Do you regularly hail rides through apps like Uber and Lyft, rent properties from people sharing their homes on sites like Airbnb, or book your baby-sitters through sites like Care.com? If so, you may be in the half of Americans who are using shared services often. The “gig economy” offers opportunities to save money and to purchase services easily from others. Try these tips to help make the gig economy work better for you:
According to the latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index, more than half of Americans are using streaming, ride-hailing, home-sharing or maintenance services at least once a week, and one quarter are using them every single day. For the majority, the cost is nominal – less than $50 per month, but 14 percent have no idea how much they’re spending.
If you’re regularly taking Uber rides or booking weekend stays on Airbnb, be sure to budget for those expenses. Rides may seem inexpensive, but they add up fast! Add up the total amount you’ve spent on shared services for the last month, and see if you need to cut back.
Purchasing a service in the gig economy may actually be saving you money. If so, what will you do with the dollars you save? Paying down debt, saving toward an emergency fund or your retirement can keep you on track with your financial goals.
3. Share wisely
According to the COUNTRY Financial Security Index, rides and homes aren’t the only things Americans are sharing often. Almost half (47 percent) are also sharing their logins and passwords for streaming and shopping accounts like Netflix, Hulu, Costco and Amazon Prime.
If you’re paying the bill and sharing your accounts with others, make sure you can afford it. Ask family and friends to pitch in to lessen the burden on your finances.
The sharing economy can be a quick and easy way to find what you need, when you need it – almost too easy! Be intentional with how you use them to get the best bang for your buck.