Tuesday, 12 January 2021

The coronavirus recession continues, and with no clear end to the pandemic in sight, Americans may need to prepare for ongoing economic jolts. 

While the stock market and housing market remain relatively strong, unemployment is high and the future is uncertain. Since the pandemic continues, we could see more economic dips before we see a complete recovery.

As we forge ahead into the unknown, saving extra money here and there may be an important strategy to be prepared for what comes next—or just to boost progress toward your savings goals.

Guard against recession with extra savings

Looking ahead, consider these five ways you may be able to save up to $8,984 in the coming year.

Program your thermostat

If you have a smart thermostat, you can set it to automatically adjust to the temperature you want at different times of the day. On those days you do go to the office, for instance, you can keep the thermostat from running, and crank it back up before you get home.

Even if you don't have an advanced smart thermostat, you can make a habit of turning your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit from its normal setting for eight hours per day. As a result, you'll save up to 10% on energy costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If your normal power bill is $100 per month, or $1,200 per year, that's a savings of $120.

Cut the cord

If you're still paying for cable or satellite TV, let 2021 be the year that you finally consider cutting the cord. The number of U.S. households paying for cable or satellite TV is estimated to have decreased by more than 8 million in the past two years, and most of those who have cut off cable or satellite say they don't miss anything about their former TV service.

With wireless internet access, you can stream most TV shows, sports and news channels for much cheaper than paying for cable or satellite access. A typical cord-cutter can save more than $1,200 per year, according to The Simple Dollar.

Cook more 

If you didn't know how to cook before the COVID-19 shutdowns, you probably do now. Don't let those skills go to waste. Eating home-cooked meals can be healthier and less expensive than restaurant meals. If you're accustomed to dining out several times each week, take an hour each weekend to plan, shop for and even prep meals for the coming week. 

On average, dining at home instead of purchasing restaurant meals saves an average of $9 per person per meal. If you have a family of three and you cut out two restaurant meals each week, that's a savings of $54 per week—which adds up to a whopping $2,808 per year.

Drop the gym membership 

Did the COVID-19 shutdowns show you that you could function—and even stay in shape—without your pricey gym membership? If so, cling to that new knowledge and bank the money. There's nothing quite like an outdoor run or bike ride, and even YouTube workouts can be fun (they're available whenever you are!). If you really don't need the gym, stop paying for it. The average gym membership is $58 per month. Without it, you'll save $696 per year.

Cut your grocery bill 

For most people, food is one of the biggest line items in the monthly budget. But with a little time and research, you can cut grocery costs significantly. By using coupons regularly, you can often save up to 40% on many grocery items. If your normal grocery budget is $200 per week, that's a weekly savings of $80 and an annual savings of $4,160.

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