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March 23, 2020

Homebound? Here’s how to stretch your budget for every need

Stuck home for safety during a lockdown? It's crucial to have a stock of essentials. See this guide on how to spend less and shop the right amount.

For those of us who are fortunate to work from home, the Brighter Life team hopes that you are safe and sound with your family. Though a sensitive topic, our finances should always be a priority despite the disruption in our daily lives. Here are tips on how to stretch our budget to meet our needs and, if there is something set aside, to share with those who are struggling to make their own ends meet.

FOOD

Here’s a simple guide to avoid the urge to hoard food supplies. Aside from waste, you may be depriving another family of much needed supplies.

  1. Planning is key. What is your serving size? How many times will you eat in a day? How many are you in a household?
  2. Make an inventory. What foods are handy, what is abundant, and what are in short supply?
  3. With a lockdown in place, assume that you need enough food for 30 days. Based on your inventory, how many days can your food supplies last?
  4. Evaluate. Adjust your serving sizes and avoid wastage. How can you ‘recycle’ food to be good for another meal?
  5. Shop with restraint. The temptation to hoard will always be there, but with a food plan your budget and conscience may be spared.

It’s also important to CONSULT with the whole household in planning your meal plan. However, buying nutritious and shelf-stable food is always a must. Here’s a guide to help you out.

HOUSEHOLD ESSENTIALS

With the hot summer days and the important chore of disinfecting whenever possible, make sure to stock up (NOT hoard) on the essentials. Other than being a first line of defense, a clean home makes a quarantine effective and comfortable. Here are some ways to save up on household items to sustain your WFH arrangement:

  1. Choose soaps with anti-viral properties. Given that choices are lean in the shelves nowadays, ensure that your soaps can both clean and protect.
  2. For your cleaning supplies like bleach and alcohol, check its alcohol content. Get one with at least 70% alcohol content.
  3. Buy enough only. The fleeting sense of security will vanish once you find out that your space is crammed from too much stuff.

 

UTILITY BILLS

Working from home has its own tag price, and you will feel it in your utility bills. From electricity to your data charges, here are utility bill saving tips for you during WFH:

  1. Remember your due dates. Though some companies have given consumers a reprieve (like this one), still pay your bills on time, especially if you can afford to do so.
  2. Be wary of excess data charges. Being online is essential to WFH – but this can easily to turn to WTH if your bills go unchecked. Buy bulk data plans to make sure you don’t go overboard or better yet, subscribe to an internet service provider with fixed monthly charges.
  3. Practice what our parents taught usturn off the lights when not in use, close the refrigerator door properly, and don’t let the water flow out the faucet endlessly.

 

Another way to make productive use of WFH extra time is to improve your whole financial portfolio. This means ensuring that you cover the basics – savings, an emergency fund, life insurance, and investment. There is a wealth of financial planning advice online. You can even start right here, on Sun Life’s website.

As a last note: if you have some left after the budget stretch: DONATE. From your local hospital or health institutions to numerous NGOs, your help will surely go a long way. Stay safe!

 

 

With contribution from Beron Mangosing

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