service, you may want to compare the cost if you gave up the landline.
5. Shop around for lower car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and other insurance. You may find yourself with a little extra time on your hands, and there’s no better time to shop around for better insurance prices. You might find significant savings by switching carriers.
6. Consolidate debt. Interest rates are at new lows and there’s no better time to consolidate higher-interest debt to save on interest. Debt consolidation may provide you with a single, more affordable monthly payment that gets you through this tough financial time.
7. Consider mortgage refinance. Again, interest rates are extremely low. It might make financial sense to refinance your mortgage at this time. Speak to your mortgage lender and compare interest rates to see if it makes the best financial sense for you. Speak to your local credit union; they exist to help their members with their financial goals.
8. Stop smoking. If not now, when? Save money and your health!
9. Download a free workout app. Nike Training Club, Adidas Training by Runtastic, Daily Yoga: Workout & Fitness, Daily Workout Fitness Trainer, 30-Day Squat Challenge, FitOn, or AllTrails: Hike, Bike & Run maps…they’re all great and best of all, they’re FREE.
10. Cut down on energy use. You and your family may be spending more time at home, so this may be getting harder to do. Don’t leave TVs or lights on when not in use. Unplug appliances when not in use. Turn off your refrigerator’s ice maker. Take shorter showers. Turn off the heat dry function of your dishwasher, or lower your water temperature. Do only larger loads of laundry rather than smaller. All of these little things can add up to needed savings for you.
We hope these tips help provide extra money in your budget to cover expenses during these trying times. As always, Benchmark FCU will be here throughout this pandemic to serve the needs of our members and our community. If you find that these tips aren’t enough and that you need some extra help, we offer mortgage and auto loans for refinancing, home equity loans and home equity lines of credit to access funds at low rates, and a VISA credit card offering 0% APR* for 12 months, so you don’t have to worry about paying interest for a year. Stay healthy, everyone!
*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rate subject to change & based on individual’s credit history. 0% Intro Rate is valid for purchases & balance transfer from other institutions within 90 days from card opening. The 0% rate will be in effect for 12 months from first qualifying transaction within the 90 day period & after 12 months the rate on all unpaid balances will convert to the rate member qualified for at card opening. Triple Play Promotion is only valid on new VISA® Platinum Cards & subject to expire without prior notice.
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