7 ways to increase cash flow during hard times

Erica Wright Real Estate Leave a Comment

Let’s face it. Most of us could afford to cut back on our expenses. You’d be surprised at just how much money you can save when you re-evaluate your spending and cut back on what isn’t necessary! The pandemic has left us with a unique situation that leaves a lot of room for saving, so check out our list below of things you should consider cutting back on during these trying times.

  1. Make meals at home. It can be tough to find the energy to make a meal after a long day at work. Start out with the habit of cooking at least twice a week, if you order food often, and slowly build up to three or four times a week. If that’s not realistic for you, find time on Sunday to meal prep a few easy dinners for the week. This way you’ll have a meal ready to go.

    The same goes for coffee. Buying a coffee every day can seem like a small expense but it really puts a dent in your wallet in the long run. Cutting out this one small expense can add up to hundreds or potentially even thousands of dollars in savings each.

  2.  Make a grocery list before going to the store.  If you’ve ever gone to the grocery store without a list or when you’re hungry it can be tempting to buy more food than you normally would. Pre-plan what you will need for the week before going to the store to not only make sure you don’t forget anything but also to avoid picking up extra items you don’t need. A list helps make sure you avoid making another unnecessary trip and temptation. And, it can also help with making meal prep more affordable.

  3. Cancel club memberships or entertainment bills. It can be easy to forget about our automatically reoccurring monthly bills. If you have a gym membership that you’ve always had but never use it may be time to cancel it. If you are active, freeze your membership during this time you are stuck at home to reduce expenses. Additionally, if you have cable but find yourself mostly watching Netflix see if it makes sense to cancel your cable bill. Spending $100 a month on the cable may not seem like a lot on a monthly basis but that's $1,200 a year you could be saving! Eliminating the extra expenses you rarely use could make a significant difference in your budget.

  4. Reduce Electricity Use. Electricity can be expensive, but it’s not like there is another option unless you want to live like the Unabomber in a one-room shack cut off from the world. What is optional is how much electricity you choose to waste. A few simple steps will save you money: Two inefficient light bulbs use the same amount of electricity as a large computer, so get energy-efficient light bulbs and turn off when not in use. Avoid “Vampire drain,” which is the power that is slowly sapped by electronics (stereos, workout equipment, kitchen appliances) that are infrequently used. Just unplug them until they are needed. Air conditioning is the biggest power user, so don’t keep your thermostat at sub-freezing temperatures. Use fans to circulate air. Insulate your windows to cut down on heat radiation. Turn off preprogrammed utilities, like the AC, heating and sprinkler system. Many times they kick on when they are not really needed.

  5. Reduce Your Insurance Premiums. Insurance is a lot like cable and cell phone bills. It takes an I.Q. of 170 and/or dogged determination to figure out all the confusing charges. Here are a few simple tips: Shop through an independent agent, who will compare prices and policies. It’s often cheaper to bundle auto and home insurance through one company. Raise your deductibles if possible. The difference in monthly premiums between a $250 deductible and a $500 can be substantial. Driving less (or better yet, carpooling) will reduce your car insurance rates because the less you drive, obviously, the less chance you have of getting into an accident. If your car is old and paid for, eliminate the costly collision coverage. Buy term life instead of whole life insurance. The premiums are much lower.

  6. Grow a Garden. If you’ve ever been down the Produce aisle at Whole Foods, you know how expensive vegetables can be, especially if you want organic ones. No one is suggesting you buy a tractor and become a farmer, but growing a garden is surprisingly easy and rewarding. The start-up costs are basically just garden soil, a few tools, and seeds for the basics like carrots, peppers, tomatoes, berries, and squash. There is a wealth of Do-It-Yourself information available for free on the internet. Not only will you have the old-time satisfaction that comes with producing much of what you eat, but Business Insider magazine also estimates the average family could save up to $24,000 a year on food expenses. That’s a savings anyone can sink their teeth into.

  7. Ask for a Better Deal. Call all of your service providers up—phone, Internet, cable, etc.—and ask them to give you a better deal. You may just be surprised at what they're willing to offer to keep your business.

As you work to save more of your hard-earned dollars and cents, think about what you'll do with your savings. Will you build up your emergency fund, for example, put it into a down payment savings fund to buy a home or invest it for the future? Having clear goals in mind for your savings can help you stay motivated to continue looking for ways to trim expenses.

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Erica Wright