All the things happening in 2020 have often made it difficult to look on the bright side. Even our humor has often been dark. Memes are floating around about trying to guess the next natural disaster to hit us. Whether it be “murder hornets,” dual hurricanes, or any number of the other history-making things that have happened this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get any positive out of all of this.
Here are three (3) things COVID-19 (and 2020) has taught us about money.
- Free family time is a great way to save money while building relationships. With everything closed down or canceled, most people had to find new things to occupy their time. In a time where we have invented terms like “soccer mom” to describe parents always packing their children up to make it to their next scheduled activity, it was a hard slow down.
But it has also given us all an opportunity to find new ways to interact. And the best part about it? These new activities tend to be inexpensive or even free. So, do we need all of those dinners out, trips, or events? It could be better for your family and budget to rethink what you want to do when things start heading back to “normal.”
- It is vital to insulate for emergencies. Financial advisors have been harping on this one for years. It’s hard to think about some distant “emergency” when you are living paycheck-to-paycheck. But job losses, furloughs, and medical emergencies have become all too common since March. Fortunately, all of the things we were forced to give up during lockdown can be a good indicator of what we may be able to cut out of our lives to build up that emergency fund as soon as we can. Which brings us nicely to lesson number three…
- It’s possible to adjust your spending habits. Even if you aren’t one of those people that can give up anything at the drop of the hat (trust me, they exist), the lockdown has surely forced you to abandon something. Maybe that daily coffee shop beverage became homebrew for a while. Maybe you bought fewer clothes. Or perhaps you learned how to cook a few new recipes and save some money on restaurant meals. The point is you were able to change how you spent money.
Yes, it is a lot harder to make these changes when nothing is forcing you to make them. But, now that things are very slowly inching back, it may be a good idea to decide what changes would make sense to keep. After all, even dropping a $4 coffee purchase from five days to two days per week would save $12 per week. That savings would add up to around $52 per month and $624 per year.
We can all admit the past few months have been rough. The rest of the year is equally uncertain. But, if anything, we are learning to appreciate personal relationships and perhaps save a bit of cash wherever we can. Here’s to 2021 being the light at the end of the tunnel we all need.