It’s been eight months since countries all around the world started to impose lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. So many things have happened since then.
After what seems the worst 90 days between March to May 2020, the world gradually adapted. Lockdown was starting to get lifted in summer. People are beginning to get used to what we now call “The new normal.”
Things are still pretty much the same, but…
There are some improvements made for the past eight months. But in some areas, drawbacks happened. In short, we’re not out of the woods yet.
The pandemic is far from its end, but eerily, it’s people’s attitude that has been shifting. Pandemic fatigue is a phenomenon when people feel like they have enough. They go outside to socialize, not use masks and don’t social distance. As a return, spikes of new cases keep happening.
Remain vigilant with your finance
According to analysts, the economy is not expected to recover until 2022. To prepare for it, it only makes sense for individuals to be disciplined with their finance. It’s not the time to splurge yet.
In the beginning, tightening your belt was easy when the uncertainty feels new and scary. But at this point, the fatigue must also be creeping up in every one of ourselves.
Pandemic fatigue affects people’s financial habits. In September, retail sales surged. People bought more clothes, cars, and eat out more. You can say everyone is just bored.
The recent consumer spending is not parallel with the rising number of employment, sadly. Many of us are still facing uncertainties. Employed people still face a risk for furlough and unemployment. The ones who have lost jobs finding it hard to navigate the current job market.
You might want to spend like there’s no tomorrow. Continuous anxiety might encourage you to self-soothe and go shopping for comfort. If not careful, you might overextend yourself far before the economy finally recovers.
1. Prepare for the end-of-year temptation
Your money’s immediate threat is the upcoming holiday season. From Black Friday, Amazon Prime Day, to the Christmas sales, the temptation for shopping would nothing but increasing. Retailers online and offline are ready with their discount offers and other perks.
During winter, with more lockdowns may get reimposed, people are forced to spend their day at home with nothing better to do than finding deals on Amazon. It’s your homework to get through all this with your wallet minimally impacted.
2. Keep going with that side hustle
Pandemic has taught us how important it is to have multiple sources of income, to have something to fall back into when things go into the drain.
Furthermore, at this point, you might have learned that no one, not the government, is going to proactively help you. Especially the government, they and their stimulus is nothing but a freak show. Everyone needs to fend off for themselves.
If you’ve been trying to build a new source of income for some time, keep it up. Achieve small milestones little by little. At some point, you might feel discouraged and just wanted to give up, but remind yourself it’s better than depending on other people.
3. Being strict with expenses is still needed
Consumer anxiety is real and it’s still justifiable. You might feel bad because by limiting your spending, you don’t participate in the economy. Well, it’s not your job to get rid of what’s called the demand shock. That’s supposed to be the job of the government.
Don’t spend unless you must. Spend locally if you’d like to help your community.
Keep being somewhat self-sustainable. That gardening hobby, the one you started during the lockdown, keep going at it. Growing your own vegetables saves money while provides you with a healthy food source.
Dark days still ahead. It’s not the time yet to be relaxed.
4. Splurge on things that keep you healthy
If you really want to splurge on something, then I’d recommend ordering products that make you healthier.
Buy vitamins, especially Vitamin D. Winter equal less sun, and another lockdown will only hinder you from getting adequate sunlight. According to this article, some early research suggests Vitamin D may protect from COVID too.
Stock up on healthy foods, home gym equipment, and herbal teas. Anything that makes your body healthy and your mental health in check.
5. Keep investing but don’t overextend
The year 2020 is a great year for investing. Partly thanks to the corona crash, we’ve seen indexes and stocks plunged into a bargain level, especially prior to July this year. It’s an opportunity to double your contribution to that retirement account.
Fast forward to today in October, keep being disciplined with your investment plan. If money is tight, contribute what you can.
Furthermore, remind yourself to not go overboard. The recent stock market rally can induce FOMO, tempting you to put more money into buying stocks and even using margin. If not careful, overextending yourself can lead to your demise.
The pandemic is not over and there’s nothing we can do except to prod along and go on with our lives. Some things may have changed, the new normal could be just an illusion. Things may not feel normal and probably never will.
But that’s okay. Human is excellent with adapting. Especially you and your finance. Keep a checklist to keep everything on track. The points above are a good start.
Disclaimer: This article is for educational and informational purposes only, not professional investment advice.