Tips on Resetting Your Finances During COVID-19
I was recently interviewed by Zanade Mann, the founder of The Grand Reset Facebook group, to discuss Five Financial Tips to Help You Manage Through COVID-19! I loved that it was on Wednesday, May 13th because it went perfectly with my Women Crushing It Wednesday posts. It was what I needed to get back into writing my blog posts and editing YouTube videos. I was a bit down since this past Mother's Day was the first Mother's Day without my sister but this collab reminded me why I do what I do. My sister is the reason why I started this blog and all my social media accounts. For years she and I would share money-saving tips and I would share my experience selling on e-commerce. When she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she suggested I share my tips via Instagram so other people around the world could benefit from my tips. Fast forward to today and I have been empowered by all of the amazing men and women who are trying to better themselves during this unprecedented time. I am humbled that you have taken the time to visit my blog and hope that my tips help you find ways to save and make money so you can have more time to spend with people you love.
If you would like to watch the unedited interview, click the image below to join the Facebook group, and watch the interview. Keep reading if you want my in-depth tips.
Before I go into my tips, I want to mention that I am not sponsored by any of the apps I am about to list. I use them to help save or make money and simply use my referral codes as a way to benefit from promoting apps I love. You are not obligated to download any of these apps and I always recommend you use apps that you feel are worth your time. I know there are numerous apps out there so if there's an app you would like me to try to see if it's worth your time, please feel free to leave a comment or email me directly. Now let's get into the 5 tips that I shared on May 13th. Tip #1 Secure the Bag This can be defined, in the traditional sense, as taking care of your finances but I want to go a little deeper. We are living in a time where we are constantly reminded how precious life is and how it can end at any moment. Before you can secure your finances, you have to secure your documents. This includes your life insurance paperwork, your will, and phone numbers of businesses and family members people need to contact in case you pass away. I know this sounds like it's starting off on a dark note, but this is something I learned last year when my sister passed away from cancer. She had all of her documents and contacts in order so that when she passed away, my family was not scrambling to figure out what she wanted. The same can be said for all of us. I want you to ask yourself do you have life insurance? Do you have a will? Do you know who your family contacts are? Do you know how you want to be buried? Do you have all of your necessary legal documents in a place that someone can get to it in case you pass away? Death is inevitable and it's not something we ever want to talk about but it has to be done at least for the sake of your family who will have to deal with the paperwork after you pass away. If anything, handle this paperwork now before it's too late. Once you have the security of knowing that you're not leaving your family with a headache during their grieving process, you can focus on your current finances. I understand that there are people who still have money coming in and many who do not. I am going to share tips that work for both.
1) Cut off all unnecessary expenses.
This includes canceling subscription services that you do not need. Choose either Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, OR YouTube. Ideally, you shouldn't have a subscription service because you will be too busy working on your side hustle until you get your finances in order. Cancel your monthly makeup boxes. Cut cable or satellite TV. If you can, reduce the service you have on your cellphone plan or see if you can switch to a pay as you go plan. If you have to drive or travel, plan ahead so that you're driving or traveling as little as possible this way you can save your gas or travel fare and reduce your possible exposure to COVID-19 when you are out in public.
Make sure you are checking all of your bank and credit card statements for transactions that you did not make. Everyone's looking for money including scammers. You do not want to pay for items you did not purchase on your credit card let alone pay interest on it.
2) Reduce the cost of your expenses
Think of all the ways you can reduce costs at home. Do something simple in your home such as unplugging all unnecessary appliances when you're not using them. If you have a storage unit, think of downsizing and bring the items to your home so that you do not have an extra expense.
If you're accustomed to eating out, learn to cook at home, or even start your own garden. Make sure you use coupons as much as possible when grocery shopping. Only buy what you know you will eat. Stop impulse buying! YOU DO NOT NEED IT! What you do need is money for the food that you WILL eat.
If you still want to order out, make sure you're ordering enough food so that you can divide your order into multiple meals. Instead of the meal lasting for one dinner, see if you can portion out the meal so that you can have lunch and dinner for the next two to three days.
3) Save your Money
Don't buy unnecessary things such as extra clothes, shoes, toys, games, or a new car. I know it's REALLY tempting with all these sales going on but you really need to focus on what is a need versus a want. By staying home and not spending money on unnecessary things, you will have money to put towards savings or paying bills. These past months have reminded us that anything can happen to our jobs or businesses. We need to make sure we have extra money to survive difficult times.
If you HAVE to buy something, make sure to shop around for the best deal. I usually go to google, type in a certain item that I'm looking for then hit the shopping button to see what platforms are selling what I'm looking for at the price I am comfortable with.
If you need to buy clothes, choose to be part of the sustainable fashion mission by buying gently used clothing from local thrift stores or platforms such as eBay, Poshmark, or Mercari. Make sure you sort for the best price.
Use my referral link https://merc.li/uyc9edb when joining Mercari to get a $10 credit towards your first purchase.
Clean out your closet and earn cash by using the Poshmark app. Click the image below to see some of the items that I sell in my Poshmark closet. Send me a message when you join Poshmark so that I can share your closet once you start listing new items. Use my referral code glitter_assoc when joining Poshmark to get a $10 credit towards your first purchase.
Click the image below to watch my Poshmark playlist on my youtube channel.
Use apps that give you cashback. Here are some of the apps I use:
Rakuten gives you rebates for your online purchases. You receive funds via a check that is mailed to your home. Use my referral code https://www.rakuten.com/r/SHENEL357?eeid=28187 when joining.
I use the honey extension to search for the best coupon to use if you're shopping online. You can also earn rewards for your purchases that you redeem for gift cards. Use my link when joining joinhoney.com/ref/sj1a3fn.
The Ibotta app is similar to Rakuten except it is also for qualifying in-store purchases. You take pictures of the receipt and if the items you purchased qualify, you will earn cash back. Once you earn at least $20 you can withdraw your money via Paypal or gift cards. Use referral code qeciywy when joining.
Receiptpal is one of the easiest apps to use. You earn 100 points for every qualifying receipt that you upload. Unlike the other apps, there's no limit to what type of receipt you need to upload. You need 2,200 points to earn a $5 Amazon gift card. Use the link https://app.adjust.com/oqlq9t9?label=44T4QG76 when joining.
Fetch Rewards is similar to the other apps where you earn points for qualifying purchases and receipts. Use code 2GU78 when joining to get $2 in points when you upload your first receipt. You need 6,000 points to get a $5 Visa gift card.
Getupside is an app I use to get cashback on gas purchases and food nearby. Use referral code shenel4229 when joining to get $5 cashback.
Shopkick gives you points or cashback on your purchases. It's similar to Pokemon go where you walk around scanning items in stores for points or taking pictures of receipts for qualifying purchases or earn points for simply walking in a store. This is really great when you're at a mall. You need 1,250 kicks to get a $5 Walmart gift card. Use referral code DEAL190941 when joining to earn 250 points once you walk-in or scan within 7 days of joining.
Earn points for exercising with the Achievement app. If you have a Fitbit or exercise watch that you can connect to the app, you'll earn points for taking surveys and walking. You need 10,000 points to earn your first reward. The more you walk and take surveys, the faster you'll earn your rewards. Use link http://tinyurl.com/y9ardryjh when joining to earn 100 points.
Here's a tip, I usually use the same receipt and try to upload it to multiple apps to earn points. I save all my gift cards so that I can use them all at once when I shop on Amazon or Sephora. I have a playlist on my YouTube channel sharing different ways to save money. Use the extra money that you're saving towards a bill or debt. Tip #2 Have Multiple Streams of Income
The 5th video I ever posted on my youtube.com/savesellshenel channel was "Should you have a 2nd Stream of income? Tips on starting a side hustle." After being cut off from my parents at 18 and then trying to survive the last recession on my own, I learned the only way to survive was to have multiple streams of income. Working in retail and hospitality showed me how volatile relying on a single income was especially one where your hours were inconsistent. To have more financial security during college, I worked three jobs and sold on e-commerce to diversify my income.
This same concept can be applied today. If you have a skill that you're not using and are passionate about such as carpentry, jewelry making, art, sewing, plumbing, baking, graphic design, music, etc. I highly recommend using that skill to create another stream of income. I have had multiple friends who were laid off and have to help virtually tutor their friend's kids. I know someone who normally works in dentistry who was furloughed, is passionate about baking, and quickly started a baking business. I have friends who know how to sew and are selling masks on ETSY, Facebook Marketplace, and Poshmark for good money. I know someone who is combining his love for recycling wood and creating custom furniture pieces to sell locally. There are people who started blogging, teaching exercise classes on youtube, or selling their recipes online. You HAVE to identify what your talents are and think outside the box on how you can make extra money doing what you love. There are freelance sites such as https://www.fiverr.com/ where you can market your services.
Minimize the clutter in your home and sell online. Sell items you no longer need such as clothes, books, home goods on Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Poshmark, and Mercari. By having less clutter in your home, you'll have better peace of mind and get excited about the next thing you can sell to bring more money into your home.
If you cannot think of new streams of income, then I recommend taking surveys at home. My favorite app to use is QuickThoughts. I have an old video on my YouTube channel that talks about the app. You take surveys on your phone and earn money for Amazon or iTunes gift cards. I also use InboxDollars or Swagbucks if I have extra time. You will not get rich taking surveys but they will help bring extra money in so you do not have to spend the money you already have.
Tip#3 Use Social Media to Grow Your Network
I know a lot of people have mixed ideas about social media and personally I think it is FREE marketing if you know how to use it to your advantage. Create a Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn page to share your talents or market whatever services or products you offer.
I highly recommend you get a LinkedIn page if you do not have one already. It is a free professional networking site. As the job market gets harder and harder to navigate, companies will use LinkedIn to find qualified candidates for positions or collaborations that are available. An example is a company that approached me based on the diverse work experience listed on my LinkedIn profile. They wanted to pay me just for my professional opinion. I want to remind people that it does not matter where you worked in the past, you should put your work experience on Linkedin. I have retail, hospitality, tech, restaurant, marketing, and construction in my background. I have been saying this for years, our economy is changing and COVID-19 is the catalyst we needed to demonstrate the change I knew would happen eventually. You have to be prepared for the new economy.
Tip #4 Learn Something New
Being prepared for the new economy means learning something new. There are multiple certification programs you can take online. Even if you do not take a certification program, learn a new skill such as gardening, sewing, public speaking, selling, graphic design, coding, something in the medical field, or construction. The more you are open to learning something new the more likely you are to find a job once the economy picks up.
Tip #5 Be Patient
I know being patient is one of the hardest things we can be right now. Unfortunately, no one knows how or when COVID-19 will end. We are all trying to navigate these uncertain times together. The best we can do is better ourselves by eating and consuming what we need, saving our money, keeping ourselves healthy, and being kind to one another. Make sure to take everything day-by-day and appreciate what you have even if all you have is the gift of life.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope these tips help you think differently about how to save and make extra money long term.