8 Ways You Can Save Money While You’re Staying Home

By Robyn Parets

If you’re like many of us, you’re hunkering down and planning to stay at home for the next few weeks, if not longer. 

Perhaps you’re worried about your finances. We get it. But, we also know that you have lots of opportunities to save money during this uncertain time. So, while you’re home, give yourself a virtual high five for all the ways you aren’t spending money right now. 

Take a look at 8 ways you’ll save money while staying inside and practicing social distancing

1. Going out to eat

If you live in many parts of the country, restaurants and bars are closed down – except for takeout orders. Even if eateries are still open in your neighborhood, you may be heeding health guidelines and staying away from crowds right now. 

Either way, just think about the money you’re saving from eating at home and not dining out with friends. More food for thought? If you typically bought lunch two days a week during your work week and you’re now making lunches at home, cha-ching. That’s money in your bank account

2. Attending events

If you had tickets to a major sporting event or concert, it has likely been canceled or postponed. If the event was canceled, you’ll probably get a refund. If it’s been postponed, you may have to wait a bit until the event is rescheduled.

Look on the bright side: If you were planning to purchase concert tickets or saving up to buy MLB opening day tickets, you can now stash that money into a savings account. 

3. Traveling

If you were saving up for a vacation and planning to book your travel this spring, you can now keep that money in your savings account. Here’s a better idea: Stash the cash away into an emergency fund. This way if you really need the money, it’ll be there. 

4. Shopping 

COVID-19 has changed the way we shop. With brick-and-mortar malls and stores across the country closed, you can typically only shop at grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants (for takeout). Even online retailers like Amazon are prioritizing essential needs. So, if your guilty pleasure is buying a new pair of shoes every month, you may be out of luck. 

In the meantime, you can instead focus on ordering groceries and making sure you have what you need at home.  

5. Transportation 

If you normally use public transportation, rideshare services or drive your car, you are likely saving oodles of cash right now – simply because you aren’t spending money on your typical transportation needs. 

Although it’s recommended to stay home, if you absolutely have to use public transportation, some cities are not collecting fares at all. New York City, for example, has suspended payments on city buses

6. Gym memberships

Whether you spend $19 or $109 on your monthly gym membership, you’re probably not currently spending money on your gym dues. That’s because national fitness companies have closed their doors in the midst of the coronavirus. 

Here’s the silver lining: While you can’t go to your favorite gym, you can work out at home – for free. Many fitness companies have rallied to move workouts online. So, now is a great chance to try out all kinds of workouts – from yoga to pilates, to cardio to strength training. 

7. Personal care 

Are you due for a haircut or a blow out? Do you usually get your nails done once a month? Well, guess what: that is money you won’t be spending – at least not for a while. 

Instead of focusing on the way you look on the outside, now is a great time to prioritize your inner-wellness. Here are 20 ways to practice self-care during this time of social distancing.

8. Coffee

This list would not be complete without pointing out how much money you can save by not buying lattes at your favorite coffee shop. 

Did you know that you can spend up to $5 to $25 a week on fancy coffee drinks, depending on how many cups of joe you get in any given week? That’s $20 to $100 a month, or $240 to $1,000 a year! Meanwhile, if you brew at home, your coffee fix will run you about $45 – a year.

Under normal circumstances, if you want to splurge on your Starbucks fix once or twice a week, that’s fine – as long as it works with your budget. But, now that you’re staying home and no longer hitting up Starbucks on the way to work, think of this time as a great way to stash away your cash! 

You Can Do This! 

As you can see, there are many ways to save money right now. So, during this difficult time, remember to focus on the positive ways you can boost your savings account. 

While you’re at it, don’t forget to prioritize your mental health and reach out to a friend if you need to talk about your money stress. You’ve got this!

Robyn Parets is a personal finance editor and writer at Chime. She has written for Investor's Business Daily (IBD), NerdWallet, Inc., Thrive Global and many other media outlets.

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