I haven’t done one of these saved and earned recaps in a while. Why? Because I somehow seem to be one of the only people in the universe whose spending isn’t dramatically less during COVID. Why is staying home so expensive?
OK. It could have something to do with the fact that just this morning I tossed PAW Patrol slippers in my online shopping cart.
Thankfully, I reined myself in.
Though I can’t offer you a glimpse at someone who is shaving hundred or even thousands of dollars from their spending, I am still saving and earning.
Now that we’ve been sheltering-in-place for several weeks, I noticed the ways that I save and earned have shifted somewhat. In case you’re looking for some ideas on how you might scale back or earn a little extra during quarantine, I figured I’d share some of the things we’ve been up to.
5 Ways I Saved – COVID Edition
Some of this saving has been deliberate, and some of it is just making the best of the circumstances we find ourselves in. As someone who is perfectly comfortable in her comfort zone, the past month has been an adjustment to say the least. However, now that we’re leaning into this temporary “normal” and taking things more day by day, we’re saving a bit. Here’s how:
Score a Car Insurance Refund
Esurance is part of the AllState Family. As a result, we get the same refund that AllState is offering. 15% of our premium for April and May is coming back to us. It’s not going to make us rich. However, it’s not nothing. Car insurance is quite pricey where we live. And I think my husband was influenced a little too heavily by Mario Kart and Smash Bandits, so it’s even pricier for us.
Each month, we’ll get about $25 refunded back to us.
Check to see if your car insurance is offering a refund on your premium due to COVID-19 by clicking here.
Put in Some Sweat Equity
I’ve been positively swamped making the switch to e-learning. And then to remote learning. And figuring out there’s actually a world of difference according to my district and my state.
So this call for sweat equity isn’t to say that I’ve had a ton of free time. But I have been able to do things like spot treat and wash our shower curtain. I was pretty convinced it was getting so gross that I would have to buy a new one. It turns out, it really just needed someone to baby it a bunch with all sorts of stain treatments. I’ve also mended a few of HP’s clothes and repaired some toys.
We do still plan to hire in some work. In the next week or two, we are going to reach out to a small business we’ve used in the past to see if they will deliver mulch. I’ve also recently discovered that our upstairs attic has been invaded with wasps. I can hear them buzzing through the drywall. So apparently when I said I hope to support small businesses with my dollars during this COVID crisis, I wasn’t kidding.
Grow Your Own
We keep seeds from year-to-year because I am frugal to my core. And also? I don’t know what to do with them. I hate waste, but I don’t want to compost a bunch of seeds and then have even more chaos in my garden beds than usual. So I keep them and hope for the best.
We started 48 seeds, and we have about 40 seedlings right now. This hasn’t shaved any money off our grocery budget yet, but it will in the coming months. It has given us a lot to do outside, though. This year, my toddler is thrilled to be involved. So the real cost savings is that I haven’t ordered any new toys for him to keep him busy. We just put him in his rain boots, give him his toddler rake, and turn him loose on the empty garden beds.
Meal Plan Differently
When things started disappearing from shelves in early March, I was still trying to stick to my regular method of meal planning. The end result was repeated trips, missing ingredients, and wasted time. Now, we aim to have our staples covered, and then we shop more flexibly based on what is available in store.
For instance, I had my heart set on sweet potato and black bean tacos. Based on the lack of avocado, guacamole, and tortilla shells, we pivoted to a roasted veggie sheet pan meal that I knew by heart as I stood in the produce aisle. It’s kind of like the advice that you shouldn’t buy an article of clothing if you can’t imagine making at least three outfits out of it? I now only buy groceries that I could mix and match into multiple meals based on what is actually available.
Clean Up Consistently
This pandemic has not gifted us with more time. If anything, it feels like we are sleeping less and constantly committed. Zoom has taken the education world by storm. Seriously, our district administration raving about Zoom is a lot like someone marveling over Vine or the Macarena right now. We know. We’ve known. Move along.
But in between all of the staff meetings and remote teaching that my husband and I are doing (and toddler wrangling!), we are trying to tidy up and throw things away. As a society, we are conditioned to see clutter and respond by purchasing organizational “necessities.” They’re not needed; at least not for us. We just had to recommit to keeping the house straightened up.
RELATED POST: Minimize Without More Spending
5 Ways I Earned – COVID Edition
I keep seeing the usual recommendations for side hustles and quick money (nothing is ever easy about finance). But a lot of that advice just plain doesn’t apply the same way anymore, if at all. The JobSpotter App is temporarily on hiatus and many reselling apps are noting delays with processing and shipping.
A lot of people are scrambling. Myself included! Two big ways that I was making extra cash each week totally disappeared. Our school is closed through April 30, so that means no lunch supervision and no subbing for at least six weeks. Certainly, I’m very fortunate to still receive my salary and benefits. But I’m not going to lie. I miss that extra $100 or so each week!
Start Remote Teaching
No, I am not going to advise you to earn $10 an hour with a teaching degree. I’m not talking about that kind of remote teaching.
Instead, I wanted to disclose that I am still earning my income, as is my husband. We made the move to remote learning the day after schools closed. I thought I worked hard before? This is just bananas. I’m required to offer 3-5 hours of instruction a day, and I was easily clocking 12+ hours a day on it the first two weeks.
I am very grateful to have my salary, but I am exhausted. And come to think of it, maybe I am teaching for $10 an hour. 😉 But at least it comes with benefits.
Note: If you really think that teaching online is right for you, go for it! Just be wary of companies that pay their affiliates more generously than they pay credentialed teachers. You might also consider looking into tutoring. Depending on the subject area, you could pull in anywhere from $25-$100 an hour. Truly!
RELATED POST: 4 Tips to Earn Four Figures a Month Tutoring
This is another big focus of mine lately. Now that I’m in a better groove with remote learning and I have some actual boundaries in my life again, I have more bandwidth for freelancing.
Sometimes, side hustling isn’t great. But right now, it is super important to me. The reasons it is worthwhile for me is that I only have a handful of clients, the work is really interesting, and they all pay fairly and promptly. In short, they are amazing!
I do think this is an area where people can really get taken advantage of. If you’re trying to get your start freelancing, let me know. I’m not an expert, but I can send all sorts of resources your way. As someone who was pushed around a bunch when I first started tutoring, I understand how conflicting it is to just earn any kind of money. But you should know that there are great clients out there who will treat you well. You don’t have to settle!
Download the Achievement App
I was going to say “use the Achievement app,” but that makes it sounds like actual work. I did the initial setup on the app, and now we are off and running. OK, mostly walking. But still.
If you have a FitBit, you absolutely need to get this app. It tracks your steps, and you cash out via PayPal every $10. It also offers you opportunities to do in-app surveys and join studies. I’m currently doing a study, and I’ve already received $15. I should end up with another $25 by the end of April.
Keep Scanning Receipts
Apps like Shopkick are a lot less powerful with big-point stores temporarily closed. But apps like Fetch and Ibotta still work well. I reconnected with Checkout 51 this past week, and I was super excited to see them offering any brand/any type rebates for apples, eggs, and milk.
If you don’t have Checkout 51 and you want to try it, this is my referral link. I get a few bucks and so do you! If you haven’t found at least one receipt app that you like, I highly recommend scrolling through the app store and seeing what options match up with your shopping habits!
Surely, this is a sign that the End of Times is upon us. Right?
Bing Rewards are fairly easy to rack up if you remember to actually use the search engine. I’m definitely not going to be richer for this, but now that JobSpotter is kaput, I’m using Bing more consistently to keep socking away Amazon credits for my Christmas Fund.
So Tell Me…How are you saving a bit more or earning a little extra lately?