Whether you’re one of the 25 million people world-wide estimated to lose their job from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic or you’re at home worried that you might be next, re-evaluating your finances is essential. “Everyone should be thinking about their budget during a pandemic,” says Leslie H. Tayne. “Regardless of your employment status, your expenses have likely changed in some way during this time.” Depending on your situation, that could mean figuring out how to support a family on unemployment or shaving back discretionary spending to create more of a financial cushion during this time of crisis.
“People who have already lost income are scrambling to get through this crisis, while people who haven’t yet lost income are justifiably worried that they might in the future, says personal finance expert, Kimberly Palmer. “Which means it’s a good time to cut back on any unnecessary expenses and go into recession-prepping mode.” Here’s what the financial experts suggest you cut out of your budget during a pandemic.
Your favourite Chinese restaurant is probably closed to the public because of social distancing, but many restaurants are still offering pickup and delivery. Ordering takeaway can add up quickly, however. While supporting local businesses (and the people behind them) is essential when you can, cooking at home is much more cost-effective than eating out, pandemic or not. Tayne recommends you plan a menu for at least a week and buy what you can from the grocery store. Because going to do the groceries can raise health risks for you and shop employees, do your best to minimise contact by planning out what you need in advance, reducing the number of trips you make to the shops, and ordering and asking for pickup when available.
Cancelling a gym or studio membership while the facility is closed is another smart choice to save money during the pandemic. Palmer notes that gyms have different policies: some allow refunds or freezing memberships, while others don’t. “[M]any are changing their offerings to online classes so they are still providing services to clients,” Palmer adds.
Contact your gym to make sure you’re not being charged if it’s closed.
Now is also a great time to try out some free YouTube or Instagram workouts at home. “You may find that you don’t miss the gym,” Tayne says. “This is something you can reassess once gyms reopen and you have a better understanding of what your financial situation is going to be post-quarantine.”