Our Community Shares How Spending and Financial Goals Have Changed
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Read Time: 3 mins
These last few months, during the COVID-19 pandemic, have been full of many unexpected changes. Between spending more time at home, less time traveling, and more time cooking, you’ve probably noticed a difference in your spending habits and budget.
We recently shared with COLAtoday readers how our team members have changed their spending due to COVID-19. We were also curious about how others in the Midlands have changed their spending and saving habits, so we asked readers to share their own experiences with us.
Here are some of the responses we received:
Saving by meal planning.
"My grocery bill has gone down because I do more meal planning and go to the grocery store less, which keeps me from making those impulse purchases (snacks/junk foods). I can save because I am not going to malls or other shopping centers making unnecessary purchases."
If you have to go to the grocery store, planning your meals before you go will absolutely help cut back on impulse food purchases. Those last minute hunger-driven grocery store purchases can really add up. Before you leave for the store, take an inventory of what you have and make a list of what you need. Stick to your list and you'll be less likely to go over budget.
Started a six-month emergency fund.
"So now I'm focusing on saving up a 6-month emergency fund because you really never know."
Having an emergency fund is always a good idea! As we've found over the last few months, the unexpected can and will happen so it's best to be prepared. We recommend setting up a recurring weekly or monthly transfer that automatically transfers a certain amount of money into your savings account so you don't forget to set the money aside.
Spending less on gas.
"I have EVERYTHING delivered now. No new clothes, shoes, apparel needed. Of course, no growing babies at home anymore. Also, I used to spend $200 plus per month on gas. No way now!"
We can probably all agree that a benefit of spending more time at home is definitely spending less money on gas. If you were typically spending $200 plus on gas a month and are only spending half that much now, set that savings aside. You'd be surprised how quickly that extra savings can add up so you can use it to finally take a much needed vacation!
Paying off a mortgage.
"Saving like crazy. My sister and I share a house. I've been saving $500 per week since April. Beginning August 2020 we will both pay an extra $500 each on the mortgage."
If less money spent on gas, travel, and trips to the store has you saving more (and you already have your emergency fund built up) you could definitely use that extra savings to pay down any loans you might have. Whether it's paying extra on your mortgage or working to payoff your credit card, those extra payments can reduce the amount of interest you pay back and help you save money over the long-term.
Not spending on traveling.
"The only thing that has changed is travel. I won't do it until this pandemic is under control."
Sometimes a "staycation" can be just as fun as a vacation you have to travel for. Check out some of our tips on having a great staycation.
Buying more groceries.
"Instead of spending money eating out, I’ve been buying more groceries and cooking instead. I’ve actually really enjoyed it and find that my money (and obviously my food) goes so much further!"
We also recommend ordering your groceries online so you can easily find weekly store specials on your favorite foods. Plus, when you shop online from home, you can check your fridge and cabinets as you shop to ensure you’re not purchasing items you don’t need.
Tipping more when out to eat.
"Online shopping has gone way up, and honestly, my tipping has been insane just trying to help out my industry people."
What a great way to show support for the local restaurant industry!
Thanks to everyone who responded. We’re glad to see so many of you have found this to be an opportunity to save. As your spending habits and budgets may continue to change, be sure to check out our other blogs on budgeting and saving.