Corona Diaries #3: “A penny saved Is a penny earned.” – Benjamin Franklin
This is part three of our Corona Diaries series on tips, tricks, hacks and whatever we want that makes our lives a bit bearable during Corona Virus (said in our best Cardi B voice). If you have any tips, drop us a line or leave a comment.
It’s easier to cut things from your budget (read budget post) than make more money, especially in the Corona-economy. Now’s the time to re-evaluate what you need, want and use. This may change but it’s like you are Mari Kondo-ing your wallet, therefore a major part of your life.
We have to find any fun we can during these weird times. So now that we made a budget, we needed to make saving fun. So some friends and I did a no spend day. Success! That one was easy because we’re stuck at home. Then we got a little gutsier and did a no spend week. Success! Then came the gutsiest of all – a no spend month. Success! How to do a no spend day/week/month? Again, do your budget and do not deviate from it, meaning do not spend money on anything that is not already accounted for in your budget.
It actually became fun to do my monthly budget and find ways to save. It’s all about small steps, steps to clean things up during this downtime. Small steps has also translated into other areas after I read James Clear’s “Atomic Habits.”
It’s quite scary, grueling and shocking to go through subscriptions and findg out you’ve been paying for something for months and hadn’t realized it. Why did I need Spotify and iTunes subscriptions? I got rid of both and suffer through the Spotify ads. I got rid of my microgreens subscription because I went on YouTube and learned to grown my own. More Corona-garden posts coming.
Where’s My Phone?
Some of my favorite money folks are Mr. Money Mustache. His simple post on not spending a ton of money on cell phone service was a bit of a shock, like, “I need my phone, dude.” Well how much of the “unlimited” data do I actually use monthly? Since I’m at home and on wi-fi, very little. But I wasn’t trying to be rash. I looked at my usage over the year and I never went over 3GB, even when Spectrum was acting crazy and I had to use my hot spot. I switched to a prepaid account for $25 a month and 5GB of data, which would be plenty. The bill went from $70 to $25. And really, there is no difference.
I cut the cable cord a few years ago but the TV viewing bills were adding up. I looked at what I actually watch and it was only Netflix and Prime Video, which comes with Amazon Prime. So I got rid of Hulu, Starz and HBO. In the future, if I want to binge a show, I’ll add whatever channel for a month or so. It’s not worth it to pay for something I’m not watching. I did add the free version of the HOLA VPN to watch international shows. Any VPN that’s free would work. Free is good!
A Frugal Book Worm Grows in NoHo
I love to read but I have a pile of actual books I haven’t read. Plus, I have more than 15 books in my Kindle account! So I put a hold on my $30 book budget until I read all the books in my possession. I also severed ties, maybe temporarily, from Kindle Unlimited. Their Prime Reading may be useful, as it comes with the Amazon Prime subscription. I’m trying that out now as I’ve finished all the hard copy and Kindle books. I also got Library e-Card. This is great! You can read magazines, download music, watch films, and, of course, check out books. I’ve used this the most and actually have found new authors, which I will buy their books now that I’ve read and “tried out” their work. I also signed up for BookBub, a site where you get daily deals on books (some free too!) based on the types of books you like to read.
I will add the book line item back into my budget but at a different amount after I’ve measured how much I read using Prime Reading, the Library e-Card and deals on BookBub.
Moving and Grooving and Moving My Money
So next was active stuff. I got rid of my gym because, well, we can’t go and I never went. Instead I am trying out different fitness class apps to see if there’s a one that has everything.
What’s sad is my monthly dance class and hot yoga budget was deleted but that will be added as soon as we can act like civilized humans and open our facilities again. I will not count this in my monthly savings or delete this from my budget. I’ve put the money aside and will take more dance and yoga classes with the extra money to help our local studios. Here’s our dance studio list.
Don’t Hide Your Cash Under Your Mattress
So what am I doing with my savings? I’ve add to my emergency fund first. Then I automatically transfer money to my M1 Finance retirement account, which is easy. The last is the fun Robinhood app where I can invest in fractional shares, which is the chance to invest a few dollars for a stock that costs a lot more. So if you’re new to investing, M1 and Robinhood are big helps.
Have you done your budget? How have you used your monthly savings?
Stay safe, wear a mask and help #keepnohoartsy.
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