This has been another week for the history books. And not in a good way. It’s more a “Oh, my gosh, Penny, why did you already eat all the ice cream? It’s only Wednesday” kind of way.
Mr. P and I have both tried to stay calm in front of HP. But his schedule is so thrown off. We thought we would get lucky since toddlers don’t really have the greatest concept of days or hours. No dice. He misses his grandparents, he misses his Miss Anne at school, and he is heartbroken over not being able to go to the “jumpy place” at the mall.
He knows things aren’t normal, and my students are feeling it, too. My colleagues continue to be the absolute best, and we’ve already made it halfway through our first week of eLearning. Moments have been really exciting. It’s fun to throw everything out and really innovate. But it also feels a lot like you’re treading water and then someone grabs your foot when you go into it during these circumstances.
When I think about eLearning stretching out beyond two weeks, another thought immediately comes to mind: job safety. Everyone loves to talk about how teaching is recession proof (it isn’t), and this times are totally unprecedented. I know I will be paid for the two weeks that we are off, but I have no idea what anything looks like after that.
All that to say, I’ve panicked.
And I finally told myself, “You need to calm down.”
For some people, calming down looks like a bubble bath, a treadmill session, a glass of wine, or a phone call with a friend.
For me, it looks like spreadsheets. And ice cream, if I’m being totally transparent here. But you knew that.
These money moves aren’t going to dramatically change our lives. But they were concrete steps that I could take to improve our financial situation relatively quickly.
So I thought I’d share them with you in the hopes that you’ll share the moves you’ve been making in the comments.
1. Claim Your Cash
life gets busy I am a bad money blogger, I sometimes leave money lingering in places I shouldn’t. I’m not talking about couch cushions or in my pocket. Instead, I am not always super punctual with claiming cash in the digital space. Over the past week, I checked in on these three areas of my virtual life:
- Credit card cashback bonuses
- PayPal & Venmo
- Rewards and rebate app
It’s not like tens of thousands of dollars were out there floating around. But I was able to put more than $100 in an actual bank account. With the Fed rate cut, I’m not actually concerned about interest. Instead, I simply want my money someplace a little bit more safe and secure. It’s headed straight to our emergency fund.
2. Swipe the Right Card
Our grocery budget basically went out the window. Thanks to the fact that the money community was pretty clued in that this event was going to be significant in terms of human behavior, human health, and personal finance, I was able to slowly buy just a little bit more of what we might need on our regular shopping trips. Amid the barren shelves and Clorox wipes hoarding, I am still only focusing on taking what I need now.
RELATED POST: Take What You Need Now
Unfortunately, I’ve realized that a lot of times what I need isn’t on sale or isn’t even available at a grocery store I would normally shop at (hi, Aldi!). So while I’m definitely not hunting down loss leaders and other screaming deals, I have been shopping with my Discover Cashback card, which still has grocery stores in the 5% cashback category for the month. It’s been a real bright spot!
If you don’t have a Discover card, you should still review any credit or debit card promos and offers that might be available, if that’s your thing. However, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to cash, either!
3. Take Advantage of Ally
I first opened an Ally savings account maybe a year ago to chase a new-customer promotion. Recently, they emailed me that they were offering another promotion for new AND existing customers. I promptly signed up. Now, I earn 1% on the money I move over as long as it stays there until June. (I think — you can learn more here.) 1% is nothing to write home about…except it kind of is when “high yield” interest accounts are now yielding .3% if we’re lucky. I’m not positive how long this offer will last, but it’s a good reminder to be on the look out for different sign-up bonuses.
4. Keep Scanning Receipts
This is not going to make me rich or famous, but it does take the sting out of the full-price groceries I’ve been buying. I use apps like ReceiptHog and Fetch to pretty consistently earn points. I also make it a point to check Ibotta after I shop to see if anything lines up. Drop is still synced to my RED card, though I haven’t been buying much at Target as of late. It still gives me a little rush and a small sense of control to know I have these little tools and tricks at my disposal.
5. Put Your Credit Cards Away
Anxiety is a trigger for me to spend. So is sadness. And happiness. And basically any human emotion. If I don’t constantly keep tabs on myself, I can very quickly spend money on things that I have absolutely no use for.
It happens when I try to buy things for my son that he doesn’t need. When things got hard for me in my personal life and then ::flails hands in the air: THIS happened on a national and global scale, let’s just say that I was trying to shop away my problems. Thankfully, I regained my composure, emptied out my online shopping carts, and put my credit cards away.
Since I don’t store the credit card information in my store accounts, I now have to get up, walk a distance, and really think before I buy. This is both good for my budget and good for the workers who should not be risking their health so that I can have a BOGO bikini from Target.
So Tell Me…What money moves have you made recently to regain a sense of control? What should I do next?