Now that dining and entertainment options are limited, you might find yourself with more money in your account than you’ve had in a while. You might be wondering about the best ways, places, and methods for saving that’ll set you up for a healthy financial future. After all, it’s still important to plan for the future, despite the current uncertainty. If you’re preparing to switch to online-only classes, you may be in an even better position to save some money. Whether you’re living in a dorm, college apartment, or spending time at home, there are plenty of ways to do so.

How to Pocket Away Money During COVID

Update your budget

Whenever you’re facing a major financial change, it’s important to take some time to update your budget. What worked for you a few months ago may not work anymore. Setting a budget and living within your means is one of the best ways to keep your finances on track and avoid any unwanted surprises.

Open a high-yield savings account

Instead of leaving your extra funds in a traditional savings or checking account, consider opening up a separate high-yield savings account. These kinds of accounts typically offer a higher interest rate than others that meet the national average. Any savings account that offers more than 1% in interest is worth considering. This is a great way to earn passive income and keep yourself from dipping into your cash reserves. You can use this account when you’re ready to build an emergency fund (if you don’t have one already).

Ask to have your car insurance premium reduced

With just about everyone on the road a little less this year, many car insurance companies have offered automatic discounts to accounts in good standing. If yours wasn’t one of them, call and see what they can do for you. You may be able to get up to 20% off of your car insurance premium if you let them know that your classes have moved online and you’re not driving as much anymore. If your insurance company won’t budge, take some time to compare your rate to others. Start by gathering quotes from three different insurance companies.

Be cautious with your windfalls

Birthday money, holiday money, tax returns, and the potential second economic stimulus check can all be put to good use. Instead of going on a shopping spree or ordering out all of your meals until you run out, use it to support your financial future. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t do something fun with your windfalls. Just decide on a percentage that works for you and leaves enough to pad your emergency fund, build your savings, or start investing.

Check in on your subscriptions

According to MarketWatch, 84% of people underestimate what they’re spending on digital subscriptions. Subscriptions are convenient but they’re some of the biggest budget busters. With extra time spent at home or in your dorm, you may want to hold on to some of your TV and movie streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. But instead of continuing to pay for them each month, see if your roommate, sibling, or a close friend would want to share an account with you instead. This way, you can save money by splitting the services, create separate accounts, and continue on as if nothing’s changed.

For subscriptions like magazines and makeup subscriptions, it may be wise to rethink these altogether. You can find many of these magazines online for free or at a great discount and makeup boxes tend to include sample sizes of things you’ll never order again anyway. You can save money by doing a little bit of research, scrolling through reviews, and purchasing only the beauty products that you know you’ll use.  

Learn how to meal prep

Speaking of costly and wasteful meal boxes, now that you’ve got some extra time, it may be a good idea to learn how to meal prep. Meal prepping isn’t nearly as intimidating as it sounds. Start small with a few meals you know you’ll enjoy, are cost-effective, and will keep well. Meal prepping will save you money by keeping you from overspending at the grocery store, wasting ingredients you thought you’d use but didn’t need, and it also helps you add structure to your meal schedule.