“2020 is a rough time for all of us” is the resounding narrative for these times. While it is true that these are challenging times, there are things that can be done to lessen the financial blow of the Covid-19 crisis. Unfortunately the bills will keep coming, and financial waste can pile up like garbage in a dump. Here are some ways to set aside money for the future, even if your income has been drastically reduced.
1. Start Slowly Paying Off Debt
This might seem counterproductive to saving money, but paying off debt and bringing your credit score up is a surefire way to better pave the future. The Credit Karma app is an amazing tool for figuring out exactly what is owed and how start paying it off. It’s easy to use and it gives an exact breakdown of what might be impacting your credit. It also gives helpful tips on how to bring your score up, as well as what credit cards you may be eligible for.
The app is not only a tool for learning your credit score, but it will monitor your credit and give updates on changes to your accounts. This can be beneficial if you’re thinking about applying for a loan; even if you have a low credit score, it can be surprisingly easy to bring it up fast with small changes on your part.
2. Consider Investing a Small Amount Weekly
These days it seems like the last thing anyone should do is invest, but truthfully the stock market is still a viable way to grow your money. This year, the stock market as a whole enjoyed around a 12% rate of return; that is far better than any savings account. If the stock market can still grow an ample amount during a global pandemic, it has the potential to earn real money for someone who regularly invests, even a small amount. An investment app like TD Ameritrade makes investing easy to understand even for someone who has no idea where to start.
A common myth is that a huge amount of money is required to start investing, but building a portfolio can be possible with a small starting amount. Investment apps give you the option to go with a robo-investor (a computer-generated broker that picks your investments for you) or to pick your own investments. Adding just $10 per week can reap big rewards, and there are many stock options under that amount with no maximum stock that you have to buy. Watching your investments take a dip can be painful, but if you wait it out with a solid stock option, you’ll see rewards in the long run.
3. Grab a Side Gig
According to The Balance Careers, there is no shortage of side jobs available, and some of them pay pretty well. Whether you are unemployed due to the pandemic, or just looking to make some extra cash, a part-time job could help you stack a little extra cash. While there are many options, the current climate offers an advantage to a huge money-maker: delivery driver. Companies like Grubhub and DoorDash are highly popular in cities where there is a robust restaurant scene, and the tips that drivers receive are usually around 20% per delivery.
Pet sitting site Rover.com, is a surefire side gig that isn’t going anywhere. Companies like Rover allow you to choose what “level” you prefer to help out, whether it’s just simple dog walking or feeding a cat, to overnight stays and housesitting. Sitters are properly vetted through a background check as well to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Caregiving, tutoring, and customer service jobs are just a few of the top freelancing gigs that are popular right now, and many of these offer either remote or at least one-on-one communication in times when working around large groups of people is not advised.
4. Downsize and Start an eBay Store
You don’t have to wait until spring to declutter; clear some space today and make money in the process. There’s no need to become a full-blown minimalist, but surely there are things sitting around that someone else might find useful…and might even pay for. Selling on eBay can be fun and easy, and you’ll benefit from the cash flow and a more organized space.
Before you start an account to sell your items, it’s important to know how to price your goods, as well as how to post photographs so buyers know what they’re purchasing. Books, clothes, decorative household items, vintage posters, toys, and hobby items are all highly popular on online selling platforms.
5. Eat Healthy on a Budget
This doesn’t mean that restaurants are off-limits, but saving money by skimping on the takeout might offer more financial freedom in the long run. Making a grocery list with a phone app such as Microsoft Wish List is a helpful way to stick to a plan when it comes to shopping. Buying in bulk and food prepping will help ensure that you have the food readily available, so there’s little room for excuses.
Eating healthy doesn’t always mean gourmet, farm-to-table, five-star dining. A nutritious meal can be as simple as grilling a couple of seasoned chicken breasts in a skillet and throwing some potatoes in the oven; think simple, real food.
Exploring ways to increase your income can help you better prioritize your expenses, as well as lessen the stress of wondering when your next paycheck will arrive should disaster strike. Following these steps will help add to your income, as well as your savings.