There are a lot of things that I miss about being out and about with others during the shelter-in-place period that COVID-19 has forced upon us. Nevertheless, I tend to be a glass half full kind of person. Or at the very least, I try to find the silver lining in the challenging things that life throws our way. I am still enjoying life. And I have found that I don’t have to spend a lot of money to do so. We can minimize expenses while enjoying life.
Find Free At-Home Entertainment
One of the biggest costs that people seem to incur right now is the cost of at-home entertainment. After all, we are home more than ever before. Therefore, we find it easy to justify adding new at-home expenses to keep ourselves entertained. For example, have you added new steaming service subscriptions to your life?
There are a lot of free and cheap at-home entertainment options. Take advantage of those to minimize expenses. There are free services for streaming television, movies, and other video clips. You can also stream music and podcasts online for free. Moreover, there are free games and other forms of online entertainment. Make sure that you take advantage of all of the free and promotional offers first before signing up for on-screen entertainment for a fee.
Moreover, take advantage of this time to do things at home that don’t involve your screens. Get out board games and puzzles. Read the books and magazines that have been sitting on your shelves forever. Have a “family conversation” hour. Train your dog with some new tricks. Go back to the basics. Challenge yourself and the others in your household to come up with non-screen, no-cost, in-home activities during this time.
Minimize Expenses At Home
Just because you are home more than you were before doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot of extra money at home. Sure, you might have to buy more supplies (for example, paper if you’re using your own printer instead of the one at work) but you can minimize a lot of your stay-at-home expenses.
First of all, pay attention to your home energy usage. Are you and your family members opening the fridge door every hour to stare at what’s in there out of boredom? Do you notice that everyone is in different rooms, each wit their own lights on? Do a casual assessment of energy waste in your home and make adjustments to minimize expenses.
Next, consider what you’re paying for that you might not need. Are you getting delivery services for things that you aren’t using right now?
Cancel Services You Can’t Use
What subscriptions do you have for work that aren’t necessary when you work from home? For example, I pay $19.99 per month for Lyft’s “Pink” service, but since I’m not going anywhere using Lyft right now, I’ve canceled that for the time being.
Likewise, I’ve put a pause on my yoga membership. Honestly, if I could afford to keep supporting my yoga studio right now, I would. They offer online classes during the quarantine. But I won’t use those and I need to minimize expenses, so I’ve paused that membership. Have you paused your transportation, gym, and other out-of-the-house memberships that you can’t use right now? Do that.
Review Your Shopping Situation
First of all, don’t do any online shopping just because you’re restless and bored at home. If you catch yourself doing that, uninstall the apps you shop from. Or institute a rule that you’ll leave things in your online cart for at least 24 hours before purchasing to give you time to consider the purchase.
Next, consider where you do shop right now. Are you making the best choices to minimize expenses? Can you utilize coupons more efficiently right now? Are there promotional deals for delivery services that would be advantageous to you right now? What are the best things that you can do to get what you need, and only what you need, at minimum cost?
More than anything else, use this unexpected time at home to get creative. There are so many ways of enjoying life that don’t cost a thing. Go through your old photos with family members. Play dress-up with the kids – or just with your spouse for the evening. Take out art supplies, write a poem, put on music and dance. The less you rely on money and external entertainment, the more your own mind will keep you interested in life.