Stop Paying for Things You Don’t Use – and Other Quarantine Money-Saving Tips

When I think of how long I’ve been quarantined for, I think of this scene in Titanic:

In our previous post How to Manage your Time While Unemployed, we reminded you to check in with your credit card statements and spot any recurring charges you should consider cancelling if you haven’t used them in ages.

Here’s some more smart ideas for ways to save money during this Coronavirus-induced recession and quarantine. Just because I may be sleeping in a touch longer these days, doesn’t mean my bank account is!

1. Stop paying for things you don’t use.

  • Internet – if you’re quarantining with your family, or away from where you usually live, why pay for something you aren’t using?
  • Pause your gym membership.
  • Call your cell phone provider and see if you can drop down to a lower rate – odds are you’re at home, and can use WiFi now, so you might not need all of that unlimited data for a while.
  • Cancel or pause any other services and classes you won’t be able to use, or try and ask for a refund. Before the quarantine started, I signed up for guitar lesson (I had big dreams back then). Sadly, I was only able to take 3 out of the 10 classes I signed for due to Coronavirus. I was able to get a credit from the organization that provided the classes to apply to other classes in the future- not perfect, but certainly better than nothing.

2. Take advantage of insurance savings.

State Farm recently announced that they’ll be returning a $2 billion dividend to their auto insurance customers. This means that most customers can expect to see a 25% reduction in their bill for the period between March 20 and May 31. That’s certainly nothing to turn your nose up at! Check with your insurance provider to see what types of discounts you may be eligible for.

3. Reassess your loans.

As a reminder, federal loans are under forbearance until September 2020. While private lenders are more strict, some have started to show leeway.

Every situation is unique, so it can’t hurt to ask. I recently received a message from my private student loan provider encouraging me to reach out and discuss my financial situation if a hardship arises. Bear in mind that the terms that a private lender will offer you will probably be quite harsh – a bit like robbing Peter to pay Paul – so make sure to thoroughly weigh all the pros and cons of your choice before committing to a path.

4. Flex your negotiation skills.

Did you know that it’s possible to negotiate annual credit card fees? If the Wall Street Journal says it, then it must be true. One of my favorite courses I took in college was Organizational Behavior, taught by the now well-known Professor Adam Grant. My key takeaway after all these years? Just about everything in life is negotiable.

Now is a great time to flex this skill, and you have the benefit of challenging economic circumstances on your side. So don’t sit around and wait for a miracle – take matters into your own hands, and start thinking of ways you can negotiate or postpone payments on certain things that may otherwise cause you financial hardship.

5. Cook more.

If you haven’t baked bread during this quarantine…did you really quarantine? Jokes aside, a quick look at your social media feed will likely reveal that people are taking advantage of these odd times and throwing down in the kitchen!

Cooking more should be a no-brainer, given that so many restaurants are closed. However, I’m still surprised by how many friends I speak to who still order in. After reading that delivery companies like Doordash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub are essentially price gouging restaurant owners, who are already facing razor thin margins, I’ve doubled down on my commitment to cooking at home. It helps that I’m quarantining with my parents, who eat out maybe twice per year at most.

Home cooking is part of my family’s tradition and heritage, and I’ve embraced it more than ever. While there’s certainly a need for, and opportunities to, assist small business owners, unfortunately, food delivery isn’t the answer. Consider purchasing a gift card to your favorite restaurant instead.What are some of your favorite quarantine money-saving tips? Share in the comments below!

Have you saved money since Coronavirus? Share your tips in the comments below!

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