You’ve probably longed for the feeling of normalcy over these past few months. Covid-19 has caused a lot of upheaval and uncertainty in a very short amount of time. Previously mundane daily activities like grocery shopping have turned into something you prepare for with protective gear and mental fortitude. We desperately want to feel good again and to get back to our normal life routines. We certainly are not back to normal yet, but there eased restrictions of varying degrees across the country signaling that, for the time being, we are moving in that direction.
It’s probably true that your budget – which should be a reflection of how you live your life – has seen some major shifts since March as well. As restrictions ease and what we can and cannot do in our daily lives, your budget will likely shift again.
Here are some ideas to help you prepare your budget for life when shelter-in-place is a thing of the past. Or at the very least, you can get your hair and nails done again.
You may see a quick spike in some expenses such as eating out or entertainment. Work these expenses back into your budget now. One of the things I’ve dreamed about since the start of the pandemic is going on a date night with my husband (AKA Mr. Fiscal Fitness) – the kind we used to go on where we sip cocktails and have a conversation that isn’t interrupted by our three- and four-year-old. This expense isn’t in our budget now, but I know I’m going to want to add it back. If that’s you too, I suggest putting some money aside for this expense, so you’ve got a bit of additional padding as soon as you can make this dream a reality.
Travel expenses may need to be budgeted for now even if you can’t travel. After being cooped up in your home for so long, you may be dreaming of a getaway. If this is you, allocate money in your budget and begin saving ASAP for your next trip. Sure you may not know when or where you can take it, but if you know you’re going to want to go somewhere, save for it. Vacation planning should not go on a credit card.
Spending Out of Convenience
Time commitments will likely see a massive shift again. Right now you probably have more time to cook at home, to balance your budget, or to research the best deal while you online shop. The hustle and bustle of our daily routines have come to a screeching halt. When things return to normal and our schedules once again start to fill with weekend and evening commitments, your need to spend money out of convenience is likely to return. Keep in mind that you might not be used to such a busy schedule because it’s no longer routine. We’ll all be out of practice, and with chaotic schedules resuming, spending for convenience is likely going to resume too.
Grooming (Humans and Pets Alike)
Nails, hair, facials, waxing…this applies to ladies and men alike! If you’ve been putting these things off for a while, and they’ve made the cut of things you are adding back in, get them on your budget ASAP. You ideally want to do this before you schedule your appointments. Since a lot of these businesses haven’t been operating for months, they are likely going to have a backlog of clients waiting to get in. Chances are it will be difficult to schedule all these appointments in the same week while still fitting in time for your kids, work, exercise, etc., so be patient and get the expense on your budget now.
If you lost your job, now is the time to get your resume updated and maybe learn a new skill. Share your resume with people now and ask them to keep you in mind if they hear of any opportunities. Upload it to company websites if the option exists. Schedule time on your calendar to submit your resume and respond to job openings. Get it on your calendar now, ideally for first thing in the morning, so you’re staying on top of it and being consistent. Practice your interview skills – ask a friend to quiz you or ask you questions or consider hiring an interview or career coach if it’s feasible for you financially.
Looking for more help? Check out Episode 87 of the Fiscal Fitness Podcast for others ways to tweak your post-quarantine budget.