Between staying home all the time and fears of losing my job during a global pandemic, I was able to save a lot of money last year. Thankfully, I stayed employed throughout everything, and even managed to pay off all my credit card and student loan debt.
But now that the world is opening up and I’m vaccinated, I’ve definitely finding myself spending more money instead of saving it. I’ve been going out shopping and visiting with friends and family.
While I don’t want to go back to the isolation of 2020, I do want to continue to keep saving money a priority so that I can reach some of my other financial goals.
I’m thinking about continuing with online grocery ordering, so I’m not tempted by impulse buys at the store. Meal prep was also something I tried last year — and it really helped me limit my spending on restaurant food. I need to get back to that.
Doing free things outdoors with my kid is another money-saving habit that I plan to stick to. We’ve also gotten really good at recreating the movie theater experience at home with popcorn and snacks that don’t set me back 20 bucks.
I’m curious — have your spending habits also changed in recent months? Are there any habits you picked up during the pandemic that you plan to keep?
i have been saving every penny i made, because i work in a school part time and can not collect unemployment so i have to save, but i will say i booked a bus trip to a resort and i booked a ticket to a pocket book bingo just little things to get out and enjoy
My spending has changed as well! I saved everything I could during the pandemic for an emergency fund, etc. I bought a house 3 months before lockdown, and I even kept those house/household purchases to a minimum… Until last fall when my fiancé moved in and then we got married. I’m still a saver for sure, but spent more than I prefer. I am back to holding on to my money for most things.
I find I eat out less, and save money that way. I went back to cash envelopes for spending categories, and that keeps me on budget. This is probably the most significant- buying with cash. I spend noticeably less when I spend this way.
Same with the movies- even renting them at home and having snacks is less than going to the theatre. I cook more- purchased a cookbook and plan a few meals a week. And I hate cooking! But doing it helps A LOT. I purged my house and closet (sold much of the unwanted items) and continue to not bring things in. If I don’t LOVE it, I don’t get it. I find I am less sentimental about things.
The pandemic has been a ‘reset’ in so many areas in my life, including my finances.
Well, the conservative money habits were well established pre-pandemic so really very little change there.
Honestly, I did not really mind the isolation, it gave me an opportunity to adjust to retirement and to get away from some of the insanity in the world (some you cannot escape). Shut off the media and please, cancel 90% of the news and their alarm-ism. False news and spun interpretations abound. It was nice, less people about and off the roads, they stayed home. Now, they are back in full force and then some and are resistant to finding work and earning a living, they have become accustomed to being supported. Businesses are crying for help. The money for many is coming to them through unemployment & taxes. Fraudulent unemployment runs rampant because there are not enough people to handle the claims overload. Used to be you had to look for a job to collect unemployment, that was suspended. The money has to come from somewhere. And this is their response: stay home and collect. Ok, I am through with the rant.
I was also fortunate enough to keep my job through the pandemic. With that said, I was sure to double down on savings where I could. Because I wasn’t really going anywhere, all of my “fun” budget typically just went to savings.
Interestingly, I think I spent more on groceries this past year. Once I realized I wasn’t going to be leaving home for awhile, I started to get more into cooking. It was both a need and a form of entertainment for me.
I increased my HSA contributions — pandemic or no, my goal is to keep setting more aside for medical expenses. During the shutdown, I didn’t miss the extra money from my paycheck, so I’m trying to continue to “forget” about that money.
We drastically reworked the budget. Saved more. Spent less. Instead of hitting grocery sales in many stores we usually just hit Aldi. Saves gas. Simplifies meals. I baked bread until recently when it got super hot. Once it cools down, I’ll start up again. We eat out less. Cut hair at home. We purchased fewer clothes because we didn’t go anywhere. We’ll try to maintain most frugal habits, but now that yard sale season is in full bloom and things are open, we’ll be having fun on Saturdays…
Actually, I’ve gone from working at home to being back to work now. During that time frame, I lost a lot of weight. So I’ve actually had to replace clothing and shoes. I really don’t visit many of the stores I used to since the pandemic limited us. I’m going to stick with picking up groceries curbside and staying out of the store. I’m pretty intolerant of crowds now after not having to deal with them.