Thousands of people are finding themselves locked in their homes, streaming Netflix, looking up new or long-time unused recipes, planning and cooking meals (some haven’t done that in years), organizing closets, video chatting with friends and sharing jokes on Facebook about the Corona Virus.  What if we took that time to do some things that could actually help our wallet?

Here are some things you can do during this time at home to beef up your pockets:

     1.  Take a look

Not knowing where you are financially is like taking a trip to a city or town where you’ve never been and trying to get there without directions.  The first step in evaluating where you are financially is KNOWING where you are with your money.  There is a very quick and easy way to determine this.  Pour yourself a cup of coffee and sit down with a notebook and a pen or pencil.  Make a list of ALL the money you having coming in every month and a list of ALL the money you have going out (utility bills, rent/mortgage, medicine, insurance, etc).  Be sure to include EVERY area where you spend.  This includes entertainment and dining out.  Once you have your list, you can possibly identify areas where spending could be reduced if not cut out altogether.  Voila!  Instant raise.

     2.  Make it a family affair

We all have it…tons of loose change dropped in various places around the house.  The car cup holder, hiding in bowls of odds & ends where other small things have accumulated and some of us even have huge change jars that have been building for years.  Counting and rolling loose change could be a fun way to create some family time.  You might be surprised just how many DOLLARS you have in coins.  You can make a fun game of this activity.  Have your kids go on a hunt for loose change.  Tell them the one who finds the most is the “winner”.  Assembling everyone around the table to sort coins creates more quality family time than watching TV!  Once the coins are sorted, counting is a great opportunity for kids to practice their math!

Tip:  Be sure to check with your bank before taking in your rolled coins for exchange.  Some banks charge a fee to change rolled coins to cash.  Each bank has its own policy.

       3.  Look around your house…

We all have things tucked away in our basements or attics that we know we’ll never use again.  But just because we don’t use it any longer doesn’t mean that someone else wouldn’t love to have it!  Enough so that they may be willing to pay you for it.  Do you have an old exercise bike, a treadmill or musical instrument?  The list of potential sale items is endless.  The average adult has purchased at least a dozen previously used products in the last year and felt a “buzz” from bagging a bargain, according to a survey. Overall almost nine in 10 adults said they happily bought used items, with one in eight claiming to get more satisfaction from buying second hand versus brand new.  A few hours spent out of a day during quarantine could help you uncover some potential sale items in your home.  There are many buy/sell groups on Facebook where you can post your items.  This is an excellent way to generate some extra dollars while at the same time de-cluttering your home!

*Be sure to follow rules of social distancing if you are meeting someone for the sale of an item

     4.  Think about how you are spending your time…

With so much down time on our hands we are turning to more TV, web surfing and of course, scrolling our Facebook news feeds.  What does this mean?  It means we are experiencing MUCH more exposure to advertisements.  This creates that “itch to buy”.  We are possibly “buying out of boredom” these days.  So far this year, Amazon stock has gained 23.6%!  How much of that increase would have occurred during “normal” spending patterns?

Certainly this virus situation has our normal buying habits turned upside down.  The best way to avoid “boredom spending” is to find other ways to spend your time.  Here, we can refer back to #1 in this article.  Time is the one investment that pays in equal proportions as to how you spend it.  Our best advice is to spend your time wisely, and in doing so, you will spend your money the same way.

In closing, we want to encourage you to make the most of your downtime.  Coming out of quarantine with a few more dollars in your pocket would be a fantastic way to end the lock down!

In the meantime, stay strong, stay safe and STAY AT HOME!