Let’s face it. This Coronavirus pandemic will most likely lead to financial hardships. It is inevitable. This quarantine period and economic lockdown is hurting us all. With the stock market crashing, businesses shutting down, people losing jobs or temporarily being held off from coming in to work, bills piling up, and with no definite source of income, it will hurt a lot of people.
I lost eight San Diego weddings this year and will not be shooting any weddings until May with no definite backup plans. This pandemic struck during the first part of the San Diego wedding season as well as the rest of the country and it affected us all in the wedding industry. Times like this call for major life adjustments based on our means and saving money in all forms is definitely helpful.
I grew up in a country where a lot of resources are limited and was forced to improvise from food, tools, and basically every aspect of life. Being resourceful and self-sustainable were very helpful because compared here in United States, we have much more than what I had back home. When hard times are at our doorsteps, the best thing we can do is save money to minimize the impact on us. Besides, crisis or not, saving money is never a bad idea.
Here are some of the ideas I thought of on how to be self-sustainable and how to save money:
- If you have a 401K, lessen the percentage that you are contributing for now to get a higher net pay. Just make sure that you still meet the minimum requirements of your company/organization with regards to employer-match. You don’t want to miss on that employer matching. This is just temporary, at least during financial hardships.
- If you are claim 0 in your payroll, you can change your claim to 1 to generate a higher net pay. You can ask your HR or payroll department about this.
- Freeze your gym membership and buy used workout equipments. Work out at home and do trail running for your cardio. Try it in the next coming weeks and see how that works for you. Cutting down membership fees should save money.
- Bidet has dramatically cut down our toilet paper consumption. 1 roll has lasted 2 weeks for 2 people and it is still going, not even half way out. It is cleaner, earth-friendly, way more economical, and practical.
- Use washable hand towels instead of paper towels. Have at least 7 pieces, replace it each day, and wash it regularly. Economical, practical, and earth-friendly.
- Don’t use paper plates, disposable utensils, and plastic cups. Use the washable ones instead (I don’t think I have to explain this). I personally use hydro flask that I carry around the house to drink water. It saves me from washing dishes and is more economical in the long run.
- Water filter cuts down our bottled water consumption. I personally prefer the MSR water filter system for backpacking because it serves two purposes: for my outdoor needs and for household. Besides, during times of crisis, you’ll never know when you’ll need to leave the house, so better have that backup option when clean drinking water might not available.
- Grow your own food! Have plants you can use for everyday cooking. I have a small balcony and I grow herbs and tomatoes. I am planning on having eggplants and other stuff, as well. And, if you have big backyard, grow your own variety of veggies. You can raise your own chickens to lay eggs, too. This self-sustainable way of living should cut down your cost of living and enjoy organic food within your means.
- Meal-prepping cuts down food expenses and a good way to maintain your weight. I spend $60/week for two and get to be creative with my weekly menu and that includes tons of smoothies for breakfast, too!
- Cancel some subscriptions you don’t really use. I cancelled Disney+ and Prime video subscription because Netflix is enough for my movie habits. Also, if you have friends who don’t mind sharing their passwords, you can share yours in exchange for theirs for other streaming services, as well (not sure if this is legal but hey, we are in a crisis).
- Gather all your trusted family and friends and have one Amazon prime membership, you can put in multiple credit cards there so each can still use their own credit cards upon ordering. AGAIN, ONLY FOR PEOPLE YOU TRUST.
- Dig through your closet. 9 out of 10, you probably have luxury (or non-luxury) things you do not use. Those impulsive purchases you made during Black Friday sale can help you pay your credit card bills and save your credit score. That Louis Vuitton bag sitting unused in your drawer for more than a year could make some money. Offerup, FB market place, Grailed, and Ebay will be your best friend for this. Holding on to material things you do not need is not very helpful unless it has sentimental value. But if not, let it go! I probably have 30-40 pairs of rare sneakers that I can resale for about $10-$15 grand easy if I let it go. JUST DON’T GET SCAMMED.
- Invest on non-online recreational activities. Staying online and seeing all the ads in social media will make you want to spend money. These platforms’ main goal is to take your money, from ads to influencers, showing off what they have. They all want you to spend money. So, cut down your screen time and play chess or card games with your partner instead.
- For all my digital creatives, Adobe has free membership for two months now so take advantage of it.
- Don’t get annual pass for SeaWorld, Universal Studios, or any other amusement parks. I don’t think we need to go to these parks multiple times in a year.
- Make your own coffee (no need to explain this).
These probably aren’t enough to prevent damages on you during a financial crisis, but a dollar saved is a dollar lesser on your expenses. It would help you invest wisely on more important things and get by during these times. A lot of us live excessively. We were brought up thinking excess equates to security, but if we can all learn how to live according to our needs, these times should be easier to deal with than anticipated. It is just a matter of lifestyle and mindset.
“Spend according to your ability and according to your needs (see what I did there?)”
San Diego Wedding Photographer