There is surely no doubt that COVID has brought about various shifts in all our lives, and somehow or the other we all have had to make adjustments to live with it as an echoing yet a bitter reality. If you or any of your loved one’s have been affected by the COVID blues, here is a list of top 5 places to go to when you are feeling depressed . COVID has been defining new boundaries for us all; many have been forced to leave jobs permanently or even temporarily and thus, most of us are surviving on a shoestring budget.
To help you cope with this frugal lifestyle, we at The Updates have compiled a list of Top 10 ways to Live on a Budget.
- Breaking it down: Before you really begin the process of saving money, you need to sit down and make a detailed spreadsheet of all the expenses that soak up most of your income. Once you have a detailed breakdown, you can easily spot the places where you may cut some slack. There are many apps available on the app store/play stores that really help you out. Some of the most popular one’s include: Hysab Kytab, Wally, Honeyfi, and Pocket Guard.
- Make a list: You will realize that your spreadsheet may be divided into variable and fixed expenses. The fixed expenses may include: your house rent, school fee, insurance installments, taxes etc. While the variable expenses may include: grocery expenses, healthcare, leisure and entertainment, electricity, fuel and other expenses. While it is not possible to cut down on the fixed expenditure, the variable one’s may be adjusted to create some room for savings. Instead of buying groceries in bulk (and throwing them out eventually) plan out your meals for the week and buy the groceries accordingly, this way you will be contributing to saving the planet and that extra money. Healthcare may be variable and cannot be compromised upon, however, before heading to the pharmacy to get the medicines on your prescription list, cross check if you already have any. For leisure and entertainment, instead of buying that expensive movie ticket, create a cozy environment at home and enjoy a movie night with your loved ones. The electricity bills can also be minimized by switching off all the electrical appliances when they are not in use. Car pooling with your friends or colleagues who have the same route as you may also save you the cash that turns to fumes.
- Switch to cash: Unlink your credit cards from all the apps. When you have the cash flowing through your hand you will be more mindful of where and how much you are spending.
- Shop wisely: Instead of going for a once-a-month grocery haul, switch to weekly hauls. This way you will not be buying the things you do not really need. You make also switch to online shopping as most of the brands offer special deals, ordering your groceries online will save you the hassle and will also prevent you from spending your money on impulsive buys at the supermarket. Thrift stores are gaining popularity and are excellent mediums to get good quality clothes at reasonable rates. If however, you do not wish to buy from thrift stores you may revert to shopping off season; i.e.: shopping for your next winters during this year’s winter clearance sale and vice versa. Clearance sales and other major sales during the year may help you cut down on the money you spend on clothes without compromising on the quality or brand. Many brands also have factory outlets where they have (slightly defected) products at reasonable and affordable rates, locate the factory outlets and splurge (within your budget!).
KeepSave the change: The old age trick of saving the change in a piggy bank works wonders as even though the pennies do not seem of much value but they do add up to make every dollar count.
- Add to cart: With COVID confining us to our homes, there is no doubt that most of our time is spent in the virtual world. Whether if you are on a website for your homework or your official work, the ingenious ads often allure you to their websites and without even realizing it you’ve spent your money on useless buys. While it may be very difficult to completely abstain from this habit, what can be done is that instead of buying these items you can just add them to your cart/wish list and let them sit there for a day or two, if the thought of that item keeps nagging you, you may purchase it.
- The (Kitty) Party: The traditional kitty parties are an excellent way to save your money and get an in instant profit. Investing your savings into small business is also a really good idea.
- DIY your way through it: Instead of buying readymade items, try to DIY your way through it. DIY that Eid/Christmas card, try to make your own cookies and burgers from scratch instead of buying them from store.
- Swapping to success: Do not throw away that shirt that perhaps does not fit you anymore, instead consider swapping with a friend or family member. You can even team up with a friend as swap partners and share your wardrobe/food (ingredients) that either of you do not need. This small act is sure to save you a lot of money.
- Consistency is the key: Be it exercising, dieting, learning a new language or just saving up for your future self, consistency is always the key. Once you set your mind to do something, stick with it. It is a psychologically known fact that those who are consistent with their actions are more successful to turn them into habits thereby achieving success.
Beware of budget burnout
Although saving is important, but what matters more is your mental wellbeing so don’t be too hard on yourself. Experiment a month or two and you will know which method works best for you.