The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose all sorts of challenges for many people around the world. For one, it’s the most pressing health issue we’re facing today, causing millions of people to get sick and claiming lives, too.
The novel coronavirus has also hurt the global economy, as numerous businesses in non-essential industries were forced to suspend operations or shut down completely. There’s also the domino effect of people losing their job or earning less due to pay cuts.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, then you may need to reevaluate your spending habits. You want to reduce the impact of the health crisis on your finances to as little as possible by making sure that you don’t splurge on unnecessary expenses.
Instead, you want to spend your money only on essentials like food, utilities, healthcare, online learning and other items or services that will help you cope with your daily needs and save for the rainy days ahead. You can also add technology to this list, as it has become more of a necessity than a luxury.
In fact, technologies like the internet, computers, and smartphones are some of the most vital tools you can have these days. Aside from work, governments are also encouraging distance learning for schools, emphasizing the need for such technologies. Without these, you can’t have access to news, information, and products or services that are now mostly available in online channels.
Technology doesn’t have to be too costly, either. There are many ways to afford the latest and most powerful gizmos without breaking the bank. That said, here are frugal living tips for keeping your spending in check and your savings growing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
10 Frugal Living Tips During Pandemic
1# Don’t get something just because it’s cheap
You may be tempted to economize on your purchases by looking for anything cheap that you can afford. While this seems to be a great way to make some savings, you have to be extra careful in your decisions to buy something based on the price alone.
Scrimping on tech can have some implications, too, such as your equipment not lasting long enough or not performing to the level that you need it to.
Sometimes, you need to wait until you have some extra money to spend on higher quality products. This doesn’t necessarily mean you always have to go for the more popular brands since other tech players have equally good offerings, too.
2# Get the previous model instead
Every year, tech companies try to make enhancements—performance- and aesthetics-wise alike—to their products. But, unless you really need the latest model, making do with less recent iterations isn’t that bad.
Previous years’ model work just as fine as the newer ones, so try to be honest when asking yourself if you need to switch things up.
3# Don’t be embarrassed to accept hand-me-downs
Sharing is caring, so when someone offers to gift you their pre-loved gadget, grab it like it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
There’s nothing wrong with accepting hand-me-downs; in fact, both you and your benefactor are doing the environment good by recycling and re-using things.
You can also return the favor to your donor—perhaps you have special skills that you can offer for free or trade something else for what you have received.
4# Sell your old tech
You might have an old laptop or phone that you no longer use, probably because they have minor issues that you don’t want to trouble yourself with.
Rather than keeping them in your pile and letting them collect dust, turn them into instant cash by putting them on sale.
You can post your items in online marketplaces, where someone else may find them useful. Some organizations or individuals make money by buying old stuff and reworking them to make them look or feel as good as new, so you may want to add them to your list of potential buyers.
5# Buy refurbished
Refurbished gadgets may also be classified as used items, but the thing to remember is that it’s much better if you get them straight from companies that manufacture them or from their authorized vendors.
This gives you the guarantee that the machine you’re getting is in excellent working condition since it has been deep-cleaned and repaired for any hiccups—ready to go to the next user, which is you.
Buying refurbished is a great way to make savings because you’re paying for a certified quality product with the same features and capabilities as brand-new items but at a lower price.
6# Repair or upgrade what you have
You need to be practical now, more than ever, and one way to do it is to make use of what you currently have, instead of buying a new piece of equipment or gadget. Perhaps your laptop has run out of storage space, or you’re thinking of upgrading to a unit that has more RAM.
Before replacing your laptop altogether, you can try applying some workarounds like removing unnecessary files or software that take up space. Alternatively, you can transfer some of your files to an external hard disk to give your laptop more room to keep the apps that you need.
7# Shop for the best deals
There’s a wide range of suppliers for your tech needs, so be wise and practical and use this to your advantage.
Some of these sellers may be able to give you exclusive deals that you won’t get from other vendors, whether that comes in the form of discounts or freebies.
Be sure to shop around first to know the different options available to you. You should also consider after-sales service as a criteria in selecting the best vendor.
What you need is a company that’s able to provide timely and reliable customer support whenever you need it.
8# Check forums and sites for reviews
Before buying anything, it’s worth taking time to check out forums like Quora or Reddit. These are platforms where you can find users talking about a piece of technology’s features, quality, value for money, and possible trade-offs that may come with your purchase.
Knowing what others have to say about the product you have in mind can help you assess if it’s what you need or if it’s worth buying with the amount of money that you have.
Many forum members can also give you helpful warnings on how you can avoid scams and give their recommendations on where to buy, how to check for knockoffs, and so on.
9# Study your warranty options
Most tech products come with a warranty, whether they’re brand-new or refurbished. In the latter case, the minimum warranty is 30 days, but you have the option to pay extra to extend the warranty period.
The same goes for warranty coverage—if you want to have complete protection for your item, it will cut you back by a few more dollars.
Take time to check whether a regular warranty is enough, or if you need to invest in something more comprehensive.
Ask your seller for their recommendations, too, since they know their products better than you do. As such, they should be able to tell you which warranty package can give you more bang for your buck.
10# Take advantage of free trials in apps
Tech purchases can include special apps, which may also cost something to download or install in your device.
Often, the app provider offers a free trial period, wherein you can use the app without paying for a single penny.
Although there’s limit to the features that you can access during the free trial, it can help you buy time so that you can save enough and eventually be ready to make the purchase.
Spending and Saving on Tech during Pandemic
The world is experiencing a crisis due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, and it has affected almost everyone’s ability to make money.
Until the situation improves, every penny that you spend or save counts, so try to be more cautious as you manage your tech shopping needs.
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Author: Chris Cantrell