In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re all in a bit of a crisis these days. With COVID-19 effectively shutting down the economy, we are, without a doubt, in a recession. Oh, we won’t know for sure for some months yet, but it sure seems inevitable. Today let’s talk about ways to economize if you are still employed, but perhaps have a reduction in income. Next week we’ll talk about things to do if you are in more dire straits financially.
Our family is in the situation of having a significant income reduction for at least the next few months. Here is what we are doing.
Buying and managing bulk food
We are by no means hoarding food, but we are buying more at a time than usual. The reason is that ordinarily, we hit the grocery store 3-4 times per week. We haven’t been very good at meal planning in the past, but we’re getting a cram course now. Since we don’t know what the future might hold with regard to access to stores and our health, we’re making sure we’re buying at least a week’s worth of food each trip. We are down to one trip per week.
In addition, my husband, Greg, is making good use of his vacuum sealer. For meat and bread items that he has bought in larger quantities than usual, he is dividing them up, sealing them, and freezing some portions. He learned a trick for bread items: if you simply stick bread in the pouch and vacuum seal it, it will smash the bread down. Instead, you freeze the bread and THEN vacuum seal it, thus maintaining its shape.
Eating from the pantry
We most often buy and eat fresh food, so our pantry doesn’t stay stocked, as a rule. However, we do have items like rice mixes and canned beans and vegetables, and during the past few weeks we have bought more pantry staples. We’ve been getting creative to make meals using what we have. Our normal protocol would be to stop for items (typically fresh vegetables) that we lacked for the desired meal. It’s actually been fun to see what we can come up with!
Paying attention to leftovers
Normally we are pretty good about eating leftovers. Now we’re becoming pros at it! We’re cooking much more than usual at home, and we are being more careful about not overlooking the food containers in the refrigerator.
Avoiding take-out food
We’re quite torn on this one. While we would like to support local restaurants who are offering take-out, we have decided to cook for ourselves for the duration of this quarantine. Since we are normally a family that gets take-out once or twice a week, we are saving some serious dough this month.
One of the great luxuries of our lives is that we have someone come to clean our house twice a month. That is now, um, on hiatus. We’re getting in a groove of cleaning, however, so we are managing just fine.
Keeping an eye on the budget
So far, we have not had to make other budget cuts, but I will certainly be keeping a close eye on things over the coming weeks. We spend a great deal of money each month on food, so economizing on our eating habits is really paying off.
Next week, I’ll talk about some more serious steps to take if your financial situation is more dire.
How about you? How are you handling the economic aspect of this crisis? Share below! Or if you want to start a discussion with some like-minded friends, join the free SimpleMoney Community on Facebook to share your thoughts!
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