People are now facing uncertain times. During this pandemic, no one is spared–jobs, businesses, and livelihoods are affected. A large chunk of these individuals are those sole proprietors who started their own businesses or offer their services through freelance work.
As some employees are being laid off, many of them go home with certain benefits and severance payments which are a cushion of support despite having no income. However, the self-employed are left without that advantage. Thus, they need to make adjustments when it comes to their expenses.
In this post, well-known financial company Neon Funding shares how self-employed individuals manage their expenses as the COVID-19 crisis is continuing to strike.
Neon Funding Shares How The Self Employed Are Adjusting Their Spending During the Pandemic
At present, many small business owners and freelancers take advantage by having multiple streams of income through the gig economy. Whether it’s working remotely, using delivery services to sell, or transferring their businesses in a platform where it cannot be affected by external factors–there are many ingenious ways to reinvent how people find ways to earn an income.
There’s another side to that coin as well. Self-employed individuals can also modify their expenses temporarily, at least until the economy is affected during the pandemic. Here are some viable strategies that most people have already done.
Buying frozen food in bulk
Now that fresh vegetables, fruits, and even meat appear to be a rare commodity, the self-employed have now started to invest more of their basic groceries towards frozen food. There are many benefits to buying bulk frozen food:
- Frozen vegetables can go a long way: Although not as crisp or tasty as fresh vegetables, the frozen variant is an excellent alternative to still receive nutritional value without the cost. Some frozen vegetable packs can cost a dollar each, and these could last for about 4-5 servings for the family. Adding them in soups and stir-fries can still make them as tasty as fresh vegetables.
- Frozen meat lasts longer than fresh variants: You may be worried about the preservative content of frozen meat, but there are actually pre-packaged types of meat that can save you time and money. For example, you can find flavored frozen wings or meatballs which can last longer than if you were to make them from scratch.
Canceling unnecessary subscriptions
According to Neon Funding, the pandemic gave the self-employed time to fully evaluate their monthly expenses, such as subscriptions.
Nowadays, many services offer monthly payments to provide entertainment or convenience in the form of technology. The most popular ones include Netflix, Youtube, or Amazon Prime subscriptions. As people try to cut down costs, they may filter out any subscriptions that they feel aren’t serving many purposes for their basic needs.
The downside of subscriptions is that their payments are always recurring–thus, a great way for the self-employed to save money is to find subscriptions that aren’t dynamic. What this means is that if there are programs or apps that don’t provide additional value per each month of subscription, maybe it’s time to change into another service which only requires a one-time payment.
In other instances, it can be best to just cancel the entire subscription if you can’t find any necessary purpose for continuing it.
Comparing insurance and cell phone providers
Another way to cut costs during the pandemic is to switch to insurance and cell phone service providers that fit your current budget.
Perhaps the stimulus check you received doesn’t match your previous monthly earnings pre-COVID-19. Therefore, it is wise to eliminate any extra costs from your insurance and cell phone providers as they are also recurring payments.
The great thing is that many companies are now cutting premiums in consideration for self-employed individuals and employees who are currently laid off from their previous job. Nevertheless, it is good to still compare providers that cover your utmost needs, but still fits the budget you have for now.
Avoiding takeout and choosing home cooking instead
This could be related to groceries, but it’s an entirely different concept on its own. Although it is good to support small businesses and local restaurants, you shouldn’t be doing it when your financial security is at stake.
As much as possible, limit your takeout orders and only do them on special occasions or when there’s no other choice. A creative way to still make delicious meals is to find “copycat” recipes on the internet and make them on your own. It’s much cheaper, and you will avoid the middlemen costs such as delivery and premiums placed especially now that the restaurant businesses are also struggling.
Investing on high level skills
Some self-employed individuals may have earned a living doing simple tasks such as deliveries, food preparation, or other sorts of tasks with a low barrier of entry. Now that the influx of these workers come by the thousands as many are displaced due to unemployment, perhaps it is time for self-employed individuals to also develop higher-level skills that will create for them a bigger income in the long run.
For example, websites such as Udemy, Coursera, or edX offer courses that teach marketable skills both for remote employment or starting a digital business. Even if you don’t plan to change your self-employment path, you may also integrate these skills in expanding your business. For example, if your business doesn’t have its own website just yet, you may use your extra time to learn skills in digital marketing or web development to increase your market and future sales.
Many attest to investing in oneself as the path to financial independence. When you take time to harness knowledge and skills that could make you a better entrepreneur, that opens up many doors for more profitable opportunities.
Adjusting Strategies for Changing Times
Self-employed individuals are naturally flexible and resilient. With these strategies in mind, they can truly succeed in spending less and making more income for themselves.