3.25.20

How to cut expenses immediately

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What to do if your pay has been cut or lost entirely.

COVID-19 is taking its toll on personal finances. With restaurants shut except for take-out, hours at retailers cut and some jobs lost, people are looking for ways to reduce expenses. Here are some ways you can cut costs immediately.

Save money on groceries

If you’re not already enrolled in your grocery store’s loyalty program, do it now. This will give you access to members-only deals and rewards.

Take advantage of coupons. Two online resources are Coupons.com and SmartSource. Also, read up on tips from The Krazy Coupon Lady.

Compare prices as you shop in the store. Store brands are often cheaper than national brands – but not always.

Look for sales on items you buy anyway and buy extra if you can. Things like hamburger and chicken keep for a long time in the freezer. Canned and boxed goods keep indefinitely.

Loyalty pays

Grocery stores aren’t the only ones who reward repeat customers. Ask any business you buy from frequently, including restaurants, if they have a loyalty program. Sign up and take advantage of the discounts and freebies.

Ask for deals
It may feel awkward, especially at first, but ask retailers and service providers if discounts and specials are available. You may be surprised how often discounts are available.

Seek out promos
When shopping online, look for promos before you check out. A quick Google search of “promo code for (name of retailer/seller)” often turns up a discount of 10%+ or free shipping.

Also, check out Groupon for deals on things to do and goods to buy.

Reduce insurance premiums
You can’t eliminate your home and auto insurance, but you can reduce the premiums. The quickest way is to increase your deductibles. A number of insurance companies are also offering discounts on their own. See if yours is one here.

It’s also a good idea to shop around; premiums often vary widely among insurers. You can get quotes online, from independent agents and from our partner, Nulty Insurance. Ask them about their Consumers member discount.

Lower utility bills
Keeping your appliances well maintained is the first step in keeping electric and gas bills down. After that, make use of energy-efficient devices like LED lights and programmable thermostats.

Contact your utility provider about time of use plans that reward you for using less energy when their demand is highest. Find out what time of day has the lowest cost and do things like laundry and running the dishwasher at those times.

Many utility companies also offer free home energy assessments and provide tips to help reduce costs. You may also be eligible for rebates on energy efficient items. Ask them.

Mitigating medical expenses
Work directly with your healthcare provider to see if you are using the most cost effective prescriptions. Apps like GoodRx can provide significant cost savings on many prescriptions.

Use telemedicine when appropriate—it’s less expensive than an office visit and prevents you from being exposed to others

Make sure to use in-network providers.

If you need medical care, don’t delay. Ignoring small problems can turn into bigger, costlier problems and possibly do permanent damage.

Review your subscriptions and memberships
Are you paying for subscriptions or memberships you rarely or never use? Go through your credit card statement to identify what you can cancel. Magazines? The gym? Streaming services? They can all add up.

For subscriptions you need to keep, ask the service provider for a better rate. If one is not available, see if an alternate provider offers the same service for less.

Other changes to move the needle
Do you save meal leftovers for the next day? Can you cut out cable? Maybe shop at a second-hand store for the things you need to buy? Are there old toys or bikes in your garage you could sell online?

We know you have more ideas for saving money. Leave a comment below with the ways you and your family have saved.

Consumers provides banking services for more than 100,000 members. If you have banking questions, call us at 800-991-2221. We make it easy to bank how you want, when you want. During the coronavirus confinement, we’re available online, by phone and by appointment at select offices equipped to maximize safety.

Federally insured by NCUA

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Tools and resources

Find the financial tools and resources you need during these uncertain times and stay up-to-date on our latest response to COVID-19.

Learn more

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