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28 ways to save money during the pandemic: groceries, laundry, entertainment

  electric bill

Alina Bradford / CNET

The pandemic of coronavirus affected us all in different ways, and loss of income is one of the most difficult to deal with. Fortunately, for many of us, quarantine also means more ways to save money ̵

1; whether it's reducing gas consumption while working from home, or simply because we eat out less quickly. A little careful planning could help you get that money out of the stimulus voucher a few weeks later. (And here's what we know about a possible second stimulus check .)

We've already written about all the free stuff you can get while you're at home, but here are 28 ways you can start cutting costs around the house now.

In the kitchen

Growing herbs: A bundle of herbs costs three or four dollars. Keeping a herb garden on your windowsill costs the same to get seeds but can yield herbs for months.

Don't buy bottled water: Bottled water seems cheap, but it gets expensive quickly. Take a seat for a filter and you can use tap water. It is cheaper over time and it is also better for the environment.

Make your own coffee: It goes without saying, but those everyday Americans can easily withdraw part of your bank account. Instead use a coffee maker or French press for coffee. For ideas, here's how to imitate better iced coffee dalgona coffee and Starbucks favorites .

Throw almost spoiled vegetables in the freezer: Buy vegetables and then choose the tastier frozen meals, while the leafy vegetables were a weekly ritual in our house. Then we started throwing almost spoiled vegetables in the freezer to use for smoothies. It cut our weekly waste to a minimum. Here are more tips for to keep your refrigerator food fresh longer .

Keep your freezer full: Speaking of freezers, if you keep your freezer full, it will work more efficiently and use less energy to keep the contents cold.

Keep your dishwasher full too: Half loads of dishes is a quick way to waste water and detergent.

Break out that Dutch oven: It could be a Dutch oven or a slow cooker of any kind, but cooking in bulk really helps to reduce the costs associated with more individual meals.

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This meal consisted only of leftover vegetables and yogurt to be used.

David Priest / CNET

Eat Leftovers: This is not so much a tip as a choice. Save your leftovers and don't give yourself the excuse not to eat them. It will drive your dollar much further.

Be Selective in Organic Food: Organic food can be pricey, and ethically grown meat is even more expensive. So make sure the most problematic products are organic to avoid pesticides and hormones, and get the standard price for the rest of your shopping list.

In the laundry room

Hang up your clothes: My wife and I have spent our quarantine time trying to exercise as much as possible, and that means a lot more than usual. Save energy by drying it. (Besides, no one will notice your slightly wrinkled shirt.)

Washing with cold water: Another way to save costs is washing with cold water. Unless you have severe stains or odors you're trying to get rid of, most clothes can be cold-washed without a problem.

Lower the temperature on the boiler: Check the water temperature while we are talking about the water temperature. In general, the temperature does not need to exceed 120 degrees, and higher temperatures involve higher costs.

Replace Filters: It's not just the inefficiency of your water heater that will cost you money; your HVAC system can burn a hole in your wallet if you have not recently replaced the filter.

Fill up the whole laundry: Pack your washing machine really, because you are going to use the same water as well. You can use it as much as you can.

Paying Bills

Switching Credit Cards: If you spend a lot of money on Whole Foods or on travel, consider specific credit cards
that offers the best rewards for your current spending habits.

Use a budgeting app: One of the most difficult parts of budgeting is becoming aware of our spending habits. Using a budgeting app like Mint is a great way to see exactly how your impulse purchases really determine your monthly budget.

Use coupons: Coupons are basically like cash. When you buy things online, a 30-second search for coupons often gives you 10% or more.

Pay bills online: There are few things I hate more than late bill fees. Setting up autopay on your electricity and water bills helps avoid those unnecessary costs, and they also eliminate the need for paper invoice shipping.

Unsubscribe from services: While you are thinking about accounts, check services you have subscribed to – be they streamers like Netflix or other services like fitness apps. If you haven't used one in a month, cancel it. You can always restart it in a few minutes if you change your mind. Here are 10 great free movie streaming alternatives .

For entertainment

Use online library resources: If you have a library card, your public library is likely to offer many free online services such as ebooks or even streaming services. Give them a chance.

View Project Gutenberg: Project Gutenberg is a great online resource for ebooks and offers over 60,000. You can read more about it and other ways to download and read free books .

Watch Free HBO Shows: HBO and other streamers offer free selections from their libraries to people trapped during the pandemic. View your options (and other free entertainment ideas) here .

Go Out: Don't sound like a 90s dad, but go out! It's a free way to alternate the day, get some exercise, and remind yourself that your bedroom isn't the whole world. Here are tips to practice safely outside during the pandemic .

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I set up a backyard garden with some old boards I found in the shed, $ 20 chicken wire and a few handfuls of seeds

David Priest / CNET

Start a garden: While outside, think of to start a garden . If you have a backyard, you can avoid a lot of the up-front cost of an elevated bed and simply plant seeds in the ground. You can get enough seeds for under $ 20, and that translates to much more than $ 20 in food in the coming months.

Build a Compost Bin : OK, this is a longer term investment, but building a garden can be difficult and expensive if you start from scratch. Now if you throw your food waste into a compost bin, you don't need to buy tons of fertilizer or expensive soil for your garden next year. In addition, composting is another good way to help the environment . Here's how to get started

Other tips at home

Dress for the temperature: Working from home unfortunately means that adjusting the "office thermostat" now directly affects your monthly bills. So adjust it less and dress comfortably for the temperature. After all, no one is there to judge you for wearing sweat.

Change direction: Most ceiling fans have a small switch that changes the direction in which they rotate. In the summer, turn the fan counterclockwise so that it blows air at you. This can help prevent the need for more air conditioning.

Use energy efficient lamps: LED lamps cost more to buy, but in the long run they do reduce electricity costs . If the lights in your house burn out, switch.

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