Tips for Saving Money During Lockdown, and After
2020 was a difficult year for many of us, with lockdowns, quarantine periods, and restrictions on socializing taking place all across Canada. With nearly all events, activities, and social gatherings cancelled, most of us had little to do which in many cases meant we were suddenly spending a lot less money.
However, due to the uncertainty of employment for people who were put on layoff due to the pandemic, many people also began deliberately working to cut their expenses and save money. While the motivation might have come from pandemic-related uncertainty, having sensible budgeting and spending practices is always a good idea, and there are lots of money-saving strategies you can start during lockdown that will be just as useful after the pandemic.
Regularly Put Money in Your Savings Account
You should be doing this one anyway, but it’s always a solid financial strategy to put some of each paycheque into your savings account, even if it is only a little bit each month. This is important for more than just the uncertainty of the pandemic, but should be a regular part of your budget so that you always have a financial cushion in case of emergencies and unexpected expenses, or to save for college or university.
Shop Smart, and Limit Online Purchases
The pandemic has seen a huge surge in online shopping, and for many the expansion of online purchasing options was a vital part of ensuring people in lockdown could get groceries, medicine, and other essentials. But it is easy to fall into the habit of over-shopping online, especially in many cases during lockdown where people are stuck at home with nothing to do, and no activities to spend their money on.
You can also consider buying previously-owned things such as clothing, books and games, electronics, and many other items, which will cost you less than buying new. While many thrift shops are closed during lockdown, there are plenty of online trade and marketplace groups, and the habit of buying previously-owned goods will remain useful as a money-saver after the pandemic is over.
Evaluate Your Subscriptions and Memberships
Many services, especially online ones, have moved to a monthly subscription model over the last decade. While this makes many of these services more accessible to customers, when you are trying to cut down on costs all these small monthly fees can really add up. During the pandemic, you should assess your subscriptions and memberships to determine if there are any that you’re currently unable to use, and either pause or cancel them to save on the cost. While subscriptions to gaming or streaming services might still be worthwhile during lockdown for entertainment and online socializing, the membership to your gym might not be so essential right now.
This strategy is equally useful outside of a pandemic situation, and you should always consider whether you are getting enough use out of a subscription service to make it worth the cost each month.
Find Low-Cost Ways to Socialize
Another money-saving strategy that is good for anytime is finding free or low-cost activities when you want to socialize. During lockdown, socializing has been limited to video calls and physically-distanced activities in many places, but there are lots of low-cost ways to socialize with friends that will translate just as well into cost-effective activities after the pandemic is over.
For example, instead of going to the movie theatre, have a movie night at home with friends and snacks. Or you can play board games or video games online with friends. Learning new hobbies is also an option, as well as seeking out free programming and events from your local library, community center, school, or museum.
Cook More; Eat Out and Take Out Less
During the pandemic, many people have been cooking more for themselves at home, rather than going out to dinner or ordering delivery. Cooking your own food and snacks is almost always healthier, and less expensive, than ordering take out or visiting a restaurant. Once physical distancing restrictions have eased after the pandemic, invite friends over for dinner instead of going out somewhere, and you can save money as well as show off your culinary skills.