It’s hard to see anything good in a pandemic, especially if you are under quarantine and have to stay at home for a month. But with a positive mindset, you can use these long days to rearrange your life.
We suggest 5 important improvements that will make your confinement more meaningful.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
# 1: Make Regular Payments Automatic
When a bank office is just around the corner, it’s easy to drop in with some paper bills — under normal circumstances. When going outside means a multi-step process of sanitizing your hands, doorknobs and other surfaces, you prefer to stay at home even if the bank is still open.
‘Social distancing’ is a good reason to finally automate your regular payments. It’s really easy to do: using banking apps, you can make most of your financial activities automatic. Take some time to figure out how it works — after all, time is what you have in excess now.
There are some important advantages automatic payments have over manual ones.
- They are more environmentally friendly.
It’s not only about the trees. From the beginning to the end, paper billing is a complicated process with a significant carbon print. They create, deliver and recycle millions of paper docs just because many customers love it the old-fashioned way. In contrast, automated payments eliminate unnecessary environmental damage and reduce waste.
- Autopay saves you time and trouble
Just think, first you have to check your mailbox and collect the bills. Then, you go to the bank and wait for your turn in line there. Now and then you go through the piles of old bills to see which of them are ready to go to the garbage. If you add up all these activities, you may find you waste 1 day a year.
- Smaller fees
When you pay your bills manually, your bank charges a commission. Again, some 3% may seem a small waste in each specific case. But if you sum up all these fees, you will get a tidy sum.
Autopay often means zero commission. Also, it’s impossible to miss the due date. So, you will avoid late payment penalties.
- Utility bills and more
Apart from gas, electricity, and other utility bills, you can automate your regular charity donations, insurance, important subscriptions, etc. You can also pay for your parents’ phone or cable if you wish. Just imagine the amount of fuss and stress this stuff would cause if you managed it manually.
# 2: Start Investing For Retirement
In turbulent times like this, it’s easy to say: ‘I will think about it tomorrow’. The problems of today appear so urgent and big, that thinking long-term becomes less popular.
On the contrary, it’s a good time to understand that you’d better have something saved for retirement or a rainy day. The pandemic shows how unpredictable things may be.
Therefore, you should probably start investing in your future right now. With social activity reduced to the minimum, use this spare time to study the basics of trading. Currently, the market is very dynamic and volatile, especially if you deal with cryptocurrencies and other high-risk assets. But if you keep your bets small and your head cool, it’s a good chance to go through a high-intensity training.
If you are a beginner, we recommend reading this article about trading.
# 3: Use Mobile Payment Apps
In our recent article about financial hygiene, we mentioned that using payment apps helps reduce contact with various surfaces, touched by potential Covid-19 carriers. Naturally, this is not the main advantage of mobile payments.
Such apps make things more convenient outside an emergency, too. Especially if you run a small business or work as a freelancer. Use your self-isolation days to explore various apps and see which one meets your specific needs better.
If you often deal with cross-border payments, don’t miss blockchain-based payment tools.
We suggest you try Channels — the innovative app by Exscudo that combines an encrypted messenger with a digital wallet. With Channels, you can make secure, fast and cheap payments and enjoy social interaction with zero risk of infection, biological or digital.
# 4: Cancel the Subscriptions You Don’t Need
No, we don’t suggest you cancel Netflix, it’s part of your survival kit.
But it’s time to do some weeding.
As any person, you probably keep paying for a lot of unnecessary services. It may be an extended online storage with some heavy media stuff from your previous work. Or a streaming website that you haven’t visited for months. Or a premium dating app account that still bills you every month though you are already married and with kids.
It’s so easy to get subscribed to anything these days, that we are not even aware of the action. Sometimes we wonder where our money goes, but the waste if not big enough to make us worried. We are always too busy, or lazy, or just careless.
How To Cancel Subscriptions
Luckily, there are special services to help us spot the leeches and rip them off. For instance, apps like Truebill scan your financial activity and give you a complete picture of it.
Also, you can do it manually, as many subscriptions are managed through Google Play or App Store. For iPhone, go to your Settings > ID > Subscriptions. You will get a list of subscriptions with all the relevant data. Kill the unwanted stuff.
If you are an Android guy, go to Google Play > Menu > Subscriptions.
Don’t forget to check all the accounts if you have more than one.
# 5: Track Your Spendings
When you are tired of watching TV or skyping your friends, you can work on your financial health.
Analyze your monthly spendings to see where your money goes to. Many banking apps collect information about your shopping habits and have it categorized for your (and their own) convenience.
The result might be surprising: some people suddenly get aware that they spend too much on eating out, or on taxis, or even on Starbucks. When you have identified the major categories of expenditure, think of the ways to cut costs. It sounds sad, but try to look at it in a positive way.
It’s not about denying yourself small pleasures and making life dull.
A smart approach will let you save money without compromising the quality of life. For instance, if you take some cooking classes, you will enjoy better food for less money. And if you walk half an hour a day, you will avoid using a taxi to work and back. In the long run, healthy eating and regular walks will boost your immune system and save you even more money on medical expenses.
Sure, there are more things you may suggest!
These tips may sound small, but they go a long way. First, putting things in order will keep you busy and distracted. Second, the changes you make will help improve your normal life.
And we all hope things will get back to normal, and soon.