While many Americans typically look for money-saving strategies, the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis leaves a growing number of people searching for new ways to stretch every dollar.
From economists and consumer advisors, here are seven ways to cut costs without measurably impacting your lifestyle:
- Save on Utilities – Wash small loads of dishes or laundry by hand and air or line dry them. Turn off lights and appliances when not in use. Put on a sweater and turn down the thermostat.
- Save on Cleaning Supplies – Don’t replenish your stock of targeted detergents, polishes and cleaning products. For everyday cleaning chores, use a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces with a combination of 1/2 cup of regular chlorine bleach and a gallon of water. (For small batches, use 4 teaspoons of chlorine bleach and a quart of water.)
- Save on Food – Cook more meals at home. Get the family involved in looking for recipes based on grocery store specials, and planning and preparing simple but nutritious meals. Using that plan, make a list of needed groceries and send one person to the store; keep in mind some items may be out of stock so be flexible with your recipes.
- Cut Entertainment Costs – Look into saving by cutting the cost of cable and subscribing to one or two of your favorite streaming services. Use Zoom or a similar app to set up audio-visual visits with friends and family. Pop some popcorn, dust off the Yahtzee set and other board games and bring back the fun of family game nights.
- Get Crafty – Got birthdays or other gift-giving occasions coming up? Make jam. Knit a toasty afghan. Search online for crafting ideas and make heartfelt, homemade gifts that are sure to please just about everyone.
- Use Credit Wisely – If you’re going to use a credit card, use one that gives you something back—preferably cash. If you don’t have one, apply for one. If that’s not an option, and/or if you are forced to carry a balance, call your card company. Getting a reduced interest rate is often only a matter of asking for it.
- Cancel Subscriptions – Spotify. Magazines. Gym memberships. You may not realize how many subscriptions you have. Cancel automatic renewals. Consider membership sharing with family or friends on services like Netflix and Hulu. With an upgraded account, you can watch from two or more screens and everyone saves.