The sudden outbreak of the coronavirus and its effects on the economy, which has ground to a halt, are being felt by just about everyone. Whether you’re an investor who has seen your portfolio take a hit or someone without any investments who has lost a job, the current situation is very difficult for many.
While you can’t go back a month and change your investments to be better positioned or do anything differently to prevent the job you may have lost, you can always find ways to save money or pick up a side hustle to make a few extra bucks.
In uncertain times like these, where the idea of job losses and investment losses is higher than normal, it’s important to make sure you have a “rainy day” fund to be prepared for the worst. While it’s difficult for many to just get by, let alone save, we’ll go through some ways you can begin saving a few extra bucks and even earn some extra cash.
Saving—it’s one of the most difficult parts about being an adult. Surveys have shown about 75% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Even those at the top of the income distribution live paycheck to paycheck. About one in four families earning more than $150,000 live paycheck to paycheck, while one in three earning between $50,000 and $100,000 do so.
While it’s important to save, it’s also important to enjoy yourself and do things. Making small changes to your spending habits can add up. Eliminating small, consistent charges for things such as a coffee at Starbucks everyday or $10 worth of lottery tickets each week adds up. Try packing lunch for work or having a few drinks at home with friends before going out to the bar. Reddit’s Personal Finance community has great 30-day challenges to follow along.
While they won’t approve of doing so, try getting together with a few friends and have each commit to paying for a subscription service and share logins. Rather than paying for Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Spotify, pay for one and find three friends to each pay for one.
If you’re traveling, look for cheaper options such as an Airbnb instead of a hotel or using ride-sharing services instead of renting a car. As bad as it is, fly Spirit and stuff your belongings in a backpack rather than opt for a more comfortable flight with a pricier airline.
Plenty of credit card companies offer rewards, cash back and discounts on certain purchases. Taking advantage of these perks can help you consistently save a few bucks and even get a cash deposit or statement credit at the end of each billing cycle.
If you work for a large corporation, take advantage of employee discounts. Most employers offer discounts on things such as car leases, phone bills and local services, such as home services, dry-cleaning and restaurants.
On the other hand, the rise of the internet has enabled countless opportunities to make a quick buck on the side or even turn multiple gig jobs into full-time work. Gig jobs such as driving for a ride-sharing company, walking dogs on Wag, or doing freelance work on Fiverr or Upwork have proven to be extremely lucrative.
It’s often said the average millionaire has seven streams of income. Furthermore, some of the wealthiest people are often said to be some of the most frugal with their money. Warren Buffett, despite being one of the wealthiest people in the world, lives in the same house he bought for $31,500 in 1958.
While the uncertainty about the economy continues to mount, it’s never too late to make small changes to your spending habits or pick up a gig on the side to make a few extra bucks. By doing so, you can have peace of mind knowing you have funds for when things go south.