In these unusual times, terms such as “social distancing,” “self-quarantine” and “distance learning” have worked their way into our everyday language. Some of us might have more time available, nowhere to go and limited resources. Before you start to go stir crazy, we’ve gathered a few tips on how to save a little money while enjoying some fun, budget-friendly activities.
Get your spending on track.
If you use auto-pay for monthly subscriptions to buy clothing, food, music, entertainment and more, you may have lost track of how many subscriptions you have. While most of those services don’t seem that expensive on their own, they can add up fast.
The Logix Mobile Banking app has a feature to set up card alerts so you can be notified whenever your card is charged. This can help you track all of your payments so you know where your money is going in real time, and whether those services fall within your budget. You can also check your bank statement to get a comprehensive look at all your spending.
- For iPhone users, tap the “More” button at the bottom right corner. Tap “Manage Cards” at the top of the menu. Then tap “Card Notification” under the image of your card. Slide “Card Notification” to “On” for all your cards. Tap “Update” at the bottom of your screen.
- For Android users, tap the account menu at the top left of the account dashboard. Then tap "More." From the menu, tap "Manage Cards." Next tap "Card Notification" under the image of your card. Tap the checkbox next to "Card Notification." Tap "Update" at the bottom of your screen.
Save some green by going green.
Now that you’re spending additional time at home, you’ll be using your utilities more frequently. Whether you own or rent, you are likely to see a spike in your bill. One easy way to save on your next electricity bill is to turn off the lights when you leave a room. This not only reduces your power consumption, but will also extend the life of your light bulbs.
You can save on water costs by letting Mother Nature take care of your plants. When rain is in the forecast, turn the sprinklers off to reduce your bill.
The Department of Energy says you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling simply by turning your thermostat back 7° to 10°F for eight hours a day from its normal setting.
Visit a virtual library.
As Mason Cooley once said, “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”
While we continue to “stay where we are” and practice social distancing, we may be getting a little tired of watching television. Try grabbing a book instead.
Libraries have an ever-growing catalog of books that are free to check out with a library card. Plus, they now offer e-Cards, where you can obtain a library card without having to go into a library. You can get yours online from the Los Angeles, Santa Clarita, Thousand Oaks and Burbank public libraries and begin streaming or downloading thousands of books onto your PC, Mac, tablet, Android or ISO phone using the OverDrive website or app. You’ll be able to read the classics or check out new works that your friends are talking about. Again, all for free. You might even feel inspired to start a virtual book club with your friends.
Learn something new.
Have you always wanted to learn to sew more than a button, or play that guitar in the back of your closet? Maybe you want to learn a few magic tricks to impress your friends during your next virtual communication. We all have skills we want to learn but keep putting off because – who really has the time? Now is the perfect time. Many experts are creating free online videos sharing their knowledge.
Looking to brush up on your professional skills or take a university level class? Ivy League schools are now offering classes that you can take for free or at a discounted price, such as “Improving Your Business through a Culture of Health” at Harvard University. There’s also "Evidence-Based Management" at Carnegie Mellon University, or "Introduction to Programming and Animation" at Duke University. These classes can be taken at your own pace, and some even offer a verified certificate for a fee. Classes can help keep your mind sharp and prepare you for the future. In addition, learning something new or perfecting a skill may help boost your career or bring in extra money from a side gig.
Make healthy choices, keep your spending lean.
Everyone loves the concept of meal planning, but the idea of cooking every day can be daunting.
The best way to save money and time is to plan your meals in advance. Try to plan meals that use many of the same ingredients, or cook more so you have leftover meals on hand. If you can, turn cooking into a fun family activity. Use the opportunity to teach your kids how to cook. You can cut costs down even further by using your water filter to drink more water -- an inexpensive and healthier alternative to soft drinks.
We hope our tips will help you through these challenging times by enjoying some fun new ideas and saving money at the same time. Let us know a money saving tip or something you have enjoyed while social distancing at home in the comments below.