The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has altered the “normal” habits of people and living conditions not only here in the Philippines but also worldwide. With lockdowns and community quarantine, limited mobility, layoffs, and shortage of supplies, the spending habits of Filipinos are perhaps one of the most affected by the recent changes.
For one, only essential shops like groceries and drugstores are allowed to operate. The fear brought about by the pandemic influenced people to hoard or participate in panic buying. Companies have either introduced pay cuts or layoffs, which worries the Filipino workforce. Budgeting for expenses has become trickier than ever.
Hands aren’t the only things we should sanitize
With the sudden pause in our normal activities, this period may be the right time for some Filipinos to look into a financial detox.
Spending money has become almost second nature to people—bills, food, housing, and commute—it never ends. But, with the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), many non-essential stores have stopped operating, like your favorite restaurant or some online shops. Delivery bans have taken effect in some cities, too.
These factors can refrain you from, say, binge online shopping in Lazada or ordering your food frequently from McDonald’s.
There is no way of finding out what the “new normal” entails. Until then, you can only try to review the way you spend your money and develop healthier spending habits during this time for better financial management and preparedness.
4 Tips to Do a Financial Detox in the Time of COVID-19
1. Limit non-essential spending
The quarantine might have already influenced you to do this, as people are now able to distinguish their wants from needs. However, there may be an urge to place things in your wish list so you can immediately check out the things you’ve been planning to buy once things return to normal.
You don’t have to shame yourself for this—if it’s something that you’re looking forward to getting and you have the money to spare, go for it! However, since we are living in extraordinary times, it may be worth reconsidering some of the items on your cart, if any.
The pandemic is also taking a toll on you emotionally and mentally. Don’t deny yourself of the occasional wants, but make sure that it’s well within your budget. If possible, focus on the essentials you need, like groceries, first-aid items, medicine, and the like.
2. Evaluate your funds and set goals
There are a few elements to becoming financially healthy. During this time, it may be a good idea to study and reevaluate what you can do to maintain or reach those goals so that you can safeguard your future.
- Good credit score – Essential for applying for loans in the future; make sure all debts have updated payments
- Savings account – Separate your savings from your income or spending account; suitable for bigger goals like buying a car, house and lot, etc.
- Emergency fund – Another account to cushion you from unfortunate incidents, like layoffs, hospital bills, and the like.
You don’t need to accomplish any of this right away; instead, it’s good to set goals, so you get a clear overview of what you need to work on.
3. Buy in bulk and stick to a shopping list
Stick to a schedule when it comes to buying your essentials. Aim to buy one weeks’ worth of supplies and be faithful to your grocery list. Now isn’t the best time to experiment with new items or products, unless you need it.
Going out only once a week lessens your transportation expenses, and buying in bulk allows you to take advantage of promos and sales. Last but not least, aim to have a budget for your grocery run. This will prevent you from straying away from your shopping list while at the store.
4. Remove distractions and spending temptations
It can be tempting to look around for other things you may not need during this time. It’ll help to unsubscribe from email shopping lists or delete your online shopping apps from your phone, so you can temporarily forget about the urge to shop.
Instead, put your focus on the things you already have. Now’s a good time to do some spring cleaning and rediscover some items that have been hiding away in your closet or drawers for months or years. If you don’t need them anymore, you could sell them for extra income. If it rekindles some kind of hobby, you could use that to fill your time.
Wiser Spending, Bigger Savings
It’s important to be mindful of your spending habits during this time. If at all possible, now is a good time to reset the way you manage your money so you can be better prepared for what the future brings.
If you find yourself needing extra financial support during this already difficult time, you can turn to PawnHero for help. Learn more about our online pawn shop services today.
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