In more ways, than we’d all like to admit, the global pandemic has forced us to completely halt or postpone plans. Vacations and personal endeavors have had to shift based on current circumstances. As we spend more time at home, our grocery bills are adding up while many are losing their income. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the pandemic has created a space for us to prioritize what we truly enjoy. Spending much needed time with family and picking up new (or abandoned) hobbies have somewhat centered us in what seems a chaotic whirlwind. We’ve been forced to slow down and be more mindful of our spending habits while evaluating our finances through a pandemic-themed lens. If you need help with quieting the storm in your life and your finances, use the tips below to regain your financial footing.
Monitor your online usage
Working from home, wrapping up what’s turned into homeschool with the kids and our normal online surfing increased the time we’re staring at our electronic devices. Checking emails is a harmless task in itself, but if your inbox is flooded with marketing buzzwords like ‘sale’ and ‘50% off’ – it generates the following thoughts: “well, it’s on sale”, “it’s not that bad” and “I can’t let this deal pass”. Before you know it, you will be getting packages at your house each day. If you’re noticing your purchases no longer are being few and far between, unsubscribe from the emails that entice you to spend unnecessarily – or derail your financial goals. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with recognizing personal weak points and establishing boundaries to maintain your financial focus. Thanks to the advances in technology, most cell phones now have the ability to track your phone and app usage. Set time limits and give your brain the time it needs to recover each day.
Evaluate your spending habits during boredom
If your debit or credit card could talk, what would it say about you? Does takeout food dominate your monthly statements? If food isn’t your culprit, maybe it’s the random influx of online orders. No matter your preference, take the time to evaluate where your money goes when boredom strikes. If you’re unable to catch yourself in the act, review your purchases from the past few weeks. Since trips and other luxuries we may have had in the past are now on hold, internally we may feel there’s more room for mini shopping sprees. Just like with anything else, too much of a good thing causes more harm than good. Can you recall any impulse, random or unneeded purchases? Now more than ever, it’s important to highlight that. So many life variables can change in the blink of an eye. Income, employment status, and unexpected, unplanned expenses have the ability to be proactively countered when money is spent more thoughtfully.
Save just as much (if not more) than what you spend
Outside of the general overhead expenses such as a mortgage, utility bills, car payments, and household needs, how much are you really spending each month? There’s no fault in spending your money on things you enjoy, but it becomes unbalanced once your possessions hold more value than what’s in the savings account. Don’t be afraid to be more stringent with your finances during these times – and beyond. If 2020 didn’t teach us anything else, it illuminated a huge spotlight on how vital it is to save as much as possible. For the record, saving doesn’t have to be boring. There are many savings challenges that you can begin at any time. Rally the help of friends and family to make this a fun and positive experience. Having accountability partners throughout this process can provide the extra push that’s needed to make sure you all can not only collectively achieve them but surpass your own expectations.
Explore new investment opportunities
Let’s turn some of your internet use into something productive! Do a quick search and pinpoint a few ways you’re able to invest safely and within your personal comfort level. If you want to learn more about real estate, carve out some time to educate yourself on that. You might find the stock market intriguing so consider reading tips to help provide some guardrails to embark on that journey. If your employer offersa retirement plan, this is also a great time to look into your investment portfolio. Does the current mix still meet your needs? Are there things you would like to change based on your findings? Agents are still available to consult you online or via phone to make any adjustments. No matter where your interests lie, we all could afford to increase our knowledge in ways that positively contribute to our bottom line. As mentioned earlier, we need to do something that actually helps and not harms us in our sparetime.
Don’t lose your steam once the dust settles
As states are lifting stay-at-home orders, it’s imperative you don’t completely dismiss the new habits that have been implemented during these uncertain times. Restaurants are operating at smaller capacities; workers have returned to retail stores and the nice weather has emerged. Even when we can’t seem to contain our excitement (or disgruntles) as it relates to our new normal, maintaining your focus on things that truly matter should stay at the forefront of your mind. Remember those financial goals that were set at the top of the year? Don’t let what’s going on change your mindset into thinking your goals are no longer achievable. Will things have to be adjusted? Yes. Will it be easy? That’s questionable. What’s noteworthy is regardless of what you may think, there is still time. This is the perfect opportunity to evaluate what’s worked and what could use some tweaks moving forward. Above all else, be patient with yourself and remember that you have the ability to get back on track – and stay there.