Saved money on gas… check
Saved money on eating out… check
Saved money on vacations and date nights… check
2020 has been a rollercoaster ride for many people’s finances. During mandatory shutdowns, most Americans cut back on what were once normal activities and found that they were able to save some money. But now what? As communities slowly reopen, it seems like there are deals and sales everywhere vying for your dollars. So how do you avoid post-quarantine overspending?
Stick to your budget – Just because you didn’t spend your budgeted dollars during the Spring and Summer, it doesn’t mean you should go crazy during the Fall and make up for it. Stick to your original allowances for food, entertainment, etc. Challenge yourself to live by the motto of “ if it’s not in the budget, I’m not spending it”.
Unsubscribe – I bet if you check your inbox right now, you have a least a few emails from businesses talking about some sort of sale they are having. We’ve become inundated with emails this year because every business wants you to help out the economy by buying from them. We get it, it’s part of doing business, but if you are an impulse buyer, you should consider unsubscribing from emails to limit your spending temptations.
Don’t compare yourself – What did people do during the quarantine – they spent money at home improvement stores and build decks, patios, revamped bathrooms, floors, etc. Just because your neighbors or sister-in-law has a fancy new patio, doesn’t mean you need to run out and spend all your savings on a project for your own home – unless of course it needs it and is budgeted for. Don’t compare your finances and spending to anyone else – stay within your means.
Consider a digital detox – Social media is great, until it’s causing you to get the itch to run out and buy things you don’t need. Not only will you see a photo of someone’s latest new tech gizmo, super hip room décor or brand-new home pop up, but you’ll also get targeted social media marketing ads based on the things you buy, the people or businesses you follow, and even your search history! To avoid overspending, you might want to consider a social media break or at least limiting the time and attention you give to it.
Delayed Gratification. I know, instant gratification is so much more fun, but if you want to curb the urge to go on a spending spree, don’t purchase items on a whim. Wait 24-48 hours and then decide if you still need it.
It can be exciting to see all your favorite businesses reopen and want to do your part to help stimulate the economy, and that’s great, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of putting yourself in debt. Set aside a set budget to indulge in some extra fun – eating out, some personal care, maybe some new paint for the house. Once you’ve hit the budget, that’s it. If you need some help to make your finances recession-proof, check out this recent blog.
Stephen Yonych Jr.
Assistant Vice President, Watertown Manager