April is Financial Literacy Month, and if you are like many people right now, you probably feel like the economic ground you stand on is shaky. Why not take this opportunity to get your money matters in order?
Successful people find the opportunity in every challenge. Sit down with your bank statements and make out a new monthly budget. While you do, consider the following options for saving more while bolstering your income.
1. Investigate Your Refinancing Options
If you own your home, your lender might be more amenable to refinancing than ever. If you need to take advantage of temporary relief, do so. However, keep the lines of communication open.
You can also take advantage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act benefits for student loan holders. If you lost your job due to the outbreak, you might qualify for temporary relief. Additionally, those who experience long-term financial hardship can apply for income-based repayment.
2. Take Control of Your Home Heating and Cooling
You’re spending more time at home, and you want to be comfortable. However, certain habits can cost you a fortune in utility bills. You probably don’t leave your furnace running all day now that the weather is getting warmer. Install a programmable thermostat. That way, when you return to work outside the home, you don’t spend tons of money on heating an empty house.
Furthermore, now is the ideal time to change your HVAC filters and get on a schedule. It’s a wise idea to change these when you pay your rent or mortgage to make it easy to remember. If you have the means, delight a local business owner by scheduling a furnace inspection for after the crisis abates.
3. Develop Some Survival Skills
Did you know if you chuck tomato and pepper seeds in the garbage when you make a salad, you’re throwing food away? You can learn how to save the seeds from your produce and grow them into seedlings. You can then plant these sprouts in your garden or patio containers. This practice gives you a ready supply of fresh veggies and saves you grocery money.
Find practical uses for things you typically discard. Instead of buying bags for pet cleanup, reuse the bags from household goods like chips to scoop the poop. Instead of using paper towels to clean, cut worn clothing into rags.
4. Tackle Your Highest-Interest Debt
If you carry a lot of revolving debt, like personal loans and credit cards, you could pay a significant sum in interest monthly. Plan to pay down your debt. Identify the one with the highest interest rate and prioritize it. Once you eliminate that balance, move on to the card with the next-highest fees. Find ways to redirect money — for example, if you can trim $40 a month from your grocery budget, devote that to paying down your balance.
5. Find a Secondary Income Stream
One bright side of this pandemic is that more companies need telecommuting and flexible staff more than ever. Even if you still have your day job, consider polishing off your resume and finding a side hustle. If you lost your primary source of income, don’t overlook smaller gig opportunities that can sometimes blossom into lucrative full-time positions.
6. Improve Your Skill Set
If you are terrified of what the future holds for your career, why not use your downtime to increase your skill set? You don’t necessarily have to take out more pricey student loans to get a second degree. You can find free online learning resources, and sites like Udemy offer low-cost online learning.
7. Cancel Unneeded Subscriptions and Find Free Entertainment
Finally, you might rather have toothpicks inserted under your nails than part with your Netflix right now. However, in this free trial economy, scores of people have unused subscriptions, like the fellow who spent $40 a month on in-flight WiFi while safely on the ground. Go through all of your statements or use an app like Truebill to help you to cancel unnecessary items.
Practice Financial Literacy Like a Whiz
You probably have extra time right now, so why not use it to get your money matters under control with these tips? Start today, and your pockets will thank you.
About Kacey Bradley
Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog, Style Me Pretty, Tripping.com and more!