COVID-19: Pocket-Friendly Habits for a World After the Pandemic

More than two years since Covid-19 turned the world on its head, most of the world is finally starting to go back to what most knew life to be before the pandemic hit.

With this “new normal”, there is also a new phenomenon to watch out for — revenge spending. And yes, it can be as intense as the name suggests.

Revenge spending is a pattern of excessive spending to overcompensate, in this case, the lack of ability to shop or travel during quarantine or pandemic-related restrictions.

This phenomenon was seen in China after the country reported zero new cases of domestic infections in March 2020, when the pandemic was still in its infancy. It was again the talk of the town this year, when China grappled with fresh waves of infection and people in cities such as Shanghai were confined to their apartments for more than two months. Consumers came out of quarantine with a new fervour for spending.

While it might seem harmless to spend a little more after being deprived of shopping for so long, this mentality could lead you down a path that your wallet might not be able to handle.

Here are some simple tips to keep in mind to help make sure that balance on your bank account doesn’t take an unnecessary hit.

Avoid trivial purchases

Every little thing adds up. Inflation is at an all-time high and the reality is that the global economy is going into a recession, which means that more people will lose their jobs.

While we hope it won’t happen to us, we don’t know for sure if we will be next in line on the retrenchment list. As much as companies are trying to retain their workforce, there are bottom lines that need to be maintained.

So exercise some wisdom and avoid unnecessary (and luxurious) purchases during this period. It’ll help to keep our cash resources for rainy days or savvy investments options. This may be a new habit to cultivate but just before you head to the checkout counter, ask yourself: “Do I really need this right now?” Many trivial purchases can add up to an amount that might be a tough bill to pay eventually.

Read more: 10 Pointless Purchases To Stop Spending On

Get your home ready for remote working

Be prepared to work from home again. Even as many companies are returning fully to the office, or adopting a hybrid work arrangement, the pandemic has taught us that something as seemingly simple as a virus can seriously disrupt the world’s lives.

We can hope for the best but it’s always good to be prepared to stay at home or work from home again.

It’s best to replicate an office space at home that is well-lit, well ventilated and not on your bed. Sending emails on your bed may feel fine the first few times, but eventually it’s going to take a toll on your body, energy levels and even your mood. If you really have the urge to spend, invest in something that will make working from home easier and take care of your well-being to prepare for any such emergencies in the future.

Read more: How To Work From Home Effectively and Happily

Fatten Up Your Emergency Fund

We’ve all heard it before: make sure you have an emergency fund stashed away in case of rainy days. But perhaps nothing has quite driven home the need for an emergency fund as the Covid-19 pandemic.

For one thing, the virus has taught us never to assume that things will continue to be fine and dandy, and to always be prepared. This is especially so as the economy slows and unemployment rates rise and more employees are told to take mandatory pay cuts or no pay leave days and many people will likely see their incomes affected.

Check out this post to understand more about how much your emergency fund should have, based on your personal needs

Pro tip: The Planner Bee emergency fund calculator will help you determine the size of your personal emergency fund.

Eat at home more often

Lockdowns and stay home notices have helped many home cooks-turned-Master Chefs step up and shine on social media. If you’re great at cooking, then this tip would continue naturally for you beyond the lockdown.

If you’re not so good at cooking, don’t give up. Cooking is a skill that can be picked up. Making your own food not only saves your money but also ensures that you know what’s going into your food. Also, if you’re planning to lose some of that lockdown weight that you may have gained, home cooked meals are your best bet.

Read more: How To Rework Leftovers Into Food Worth Looking Forward To

Buy only what sparks joy!

During the time we were confined to our homes, I hope some of us managed to do some spring cleaning and packing. If you haven’t, we defer to the great Marie Kondo’s packing tips. Get ready to see how much clutter you have in your life. While we’re at it, here’s also a guide to saving money inspired by Marie Kondo.

So before you buy that new pair of pants or the latest gadget, ask yourself if this purchase truly “sparks joy”. Otherwise, it’s a waste of your hard earned money and space.

Read more: Want To Eat at Cafes and Restaurants in Singapore and Still Save Money? It’s Possible

Invest in your future

If you have spare cash or savings, it may be more worthwhile to invest that idle sum of money into ETFs, mutual funds or unit trusts, rather than use it on impulse buys.

Most markets have gone on a downward roller coaster ride and this presents us with many good opportunities to invest. Of course, before you do that, consider getting advice from a trusted financial advisor.

Keen to get started on investing? Check out this article to learn more about the lessons the Covid-19 pandemic left us with when it comes to investing.

Another way to invest in your future is to pick up new skills, something many people did during their extra free time during the pandemic. It helps an individual stay relevant and in demand on the job market, and also have more options should a person decide to make career transitions.

Relook your gym memberships

Since gyms and fitness centres were closed during the lockdown, many people invested in buying dumbbells, exercise mats and have been able to work out more at home. If this has worked for you, perhaps it’s time to reassess your need for multiple gym classes that cost you hundreds each month, or even up to thousands each year.

If you can swap some unlimited passes for fewer sessions in the gyms and more sessions at home, you’ll be surprised at how much you can save. Of course, one thing you probably can still spend on from time to time is activewear that you’ve become so accustomed to lounging in all day long. Put those weights you purchased to good use and have some workouts right from the comfort of your own home!

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