So the COVID-19 wage supplement has been extended to March, keeping us afloat for another couple of months.
Whilst that’s certainly a decision to be commended, there’s no denying the fact that the income is only marginally higher than minimum wage. Now many might think that this means they’ll have to start living paycheck to paycheck – but that’s not necessarily the case.
That’s why we’ve thought up a couple of ways to help you make the most of your wage supplement whilst still living the life you’re used to. Here we go!
1. Eat breakfast
We get how this might seem counterintuitive, but eating breakfast is a great way to stop yourself from spending an unthinkable amount of money on food later on in the day.
Stock up on cheap but nutritious foods, like oats, nuts, and fruits, and whip up some quick yet filling breakfasts to keep hunger at bay throughout the rest of the day. Overnight oats, for example, can be made in bulk during the weekend and will easily last you a good couple of days.
2. Quit smoking
You’ve probably grown tired of hearing about the health risks smoking poses, but the sheer financial burden that this habit comes with is often overlooked.
To put things into perspective – if you smoke two packs of cigarettes per week, quitting the habit would save you at least €520 per year. Now let’s be honest, quitting nicotine isn’t exactly a walk in the park, so make sure you build a support system, do extensive research, and make a long-term plan before you kick the habit.
3. Track your purchases
Thanks to the recent popularisation of financial tracking applications, keeping a close eye on your transactions is easier than ever.
Revolut for example isn’t just about quick and user-friendly payments. Transferring most of your funds onto this nifty application will allow you to generate clear insight into what purchases are costing you the most, month by month. Once you become aware of this information, it will be far simpler to restrain your spending in certain areas.
4. Sell your extra stuff
Technology and the pandemic have made car-boot sales a thing of the past – but that doesn’t mean that getting rid of your old stuff has gotten any harder.
Rather, with the rise of local and international e-commerce platforms (think Facebook Marketplace and MaltaPark), selling anything from old books to electronics is faster than ever. Also, no matter how trivial and useless your ‘extra’ stuff might seem, don’t hesitate to put it up for sale – there will almost always be someone looking for just that.
5. Go through your wardrobe
Most of us are guilty of having a never-ending stockpile of clothes we’ve practically never worn. Not only does this contribute to the unsustainable fast-fashion industry, but it also costs us way more money than it should.
For starters, going through your old clothes might surprise you. That shirt you bought online a couple of years ago that wasn’t in the right size might fit you like a glove now. Stuff that you thought looked outdated last year might be coming back into fashion today. At the very worst, you can always put your old clothes up for sale and make some extra dough. So next time you’re thinking of setting off on yet another shopping spree, do yourself a favour and take a deep look into your wardrobe.
6. Plan grocery shops
An empty stomach is probably your wallet’s worst enemy. Undertaking your weekly grocery run whilst hungry will have you buying way more food than you need – and most of it will end up going bad before you can even get your hands on it.
Apart from this, make sure to plan ahead what meals you’ll be cooking up throughout the week. This will make it far easier to write up a well-thought-out list of products you will actually need. And whilst we’re at it – don’t hesitate to get your hands on generic alternatives of products you’re used to buying. Oftentimes, the price difference is surprising and taste is pretty much the same.
7. Cook your own food
Cooking can seem like a daunting task to undertake, but believe us when we say that once you get into it, not only will it save you tonnes of money, but it can also turn into a quasi-therapeutic activity.
Every time you order lunch at work, you’ll easily find yourself spending at least €10 on a dish that could easily be replaced by a home-made meal. This might not seem like a lot of money, but ordering food on the daily will quickly turn it into your biggest monthly expense. We suggest finding some fun YouTube cooking tutorials that will get you inspired to kick off a lifelong relationship with the craft.
8. Cancel unnecessary subscriptions
Monthly subscriptions might seem cheap – but they certainly can rack up a hefty bill after a couple of months. It’s easy to get roped into paying for services month after month, but chances are you’ll forget about them after a couple of weeks.
Do your funds a favour and periodically go through your bank statement to identify what subscriptions you’re still paying for. Being aware of that is the first step towards ridding yourself of unnecessary expenses. After that, simply ask yourself whether you use such services enough to warrant that sort of payment.
9. Remove card numbers from online accounts
Credit and debit cards singlehandedly brought a whole new level of comfort to the shopping game – and believe it or not, that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Having your card details saved in your browser eliminates streamlines your transactions, leaving you with little to no time to think twice about whether you actually should go through with that purchase. As a rule of thumb, before checking out, stop for ten seconds and ask yourself whether you actually need that €500 Hermes scarf.