How to save money during coronavirus

Takeout, subscription services and these spending habits to consider cutting to save money now

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With the unemployment rate at a record high amid the coronavirus pandemic, saving every penny counts now more than ever.

Consumer spending plunged a record 7.5 percent in March, according to the Commerce Department, not shocking considering the stay-at-home orders in place and the increase in jobless claims. Personal income also dropped by 2 percent, according to the Commerce Department, the biggest decline in seven years as companies reduce worker hours and cut compensation.

Consumer spending plunged a record 7.5 percent in March, according to the Commerce Department. 

Despite the grim economic outlook there are ways to save while staying home more. Here are the best places to start:

Reduce takeout consumption 

Before COVID-19, Americans dined out 5.9 times per week, on average. And the average cost of eating a meal at a restaurant costs $36.40 per person, according to a Zagat survey.

So if eaters consumed food at home for a full week, they could save around $182 a week just on restaurant food.

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And when it comes to grocery shopping to make meals at home, be sure you’re getting the best possible deal on produce and other items. The app Basket will compare prices for items on your grocery list at stores like Walmart, Kroger and Target.

Cancel unused subscriptions 

The average American spends $237 per month on subscription services on Netflix or other streaming platforms, clothing rental services, on-demand fitness or other media, according to a 2018 report from Chicago-based consulting firm West Monroe Partners.

So combing through your credit card bill and flagging services that you don’t use on a daily basis could be a good place to start to save hundreds per month.

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Shop smarter 

When you do need to buy essential items like food, household goods or medicine, use coupon services or apps that reward you for every dollar spent so you’re making money back in the process.

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MyPoints, a rewards app, gives users up to 40 percent back at 2,000 retailers like Walmart, Amazon and Home Depot. And Rakuten, another cash-back shopping site and app for online shoppers, will also give up to 40 percent back on purchases from more than 2,500 retailers. Participants will receive a check in the mail as soon as they hit $5.

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