Pandemic has redefined what’s a worthwhile investment for you, me, and probably everyone who isn’t a billionaire. In fact, a recent Credit Karma survey of 1,043 Americans revealed what our post-pandemic spending habits are, and shocker, nobody’s going to concerts or movies any time soon. But all seriousness aside, this has been a financially dark period for many—mass job layoffs following the first wave and a second still-to-be-negotiated stimulus package make that clear. One way to feel in control when everything is out of wack? Reduce monthly expenses.
The thing is, despite this definitely being tough times with two capital Ts, 34 percent of participants said they’ve yet to slice the cost of their monthly expenses. And there might be frighteningly new expenses to pay for during the pandemic, don’t get me wrong. But there are also new, simple opportunities to cut back on your day-to-day spendings, particularly if your day-to-day looks different now. Below, a few suggestions for the benefit of your bank account.
Easy ways to reduce monthly expenses
1. Auto Insurance
Morning commute? I don’t know her. Or maybe you’re still working out in the real world but long road trips or any semblance of a social life is far in the rearview mirror.
“Car insurance is always a monthly budget expense where you can negotiate,” says Financial Gym founder and CEO Shannon McLay. “Especially because of the pandemic with people driving less, car insurance companies have saved a ton of money on reduced accident claims. You should call and negotiate for more of that money in your pocket.”
2. Entertainment subscriptions
Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Max—like what even is that last one? Why does HBO have no less than three streaming services. Suffice to say, you probably don’t need a trillion of them, and [stage whisper] can almost definitely password-swap with someone. Like I have a long standing deal with my family where I use my dad’s Netflix account, but the ‘rents use my Hulu account.
You can always look at your bank statements to spot which streaming service can go, or a service like Trim can investigate unwanted subscriptions and unsubscribe them for you.
3. Credit card and loan payments
If you haven’t looked into it yet, there are still active COVID-19 relief plans available. These can offer you deferred payments, waived late fees, a credit line increase, waived annual fee, whatever it might be.
“Because of the pandemic, lenders are also more inclined to assist their consumers,” says McLay. “So if you have debt like credit cards, personal loans or mortgages, call your lender and see about any kind of interest rate reductions you can get.”
As I type this it is a fry-an-egg-on-the-blacktop heatwave in New York City, and we have one air conditioning unit in the middle room of our railroad-style apartment. And yet I still insist that my roommate shuts the AC off if neither of us are in that room, because that’s money! I’m blowing away cash!
We don’t recommend that you needlessly melt to save money, however; looking to lower the bill of your electric, your gas, and even your Wifi can ensure that you really save money month-to-month.