9 Tips to Save You Money During Covid 19

If your income drops, it’s important to reduce expenses.

Has your income dropped or stopped because of the Covid 19 pandemic?

Mine has. As the manager of Private Ubud Villas and working for commission, when the tourists fled Bali back in March, my income decreased by about 80%. To avoid eating away at savings, I looked at ways to reduce my spending and save money.

Here’s what I did.

1. I turned off roaming on my phone.

Managing the villas, I’d needed email and WhatsApp contact wherever I went. Clients expected immediate responses, but they no longer contacted me to book villas, just to cancel. No one expected immediate responses. I was spending $50 a month on roaming and turned off this service. If I went out to a café, I connected to their free Wi-Fi. This one change saved me $50 a month.

2. I make our pet food.

My four rescue dogs were eating $180 worth of wet dog food every month. I cancelled my standing order and made my own. I now buy meat and vegetables from the market, boil it up and store it in the fridge. Twice a day I combine some of it with rice and feed the dogs. They line up for their meals and have never eaten so well. Their wet food now costs me $60 a month, so this is a saving of $120. I still buy their dry food and snacks, but I’m looking at ways to reduce these costs.

3. I cancelled some automatic payments.

I suppose we all have automatic payments that come out of our bank account annually or monthly. Maybe it’s for newspaper or magazine subscriptions, donations to charities, association fees, memberships, website charges or insurances. I scanned my e-statements to see which of these payments I’d cancel. I found one annual subscription for a program I never used and another monthly payment to an association I was no longer involved in. Cancelling both saved me $20 a month.

4. I reduced coffee shop visits.

My local coffee shop is two doors away from my office and nearly daily, I visited it for a coffee and to catch up with friends. It closed for six weeks when we locked down here, but opened again mid-May. Recovering from cancer and chemotherapy, and with a compromised immune system, I take social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing seriously. It was a good time to reduce my visits to once a week. Coffee’s only $2 a cup, (This is Bali.) but over a month with 15 fewer coffees, I save about $30.

5. I changed Wi-Fi and cable TV suppliers.

My internet provider also offered a cable package, and I’d signed up for both. Relying on the internet more, my dissatisfaction with erratic internet speeds grew. I asked friends, did some on-line research, and finally settled on a new supplier. Instead of 10mbps, my new supplier offers 75mbps and their range of cable channels is equivalent. Best of all, this improved service is $15 a month cheaper.

6. I changed the way I shopped.

I was buying my fruit and vegetables from the supermarket. I asked friends where they bought their produce and a few recommended a local market a few kilometers away. It opens from 6am to 9am daily: the produce on display, everyone wears masks and they comply with social distancing requirements. I now go there twice a week. At the same markets, I buy the meat and vegetables for the dog food. Instead of spending about $80 a month on fruit and vegetables, I spend only half saving $40.

7. I now use free communication apps.

There are so many of these apps, but I was still making normal local phone calls and paying for the privilege. Now I only use WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, Google meet and more. I’m already paying for my WiFi, so I now use all these free apps and save.

8. I organised book swaps or trades.

I’m an avid reader and prefer paperbacks to e-reads. I’m also a bit of a book hoarder. Ganesha Book Shop is my second-hand book outlet. I can return books to them and receive a credit for half what I paid. Today I returned six books, selected three more and paid $1. I also have a book swap club with friends. Through WhatsApp we organise the books to pass on and receive. A friend does the drop off exchanges every few weeks. No money changes hands and we all keep reading.

9. I planted something to eat or trade.

We grow passion fruit, papayas, basil, mint and tomatoes. We only have a small garden, but the little we produce is delicious. If you have a larger garden, you could plant summer salad-vegetables, or a crop of pumpkins. Don’t you just love pumpkin soup?


With little effort I made the above changes and trimmed $275 from my monthly expenses. I could have been more aggressive, but I started with savings that don’t really hurt. I suggest you do the same. It’s important to be kind to yourself in these tough times.

Additional Tips.

Here are a couple more tips that I haven’t tried as they don’t relate to my situation, but they could be useful for you.

  • Check Electricity suppliers and see if you can get a better deal from an alternate supplier. We only have one supplier in Bali. You can also do this for your insurance policies. It’s a competitive world and you might get cheaper deals.
  • When you need a new outfit, you could check out clothing in goodwill and charity shops. If you go to a charity shop in one of the more elite suburbs, you are likely to find brand name clothing at great prices.
  • You might be doing it hard, but you can be sure many people are doing it harder. Now’s the time to clean out your cupboards and pantries and see what you can give away to charity.

What cost-saving measures have you tried? I’d love to hear your ideas and to learn from you.

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4 thoughts on “9 Tips to Save You Money During Covid 19”

  1. These are all great tips. Another money saver is to limit eating out – much the same as reducing your coffee shop habit. Cooking at home with local produce can save a bundle. Then restaurant dining becomes a real treat to look forward to rather than a cash-draining, guilty pleasure. I do better some weeks than others!

    1. Now that eating out is allowed again, I’m hooked, but we go for affordable, deserted deals.

  2. Hi Steve

    Great ideas…I have a herb garden and some fruit trees…hopefully back in Ubud one day Take care Ken

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