I do not like to start any blog with the term, “In these uncertain times,” but here we are.
We’ve heard that overused cliché in TV and radio commercials and it is getting old. We are all tired of the quarantine, social distancing and wearing masks and gloves.
However, until this trauma known as “Coronavirus” is over, we have to live with it. In our position as financial advisors at A.K. Burton, PC, we care about our clients during good times and bad times. Unfortunately, it’s the bad times right now. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, life in the United States and in the DMV will return to normal.
Until then, we have some tips on how to save money during the COVID-19 crisis:
- Put all large purchases on hold: You may have planned to buy a vehicle for personal or business use. Even if it may have been a necessary purchase; if you have not signed a contract to buy it, then wait. A large car payment would become an unnecessary monthly expense. What about it you pay for it in cash? Still, not a good idea. With this novel virus, it is uncertain when business and life will be back in the swing of things. Postpone the purchase for now, unless you will put it to work right away (as a driver for UBER or delivering items) providing income for you to pay bills. Otherwise, a car payment is a burden and will take away needed funds for other bills. Avoid buying any other large purchases considered luxury items such as: furniture, boats, bikes and unnecessary home improvements until you have some money saved for emergencies and your income is steadily coming in after this crisis is behind us.
- Call credit card companies about payments: If you have one or several credit cards that are too expensive to pay right now, call the credit card companies and ask them to lower your payment amounts. They may even put your payment and interest charged on hold. ***
- Take advantage of free fitness classes: Many fitness center franchises are offering free live streaming videos. Download their app or access their website for instructions.
- Sign up for free TV: Netflix isn’t the only channel offering free access. Hulu, CBS All Access, Sundance Now, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, YouTube Premium, Xfinity Flex, and VRV all are offering a month-long free trial. Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Now, Philo, Boomerang, and fuboTV are also offering a free week of programming. Free TV is available on apps such as Tubi TV, Pluto TV and IMDb TV. Whatever you do, don’t pay for them! Enjoy the free time and delay purchasing until later.
- Buy groceries and limit restaurant purchases: Of course, restaurants are not dine-in now, so consumers have decided to either get curb-side service or delivery. A more cost effective option is to buy groceries and eat at home. Eating at home is still the best and most economical choice. As much as we want to support the local restaurants, it is still as much as 25%-40% more expensive than buying groceries. Try to save even more while buying groceries by buying generic products over the name brand.
- Save energy: Buy LED bulbs, lower the thermostat 2-3 degrees, pack the dishwasher and clothes washer before using, and use the microwave to heat up food. These simple measures will lower your electricity bill.
COVID-19 has changed our world. It is a temporary situation that is continuously evolving.In the meantime, we are all doing our best. We are in this together. I encourage you to spend as little as possible and when you do spend, spend wisely. Frugality in times of crisis is not only smart, it’s common sense.
A.K. Burton, PC, has experienced financial advisors who can assist you in budgeting during the good times and the bad times. Call us at (301) 365-1974 for a consultation. We serve the Bethesda, Rockville and Montgomery County. MD area.
*** For a list of credit card companies that may be willing to negotiate your credit card payment, click here.