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15 productive or profitable ways to spend your time during quarantine

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These are unprecedented times - but you don't need us to remind you of that, do you? There is no escaping the constant news stream and ongoing updates about the COVID-19 outbreak. 

It's a lot to adjust to and everyone is impacted in some way, shape or form, which is causing a lot of anxiety and mental unrest. If you are struggling a little and you are not quite sure how to move forward, here are some suggestions to help you spend your time positively and productively, and even save some money along the way. 

1. Get those niggly jobs done. Need to update those faulty blinds in the bathroom? Been meaning to replace the broken light in the hallway for two months? Write a list of all those niggly little jobs that need doing around the house and feel the satisfaction of ticking them off. You may be able to order the things you need online. 

2. Cull your wardrobe. This is the perfect time to 'Marie Kondo' your closet and get rid of all the things you no longer wear or have use for. 

3. While you are at it, clear out all your cupboards. You don't have to do it all at once: attack each room, one drawer or cupboard at the time. Sort things into piles to bin, donate and sell. 

4. Tidy up the shed and garage. If you have gone this far and you have spring cleaned the inside of your home, then turn your attention to the outdoors. It is amazing how refreshed you feel after a thorough clean and a run to the tip... and then:

5. Sell, sell sell. Many household items can have a decent re-sale value. Everything from DVDs and small appliances to furniture, baby goods and sporting equipment can fetch a great price on your local buy sell swap group on Facebook or Gumtree. People can pull up the front of your house to collect goods after paying online, so no need to make contact while you transform your unwanted goods into cash. 

6. Get on top of your to-do list. Use your downtime wisely to plan and get organised. It feels grim and serious right now but without sounding flippant - this too shall pass - and a little work now could see you come out of the other side in fighting fit shape. 

7. Catch up on podcasts. If you have not dipped your toe into the world of podcasts yet, this could be the ideal time to subscribe to two or three interesting shows. They range in length from 10 minutes to 2 hours, and you can tune into everything from celebrity shows to true-crime stories to tutorials and special interest categories. The Apple podcast platform currently lists 750,000 shows and growing!

8. Start daydreaming. The borders may be closed right now, but they won't be forever, why not plan your next few years' worth of holidays? You can't go anywhere any time soon, but you can daydream, plan, price and research your dream trip so you have something to look forward to. 

9. Be clear on your budget. If you don't already have a clear budget, which can be as simple as a spreadsheet that tracks your spending, then there is no time like the present to put one together. The team at Zippy can provide you with a budget spreadsheet if you would like one. Email us here.

10. Trim your bills. Some of your regular outgoings may have been suspended already, such as gym memberships. But you'll profit a pretty penny by setting aside an afternoon and calling every bill provider you have, such as electricity, gas, insurance and Foxtel. Negotiate to get their best price and enquire about payment plans to smooth out your bigger expenses like energy and council rates. 

11. Review your home loan. If you are paying a mortgage, you need to be having a conversation with your bank. You can either negotiate a cheaper interest rate or you may want to look at refinancing to access some equity, move to an interest only loan, and perhaps enjoy a cash rebate: some lenders offer up to $4,000 when you refinance. Our team can take a look at your current loan and see what options are available for you

12. Keen to renovate? With the economy and employment uncertain, many of us are putting the pause on non-essential home renovations right now. But if you are dreaming of a new bathroom, refreshed kitchen or upgraded outdoor area down the track, use this quarantine time wisely to start researching costs, materials and options. 

13. Start planning your social calendar. There are a number of celebratory times in our immediate future: Good Friday, Easter, Mother's Day, along with birthdays and anniversaries. Just because you can't plan parties and gatherings, does not mean we have to give up celebrating altogether. We can plan online video shindigs where we all order takeaways and post gifts in the mail; try to shop local and support local restaurants where you can. 

14. Plan for Christmas early. I know, I know, it's still more than 8 months away. But if you order online and support local retailers where you can now, this will help keep their cash flow now and keep them in business - and you are all organised for Christmas, months in advance. 

15. Keep yourselves busy and be productive. Do whatever it takes to keep yourself busy, so you can keep your mind off things and also feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. How good does it feel to do that spring clean - especially if you make a little money from your efforts!

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