by Bryce Hansen
on Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 at 10:31am.
How are you spending your time in the beautiful Comox Valley during the days of social distancing? Have you taken some time to spring clean the house, catch up on your favourite Netflix shows or even try your hand at an old hobby? The ever-changing circumstances have limited the operations of many businesses, leaving some people without revenue while others navigate a significantly reduced income lifestyle. As we walk this new norm as a community, we’ve compiled 5 simple, yet effective ways to reduce your expenses in 2020:
Shopping Lists and Meal Plans During the days of COVID19, we’re more aware of the number of times we’re heading out in Courtenay to shop at stores like Costco and the grocery store. Pre-planning what you need for meals and snacks before going to the store not only ensures you don’t forget items, but also helps to reduce your budget by skipping past the items that are not on your list.
Some households may find it easiest to decide all of their dinners for the week ahead of time. Consider, where possible, cooking enough at dinner to use for next-day lunches as well, streamlining your meal planning process. Barbecued chicken breasts and burger patties make for great diced-up wrap fillers the next day.
Though we aren’t shopping in our favourite stores at the moment, online purchase figures have increased. Try setting a dollar figure budget that you’re committed to sticking to, prior to visiting your favourite retailers online. Make it a habit to avoid buying things on impulse; if you find yourself wanting a pricey item that’s not a need, wait a day or two and see if it’s still on your mind.
Cooking at Home With your evenings at home, consider taking inspiration from your favourite take-out joints or peruse platforms like Pinterest for fresh, fun creations. If taking the time to cook each night doesn’t jive with your schedule, consider meal prepping twice a week for on-the-go meals in the fridge. This dine-in mentality benefits your wallet and can promote a healthier lifestyle too.
Utility Fees and Entertainment Expenses Some of the easiest places to alleviate a budget are by eliminating unnecessary entertainment platforms, minimizing data overage charges, cutting back cable channels and reducing utility consumptions. It can be easy to forget about your automatically withdrawn monthly bills or subscriptions that are used infrequently, but by turning off the lights where possible and consciously monitoring water consumption you can make a reduction in your overall monthly expenses.
Do-It-Yourself Projects Now is the time to finish up a project or two on the household to do list. Use Google or visit your favourite sites to find fresh, easy recipes, cleaning tips and ways to upgrade your Comox home with a budget in mind.
Budgeting Apps It’s easy to overspend when we’re not setting accountable spending limits. Budgeting apps like Buxfer and You Need a Budget can help you track daily, weekly, or monthly spending to see where you need to reduce spending and can send you personalized advice based off of your financial needs and goals.
In a perfect world, what would you do with an extra $100 or $200 per month? Would you build up your emergency fund, put it into a down payment savings fund or invest it for the future? Having clear goals in mind for your savings can help you stay motivated and excited about saving.