We are now in, officially, week 5 of the global Pandemic and our state of Ohio’s shut down. I have recently wrote about different stocks and industries that are better investment opportunities versus others. However, there are also many strategies to use to weather this pandemic of the coronavirus that I would encourage and explore.
I first wrote about my favorite stock market opportunities that would stand the test of this pandemic, especially as markets were shuttering 30%. Companies such as Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and United Parcel Services (UPS) were on the list.
Even after that, Bert also wrote about the dividend aristocrats that carry lower debt levels and ultimately can be more flexible during this time period. Those with higher debt-loads have been forced to layoff more workers and even cut or eliminate their dividend. Interesting times.
Lastly, I came out with the Industries that would excel and do well during a global pandemic, as toilet paper and hand soap continue to fly off of the shelves. Further, where not just families, but businesses are using Zoom, Webex from Cisco (CSCO) and Messenger (FB) to virtually spend time with people.
However, what I have failed to do is to talk about money strategies during the pandemic. What can help YOU weather the storm, not just your investments. Especially if you have had reduced hours, laid off or are using your money to help family/friends – you may not have all of the idle cash to pump into dividend stocks.
Here are 4 strategies that the global pandemic should make you realize that you can weather this storm and come out leaner, smarter and even more streams of income than before!
Save your cash to the point that you can sleep
Remember all of the times you would go out to eat during a typical week or month? Time to shell that all into savings. If you find yourself working at a non-essential business and have the ability to work remote – all of your gas savings and lack of parking expense should flow right into that same savings account.
I believe my wife and I are saving around approximately $75 the last month from gas alone. In addition, which we still have done carry-out (and yes, we use the quarantine tricks), we have saved almost $200 from going out to eat as well.
Even when we go grocery shopping, which of course is on a limited basis, we still buy discounted groceries and have kept to the same budget, essentially. We’ve created new recipes for the house that last a long time – such as bagel-bite type snacks, baking bread and making plenty of soups, stir fry and pasta. Leftovers for days baby!
Don’t get me wrong, my financial recipe of oatmeal, peanutbutter and bananas has to proven to be a hidden warrior throughout all of this.
I use Ally Online savings and am currently earning 1.50% on my high yield savings account. Every dollar saved goes into there, earning more than your average interest rate. My wife and I are aggressive, but even we realize we may put more cash away, than needed. Having done that, though, helps us sleep at night during this pandemic.
start using extra time to eliminate expenses
Now that you may be saving time on your commute, potentially taking time away and are at home (isolated), it’s time to use that extra time to dwindle down that budget for expenses.
If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to cut the cord or cable, for lack of better word. Streaming is now in and you probably can be OK with a Netflix (NFLX) subscription for < $15/month. Further – what type of sports are you watching with your cable subscription right now?
Secondly, if you haven’t seen the news – All State (ALL) is sending back at least 15% of the premiums back to their insurance holders, due to a reduction of driving, thus – less claims. Don’t worry, that also means All State has made a killing over the last quarter or so. On top of this – when I switched to All State, I saved $600 for the first year, hence why I recommend this as one method to start saving $$$ today. I believe most insurance companies are sending back between 15-25% of premiums, typically as a credit on the next premium.
Still on the Insurance topic – Bert had recently listed 3 ways to save on your auto insurance. One way that is included – is reducing the mileage per year, as you truly aren’t driving as much as you were. One can also consider reducing most of the coverage and putting their car in winter storage – especially if you are a two car household.
In addition, if you haven’t noticed, rates are at all-time lows – across the board. from mortgage to student loan rates. Bert re-financed his mortgage previously and has opened up cash flow, to the tune of ~$50/month. Further, if you are thinking of re-financing your student loans, Earnest was fairly easy and I performed that for my brother, saving him $50 or so per month, as well, and saving him thousands of interest. That’s an affiliate for him, so if you do sign up – you both get $200!
Lastly, make attempts to reduce your utilities, specifically Electricity and Energy. In Ohio, you have the ability to select your supplier (due to de-regulation), which I described how to switch and save previously. I have been able to save 10%-30% on my utility bills by switching, keeping the same usage.
ensure you are receiving all government aid & stimulus available
One should really take inventory of the programs that are AVAILABLE to you! Here are examples:
1.) If you are unemployed now – it appears that you are able to have an extra $600 added each week to the benefit package that you would receive, for up to four months, I believe is what I have read. An extra $2,400 per month, on top of the average benefit? Definitely worth look into.
(compliments to: Business Insider)
2.) If you are single and make $75,000 or less; or married and make $150,000 or less – you will receive $1,200 to $2,400. The income phases out at $99,000 and $198,000, respectively. Further, each child that you have, will add another $500 to the total pandemic package you may receive. Use this wisely and if you don’t need it – see first section above and save it!
3.) If you have a small business – the Small Business Administration (SBA) has come out with a plethora of programs for you – each listed below and also significantly briefed by me (I have a solid experience and knowledge of the PPP, by the way):
a. Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): 1% Loan, 6 month deferral, 2 year maturity. The loan can be up to 2.5x your average monthly payroll costs for your small business – including if you are self-employed/independent contractor.
b. EIDL Loan Advance: Up to $2 million, with a $10,000 advance. Automatic 12 month deferral, a 3.75% loan up to 30 years.
c. SBA Express Bridge Loan: To receive funds quickly, with proceeds from an EIDL loan advance to pay this off. Max life is 7 years and up to $25,000.
Image and further support here: SBA Site.
Use extra free time to also Side HUstle
You know how much I love to hustle and try to create income. Whether it’s a side-gig, selling items or doing something online; extra money goes a long way during this time period. You can always revert back to 5 reasons why you need a side hustle.
Since you may have that extra free time, there’s a chance you are clearing out rooms in your house. Take that phone out and start listing items on Facebook or eBay. My wife and I have sold 5 items from one room during the last two weeks alone. The room is now almost empty and we are finally able to create the mini-workout room that we have wanted. Just a few benefits from getting rid of your “stuff”.
Another side hustle area can be through Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats. I know family members and friends who have signed up and are working hours in the booming delivery industry for restaurants and fast food places alike. You have somewhat of flexibility in when you work and the gigs you pick up. Plus, it’s more money in your pocket and you are able to get out of the house, just be safe, stay healthy by washing your hands and keep your distance.
Further, as you have seen us do, you can get in on the Swagbucks! We have earned hundreds, if not, thousands from this site. Fairly easy, you can answer surveys, use their search engine and watch videos – and earn Swagbucks that you can redeem for gift cards or Paypal.
Pandemic Strategies Conclusion
Therefore, we are sharing ways how to save money, use your time to reduce your expenses (Insurance, loan interest, utilities), explore the government aid programs through the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid Relief Economic Security) and use any further spare time for side hustling.
You will be able to sleep well during this pandemic if you explore these options, there is no doubt in my mind. When we sold a few items on Marketplace and reduced our energy expenses, I immediately felt better.
Lastly, you never know how simple your life could be, by reducing bills, selling items in your house and exploring new ways to earn income. You never know, it could make you happier during these uncertain times. When the economy improves, you’ll be most definitely in the driver seat.
Stay healthy and safe out there, everyone.