While states continue to struggle with managing the COVID-19 outbreak, the majority of the US has begun to “re-open.” Many businesses and people are attempting to get back to whatever semblance of normalcy they can achieve while following state and local guidelines for social distancing, cleaning, and operations. And, despite signs of a recession, the stress of confinement and change up may lead some to overspend once they feel a modicum of “freedom.”
Here are three ways to help you stay on track as you head back out into society.
- Prioritize your spending. Spending a lot of time at home can make you realize some things about your home, routines, and relationships. Businesses being closed may have also forced you to cook more or taken a toll on your standards of appearance. Whether the paint color in the living room is driving you crazy, you really need a haircut, or your neighbors are driving you nuts, take a moment to make a list. Write down everything you’ve been itching to do or address and how much it is likely to cost. Then prioritize based on what and when you can afford the items on your list.
- Make a budget. The best way to figure out what you can afford, and when you can manage it is to create a budget. Even if you already have one, now may be an excellent time do perform an update. Keep in mind that, while temporary layoffs are easing and job numbers are slowly ticking up, businesses that were previously unaffected by the pandemic are turning to permanent layoffs due to lost revenues. Financial experts have begun to declare an official recession. While supporting your community, getting some much-needed time out of the house, and other items on your list might need to be addressed; be sure to take measures that ensure future financial safety.
- Keep your savings tucked away. Few Americans can afford even a $1,000 If you have managed to save any money, especially throughout the pandemic, it is a good idea to squirrel that away for a rainy day. Experts consider $1,000 a good starter savings but consider secure emergency savings milestones to be 3-to-6 months of income. The ideal emergency fund should account be able to cover essentials for up to a year. No matter where you are in your savings journey, it is best to consider anything you have managed put aside as untouchable – until a real crisis strikes.
Stay-at-home orders have made us all a little stir-crazy and stressed. But don’t let the easing of restrictions lead you to loosen your purse strings too much. Making a list, creating an updated budget, and considering the current economic climate can help you put things in perspective – and keep money in your wallet.