Tips on Optimizing Your Spend During an Economic Slowdown

By Jackie Lam
April 21, 2020

When there are global economic shifts – especially those that affect your finances – it’s important to focus on what you can control. For starters, you can keep a close watch on your spending.

And, if you’re going through a personal 911 economic situation, here are 8 ways to make your money go even further using online resources: 

  1. Look For Coupon Codes Online
  2. Use a Browser Extension
  3. Perfect the Art of Referral Code Sharing 
  4. Use Shopping Apps That Offer You Bonuses
  5. Focus on What You Value
  6. Keep an Eye on Your Spending 
  7. Cut Back Where You Can 
  8. Save the Difference
  9. You Can Do It!

Look For Coupon Codes Online

As you may be staying home and doing more shopping online, you can save money by using coupon codes at popular sites like RetailMeNot, Slickdeals, and Hip2Save.

When shopping online, it’s easy to cave into an impulse buy, or to add more items to your shopping cart than you need. So, before you bust out the credit card and press “checkout,” go through your cart and see what you really need or want, and drop the rest. 

Use a Browser Extension

Browser extensions can help you swoop in on deals on the Internet. After you install one, it’ll automatically find and apply discount codes from a bunch of different retailers.

Whereas coupon codes are one-time deals, you only need to add these browser extensions once. And boom! You’ll have a bot scouring for discounts full-time. New to the world of online shopping? You can check out Cently (aka Coupons at Checkout), Honey, or Wikibuy.

Perfect the Art of Referral Code Sharing 

You’ve probably heard of referral codes. This is when you share a code for a product or merchant you like – and your friend who uses the code gets a discount off their order. 

Sharing out referral codes online seems easy, right? You just need to find your referral code link and message it out to your friends. But there’s a delicate art to this so that your friends and fam don’t feel like you’re spamming them. That would be a bit of a turn-off. Right?

For starters, you can share a referral code only when it feels natural to do so. If it’s a product or service that you think someone could really use or benefit from, then go for it. Otherwise, it might be better to hold off. You don’t want to come off sales-y.

And, if you also earn a discount (or even cash back) when someone uses your link, be sure to let the other person know. In my experience, it shows that you’re honest and genuine. And if they’re simpatico, they’ll be willing to do something that could benefit you, too.

Use Shopping Apps That Offer You Bonuses

You don’t necessarily need a credit card to rack up bonus points. There are a handful of apps designed to offer you cash back or gift cards when you shop, including: ibotta, Drop and Shopkick.

For the go-to places you shop at, look into downloading the store apps. This way you can stay in the know about discounts and promo codes.

Focus on What You Value

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of a deal. And when you’re experiencing a mix of ill feels — stress, boredom, anxiety — you might make purchases you really don’t need or can’t afford.

Yet, being extra careful about your money doesn’t mean you can never enjoy yourself. It’s about moderation. So, focus on what you need – and what you enjoy the most.

From there, you can find little ways to spend more on things that enhance your life. For example, just because you’re watching your spending doesn’t mean you can’t order takeout from your favorite restaurant every once in a while. Bottom line: focus on what’s most important to you. 

Keep an Eye on Your Spending 

Want to know the truth about your spending? See where you’re money is going by logging onto your mobile bank account app or downloading your bank statements.

I know, it can be painful to look. You might discover some unsettling truths, like all the junk food you’re prone to eating. Or, that you go on clothing binges when payday hits. 

But technology makes it easy-peasy. And once you’re honest with yourself, you can be intentional, and move toward behaviors and decisions that are most helpful to your money situation.

Cut Back Where You Can 

Next, see where you can lower your expenses. You don’t necessarily need to sell off half your belongings or move into a smaller place. You can actually save by focusing on the “easy wins.” For instance, you can perhaps cut back on subscriptions, ask your service providers for a discount on your cell phone or Internet bill, or negotiate for lower bills.  

Overpaying for cable, phone and internet? Trim ✂️ can lower your bills for you! Lower your bills by up to 30%.

Save the Difference

If you can swing it, aim to save as much money as you can. If you save a few bucks on groceries, put it into your savings account.

One way you can aim to save is by auto-saving. This is something I’ve made a point to do, even during times when I’m barely making enough to squeak by. If you can save a few bucks a week, “set it and forget it.” This way when you need the money, you’ll have a bit of a buffer you can tap into. 

You Can Do It!

If the economic downturn has taken a hit on your wallet, no need to freak out. Thinking up ways to optimize your online spending will help you stay on top of your money situation. 

And remember: Know what costs you can control, look for creative ways to do things, and tap into new tools to save money. You’ve got this!

 

 


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Jackie Lam is an L.A.-based financial writer whose clients include Fortune 500 companies and FinTech startups. Her work has appeared in Forbes, Business Insider, and GOOD.

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