ASK ASA: Has the pandemic cut your income? Try these money saving strategies

It seems like there are a million ways to spend money, but far fewer ways to save it. Experts frequently echo the same message: Try to save the most on the things you use the most.

First up, your phone service.

“The biggest mistake people make when they’re thinking about the cell phone service is just accepting what their cell phone company says is true. So, you know, mobile data costs $80 a month. Does it really? It doesn’t have to. You’re told you need unlimited mobile data. Do you really? Maybe, but not necessarily,” said Andrew Moore-Crispin, director of content at Ting, a mobile virtual network provider.

“Really look at how you use your phone. Look at your bill. See what you’re being charged for. What is this fee? How much mobile data am I using? Once you get a sense of what you’re paying for, you’re in a much better position as a customer.”

When money gets tight, it’s easy to get over dependent on credit cards. It’s a financial trap that can swallow you whole, as Megan Horner, credit cards publisher at, explained.

“My biggest tip right now for credit cards during the pandemic is if you’re experiencing financial trouble because you’ve had job lost or are just having a negative financial impact because of the pandemic, call your credit card provider and talk to the company.

“It never hurts to ask. Companies are working with people right now, specifically around their financial situations. So you can see what they can do to help you. The idea here is don’t ignore your credit card bill and don’t pay it late. Make sure you address it and call them directly,” she said.

Think of a budget as a clear guide to get you from point a to b. Just like a good map, it helps you navigate potential pitfalls along the way.

Richard Reeve, director of financial education at the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Savannah area, said all of us should be doing a priority or a crisis budget.

“It’s really pairing back to the basics, remembering your household needs first. So make sure your food or utilities, your transportation and your shelter are paid first. We usually suggest a three month priority budget, pairing back all non-essentials. It can be really helpful to do small things to give ourselves back a feeling of control,” he said.

Speaking of control, let’s talk about some costly indulgences. Do you drink alcohol? Cut back just a little and save $30 to $50 dollars a month.

How about smoking? While quitting can be hard, cutting back is manageable and will put lots of cash in your pocket.

Another — what some call it the biggest vice of our age — television. Do you really need 104 channels? Look at economizing your cable service.

If there’s one thing on the increase it’s the cost of groceries. In my next report I will show you some effective ways to stretch your food budget.

While the covid-19 crisis continues, we remain ready to solve your problems and address your concerns. Write me here at WJCL-TV:

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