Simple & Smart Financial Moves You Can Do at Home
We have all got a lot on our minds right now: health, recession, handwashing, cancellations and, of course, the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. In these times, it can be helpful to focus on the things in your life you can control and maintain positive thinking. See how much your mood can change when you think of this time isolated at home as an opportunity to focus on the things you value most: your family, your safety, and your financial wellbeing!
Below, we’ve rounded up a list of smart financial moves to make while you are social distancing. Whether you are looking to save money, earn money or find a useful D-I-Y project to pass the time, these suggestions will provide the inspiration you need.
Ways to Save and Earn Money While You Are Social Distancing:
- Prevent expensive repairs with some simple home maintenance.
With your weekends available, now is the time to tackle that “honey-do” list. Doing small, odd jobs around the house is a great way to stay busy and help prevent a major repair bill down the road with some basic maintenance.
Give your home some TLC by:
- Snaking a clogged sink, tub or shower drain;
- Caulking around your windows and faucets;
- Clearing leaves and bird nests out of the gutters;
- Testing your alarms and smoke detectors; and,
- Removing flimsy, old structures on your property such as a tool shed or tree house.
Some home improvement projects can even earn a discount on your Homeowners Insurance.
- Create (or update!) your household budget.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many families to rethink their budget and how they spend and save money. If you haven’t already set up a household budget, now is a great time to try it out. There are several templates you can find online and through mobile apps, or you can make one on your own.
Your expenses will generally fall into two categories:
Fixed expenses – Predictable monthly dues, such as your rent or mortgage payment, insurance premiums, loan payments and subscription services.
Variable expenses – Costs that fluctuate each month, such as groceries, gas, utilities, haircuts, movie tickets and other entertainment purchases.
- Look for opportunities to save money on fixed expenses.
You’ll remember we mentioned fixed expenses in suggestion #2 — and insurance premiums are one of them. Just because these expenses are predictable and recurring doesn’t mean you can’t look for opportunities to save money.
If you’ve been with the same insurer since you started driving, it’s time to start exploring your options. Get a FREE quote on car insurance with no obligation to purchase. If we can’t help you save money, there’s no pressure to move forward.
- Do some spring cleaning.
De-cluttering and organizing can be very therapeutic. A calm and organized space can help you feel calmer and more organized, too!
Get started on your spring cleaning by:
- Sorting items into “donate,” “sell online” and “garage or yard sale” boxes;
- Photographing any items you plan to sell online;
- Reorganizing your pantry and rotating older items to the front;
- Throwing away junk and clutter; and,
- Cleaning out your car.
Once it is safe to gather in groups again, your house will have the most rocking garage sale on the block.
- Seek out any necessary financial relief.
Many government and local organizations are working to prepare financial relief programs and send aid to those who have lost their jobs or whose businesses have been devastated by the impact of COVID-19.
It is important to speak with your financial advisor and/or tax professional to make sure you fully understand the implications of these relief programs, which may affect your taxes and contain other important terms and conditions.
- Update your home inventory.
A home inventory is fairly self-explanatory: it is a list of your family’s personal possessions and an estimate of their value.
Keeping an updated home inventory is important for two reasons: One, this document will be absolutely essential if you ever need to file an insurance claim. And two, this inventory will help ensure you have the right amount of homeowners’ coverage in place before something unexpected happens.
- Here are some tips from the Insurance Information Institute (III):
- Tackle your list room by room. Pick an easy spot to start!
- Write a basic description of each item, including a photo and serial number, if necessary. Consider using a mobile app to simplify the process.
- Store this list securely, both in your home and offsite.
- Gather up everything you need for tax season.
Whether you prepare your own taxes or consult with a professional, you can continue to track down the paperwork you’ll need to submit those taxes correctly and on time. In addition to the usual T4s, don’t forget about: bank statements, records for any miscellaneous income, business expense records, charitable donation receipts and more.
Ask your tax preparer which documents you may need to file this year’s taxes.
- Start a side hustle.
Thanks to technology and the gig economy, people are finding more ways to turn their hobbies and interests into a side hustle. This could include:
- Taking surveys or participating in focus groups;
- Freelance professional services, such as writing or editing;
- Selling handmade goods; or,
- Trying your hand at “extreme couponing.”
Remember: if an opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be smart about your side hustle and thoroughly vet all opportunities to make sure you aren’t being targeted by a scam.
- Donate or support a local organization, if you are able.
Local businesses need your support now more than ever. If you have the means to make a purchase: whether ordering food for take-out, shopping online, buying a gift card for later or simply just contributing to a fundraiser, it could make a huge difference for someone in need.
Looking for a suggestion? Identify one household staple you can purchase from a local merchant instead of a big box store, such as coffee or an item of clothing.
- Try to remain calm.
In these unprecedented times, it’s easy to get caught up in feelings of fear and anxiety. As best as you are able, try to remain calm and avoid making any sudden or rash decisions — especially regarding your finances.
We’re all in this together. Please stay healthy and safe and reach out to a trusted professional to help you make the best decisions for your financial wellbeing.