We’ve been talking about it for a while now in this space — America is well on its way back from the pandemic-induced recession. COVID-19 cases are decreasing as the vaccination rate has accelerated, unemployment is falling and there’s strong demand for a variety of services and products. And as the country truly busts out of its COVID slump and inches closer and closer to a new normal, it’s only going to be natural for consumers to start spending again.
We already saw spikes in spending around the time that stimulus checks were distributed, and it’s reasonable to think that we’ll see the economy continue to expand as more places open without restrictions and Americans are truly able to get out and do more. While this post-pandemic normal is certainly welcome news, it’s also bound to pose its share of challenges to American consumers. For instance, how do you appropriately budget in the post-pandemic economy? We have some tips that might help you:
What Important to You?
As things changed and restrictions were put in place, we all obviously did less. And while this was disappointing, it also gave us all time to pause and focus on what was really important to us. What did you miss? What don’t you miss? What can you live without? Look, we’re all eager to get back to a sense of normal and have fun doing the things that we used to love doing. But now is a great time to reassess your budget and determine what it is you truly want to be spending your money on.
As things come back to normal, there’s obviously going to be demand for certain products and services. This presents a great opportunity to shop around a bit. Gas is expensive right now, as are some types of foods that are high in demand. And because gas is high in price, so is airfare and other forms of transportation. Make sure you review prices and work these into your budget. You might have to budget for the essentials differently than you did 18 months ago and adjust accordingly over time.
Don’t Forget About Your Savings Account
Were you laid off for a period of time during the pandemic? Did you have to put stimulus checks toward essential purchases? Did you have to dip into your savings account? If so, then it’s important that you rebuild these rainy day funds. Make sure you’re building up an emergency fund with at least 3 months’ worth of expenses tucked away. Then, you can work on your other savings accounts.
The bottom line is that while we certainly don’t blame you for living in the now after a year-and-a-half of restrictions, don’t forget to prioritize your future as well.