This is the second in the Covid-19 Virus series. I hope these are ideas you can use. Again, I stress that if you are really in a quandary about what actions to take, consider consulting a financial planner in your area. Spending an hour over the phone or in a video meeting may reduce your stress and anxiety about what to do with your money.
Here are my next 5 ideas to consider:
6. Manage Your Digital Costs Your family may have more time to use digital video and music streaming apps while you are enduring a quarantine. You can save money by only subscribing to those services you actually use. If you don’t use a service, discontinue the subscription and save money.
7. Investigate Digital Payment Applications Many people are concerned that they may be exposed to the virus by handling the currency in their possession. Even if you keep your social distance, the recommended six feet, you can pass germs along by paying with cash.
To avoid the potential exposure, digital wallet apps like Venmo, PayPal, Cash App, or Apple Pay permit a germ-free transaction. Some stores let you pay with digital wallets. Third-party apps and most bank mobile apps let you send money to friends for free.
8. Use Home Delivery Applications
In most communities, businesses like grocery stores, some restaurants, and pharmacies will remain open to service the public. In the China lockdown, these entities were what kept the population fed and serviced.
You might be able to avoid the long waiting lines and risking your health by using home delivery applications, but remember, they do charge fees for their services. Grocers and pharmacies provide home delivery in many cities. As long as delivery service are available, it’s an option to consider. Plus, it helps a fellow community member earn income during these uncertain times. This is particularly important to neighborhood restaurants.
9. Understand Your Health Insurance
As a result of new state and federal laws, certain testing and types of medical services may be available to you that you did not know about. This includes free Covid-19 testing (my understanding is that this test alone can cost $1,000 or more in most areas) and telehealth services. Telehealth services are being expanded in some jurisdictions to include preventative health screenings, mental health counseling, and other common office services.
It is also time to fully understand the coinsurance and deductible amounts you will owe for using your policy. Many people do not pay attention to these matters until they are hit with a large billing. Knowledge in this case will reduce financial stress.
10. Analyze Your Expenses and Carefully Reduce Expenditures
Hard times may require tough decisions on what you spend on what were previously everyday living expenses. Here are some expense categories you may want to look at and take action:
Cable, Telephone and Internet Costs
You may want to consider ceasing your home phone and exclusively use your cellphone instead. At the same time, look to see what you can save on your internet costs and cable package. As reported in the media, many people have cut the cable cord entirely and have switched their viewing habits to those offered by free internet and pay streaming services.
Shop Your Insurance Coverage
As I recently wrote about in the post Cash Tips: Review Your Car, Home or Renters Insurance, it is a great idea to shop these coverage at least annually to save money. Please read the post for ideas to help save you cash.
Manage Your Cellphone Plan
You can often save a large percentage of your monthly bill by switching to a family plan, employer sponsored plan or by reducing your plan to match your actual usage. I recently did this and saved about $25 per month.
Cancel Unused Memberships and Subscriptions
Make an inventory of all the memberships and subscriptions you have and eliminate all that you don’t use. This may include gaming, data storage, computer applications, gym, museum or social memberships. If you make the decision to cancel the gym membership you can take your workout outside through walking, biking, or using the local recreation room for free. This action takes disciplines.
The Covid-19 virus and its aftermath will change our lives. As with any seminal event, it will leave lasting impacts. This includes impacts on how you manage your money. By making carefully considered decisions you will improve your financial situation and reduce the stress and anxiety of this virus.
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