With Covid-19 wreaking havoc on the American economy, many families are finding themselves looking for ways to “trim the fat” in their monthly household budgets to make up for the loss of a job, reduced hours or general economic uncertainty.
Our family is no stranger to these economic uncertainties and we’ve had to find ways to tighten our belts here at our Dallas insurance agency. Hopefully the tips below can help inspire you to also look for ways to save money.
1) Review your bank statements, and make a budget
This one probably seems simple, but many of the most frugal people I know don’t do this for some reason. Without knowing how much you’re spending and where you’re spending it, finding ways to save will become exceedingly difficult. There are a number of templates online to use for your monthly budget, but a simple spreadsheet should do the trick.
2) Cook your meals at home
Again, a simple solution that can be easier said than done. In our house, with a 2 year old, it can be hard to get done with work, pick up Jack from daycare, get home, take the dog for a walk, cook dinner, pick up the clutter around the house, get Jack a bath and dressed and ready for bed without sacrificing somewhere. Usually, the easiest option is to just cut out the “cook dinner” part of the equation and grab some food out. The problem, aside from the fact that cooking your food at home is generally healthier, is that those “just this one time” fast food dinners quickly become a $30-$40 habit that eats into your monthly budget. By taking the time to prepare a menu for the week, shop for that menu and prep on the weekendings anything that can be done ahead of time you not only save money, but you also control the food that goes into your body which can lead to an overall healthier lifestyle.
3) Assess your cable, phone, internet and electric providers
I was shocked when I called our cell phone provider and found out that we could save $25 a month and not lose any of the features of our service just by switching to a newer plan. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call to find out that you can keep the same service (or better) and save money.
4) Remove high interest debt when you can
Nothing kills a budget faster than seeing that you’re paying 15 or 16% interest every month on that credit card you love to swipe. By consolidating debt into a single payment with a lower interest rate, or (a better option) taking the savings you’re finding elsewhere to pay down that debt you’re putting yourself in a position to give your dollars more buying power instead of letting them get eaten up by interest payments.
5) Take a “staycation” instead this year
With travel restrictions due to Covid this might even be difficult, but the idea is sound regardless. I know that it’s fun to take the whole family on a big (expensive) vacation, even if it’s stressful at times, but the cost of vacations are only going up and wages seem to be flatlining for a lot of people. Instead, take a look at the areas within a few hours from where you live to find out if you can make great memories without traveling half-way across the country. Our family visits a small town on the Texas/Louisiana border a couple times a year and every time we’re there we find new and interesting things to do. Not to mention, it’s incredibly affordable!
6) Review and bundle your insurance
You knew this one was coming, right? But in all seriousness reviewing and bundling your insurance can provide a great deal of savings when you’re looking to improve your finances. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should cut coverage. Insurance, unlike those 423 gigs of data you have unused on your cell phone plan, isn’t something that should be reduced just in the sake of saving money. Instead, you’re better off looking at adjusting deductibles, taking advantage of multiple policy discounts and doing a full review with your Dallas insurance agency, the Lewis Family Insurance Group. But even if you’re not with our agency and don't have any intention of switching to LFIG, one of our licensed Texas insurance agents can provide you with the knowledge necessary to take back to your current agent, ask the right questions and make informed decisions.
There are a lot of ways to save money other than the six that we’ve listed in this blog post. Maybe some of these will work for you, maybe they’re all things that you just can’t bring yourself to do. Either way, the most important thing is having an understanding of where your money is coming from and where it is going. Once you get a grasp of that, you can start taking steps to put that money to work for you so it can grow. And, when you get to that point, make sure to reach out to a financial planner or wealth manager so you can make the best, most informed decisions.
If our insurance agency can ever be of help please do not hesitate to call our North Dallas office or send us an email. We look forward to helping you in any way that we can.