Quarantine Savings: How to Stretch Your Paycheck During Quarantine

Since the recent COVID-19 hit, people have no choice but to stay at home. Companies either pause their operations indefinitely, enact work-from-home policies, or worse, let go of some employees to keep the business afloat. And while you may still have your job right now, it’s still difficult to feel secure career and money-wise. In fact, the whole country is facing a recession right now because of the pandemic.

One of the ways you can brace yourself for the economic effects of the social distancing period is to save money for possible unemployment or health emergencies. Sure, there’s the occasional stipend from the local government but they’re, well, occasional. So, how can you cut costs during quarantine?

Adapt to the Temperature

One of the hot-button topics on the papers is the high electric bill costs that homeowners face. If your bill is twice than last month, it may be time to cut back on your usage. While the Manila weather may be sweltering, you don’t want to overwork your air conditioning system and ultimately cause your next bill to spike.

If you’re going to spend most of your time at home, dress down. Get into your most comfortable sleeveless shirt, shorts, and flip-flops. Open the windows to let the breeze in. Reserve the air conditioning system to the times when the heat index gets dangerously high, around 41 degrees Celsius and above. You may have to sacrifice a bit of comfort, but it’s well worth it when you don’t have to spend a significant fraction of your paycheck just for your electricity bill.

Start Planning Your Meals

healthy breakfast

Now that you’re working from home, you won’t have easy access to the food places you used to go to for lunch. This doesn’t mean that you should get deliveries from them every day once they’re back in business. There’s no better time to start meal planning than today.

Not only is it healthier to cook your own food, but it’s also more affordable. There’s no need to pay for labor and facilities. You only need to worry about the ingredients. Start with something simple, like grilled chicken breast and vegetables. Buy the ingredients in bulk and cook them over the weekend. This way, you save both money and time.

Cut Back on the Online Purchases

Online marketplaces like Lazada, Shopee, and Zalora are delivering non-essential items again and it’s definitely tempting to buy the pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing since before the ECQ. Try to add it to the cart for now and take up to two days to decide if you want to go through with checkout. During this time, think about the balance in your online savings account and how much of it you’ll save after paying for your bills and necessities. This way, you’ll really know if you want the item badly or not. The same goes for your current subscriptions. If you already have Netflix and don’t use cable as much, the latter may just be eating into your savings.

The recent pandemic has caused a host of worries along with the virus itself. Job security is one of them. Ensure that you have a backup plan for the worst-case scenario and use these money-saving tips during the quarantine period. Even if you do end up keeping your job and your company goes back to normal, at least you’ll have savings for a rainy day.

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