How to save money during the pandemic, according to finance guru Nicole Lapin
With the coronavirus putting a damper on social gatherings — from international travel to dining out — there’s never been a better time to save.
Simple steps from rethinking subscriptions to negotiating bills can help consumers shore up their finances even as the pandemic ravages the economy, personal finance guru Nicole Lapin tells The Post.
“We cannot control the global economy, we can only control ourselves and our own little economies,” Lapin said.
One key step: Start saving some of the money you’d normally spend on little luxuries.
In normal times, Lapin recommends putting 70 percent of your budget toward essentials like food and housing, saving or investing 15 percent, and using 15 percent for “extras.”
But she now says that model should be tweaked by cutting the essentials to 65 percent and the extras to just 5 percent, “because you can’t buy the latte or get the mani-pedi anyway.” The rest should be saved, she said.
“It is a rainy day — in fact, it’s pouring,” Lapin told The Post. “If you’re using your rainy day fund, that’s OK, don’t feel guilty about it. But now it’s time to replenish it.”
If you’re struggling to cover an expense, Lapin says, it doesn’t hurt to ask for help. All major bills are negotiable if you call and ask for a discount, she said.
“The worst thing they can say is no,” Lapin said. “They will likely throw you a bone versus losing you as a customer.” It’s also a good idea to automate bill payments to avoid nasty late fees, she added.
Now is also a good time to rethink subscriptions you no longer need while you’re hunkered down at home, Lapin says. For instance, she said, consider canceling your cable if you’re watching more Netflix anyway, or use WiFi on your cellphone to cut back on wireless data usage.
The same goes for credit cards. Hotel or airline rewards cards were “awesome in pre-corona times,” but they may not make sense now that no one’s traveling, according to Lapin. You can also negotiate credit card interest rates just like bills, she said.
“Right now you’re probably going to want to look for something that’s more geared toward your spending habits and useful for stuff like groceries,” she said.
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