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Post COVID-19 Budget ?

in Budget, COVID19, Pandemic, Work Hours

Now in the 2nd month of the COVID-19 lock down (May 2020) many folks are starting to see exactly where they have been spending money. Those lucky enough to have kept their jobs, but were asked to try to work while at home, now have a good snapshot of their spending habits, while at work.

Now, you should have a good perspective on how much you spend on:

  1. Commuting, gas costs, or mass transit costs. Did you ask for a drop in your insurance rates for your car? You should. What if you chose to take mass transit when you return to the office? How much would you save.
  2. Eating and drinking at work. How much were you spending on a few coffees, and your lunch? How about those Friday lunches out with a few drinks, or after work drinks?
  3. Clothing and dry cleaning and such. You might not have a solid hold on how much you spend here, but you haven’t really been able to buy new clothes (as easily) these days.
  4. Various subscriptions and gym memberships and stuff. You aren’t still paying for those are you?
  5. What extra costs you have incurred not going to work
    • Extra electricity usage?
    • Internet, did you upgrade your access?
    • Did you add new streaming services?

These expenses and a few others I didn’t mention should help you see where your money is going.

What To Do?

With this data you could:

  1. Make a budget for the COVID19 era (for lack of a better term). How much should you spend while you are locked up at home? This may be helpful so you now understand what you are spending money, and where you can save money.
  2. Make a budget for your return to work, and maybe cut this spending in 1/2, giving you more money to live with? When you return to work is it going to be full-time? If not, maybe you need an interim budget and then a return to full-time work budget?
  3. Figure out if working at home full-time, part-time or occasionally might be a thing for you? Many folks like working at home, I enjoy the interactions of an office, but you at least have a view of how this might work.
  4. See how much money you have saved and maybe put that on your debt load?

Something for you to ponder while you are at home not spending money.

{ 5 comments }

  • Sharon May 26, 2020, 10:02 AM

    Thanks for the guide. Helpful indeed. Our expenditure has been decreased. We are saving on our travel expenses but are spending money very cautiously since these are uncertain times.

    Reply
  • Matt May 8, 2020, 2:08 PM

    Our spending has definitely changed and not only in the categories you mentioned but because we’re only going to the grocery store once a week we are planning a lot better. Before if we determined we needed something we would simply go buy it, now we’re much more conscious about unnecessary trips to the store.

    I think in our case at least this will have a lasting impact to how we spend money and why we go to the stores.

    Reply
    • bigcajunman May 8, 2020, 2:41 PM

      Remember that the grocery business has relied on folks dropping in and picking up a “few things” every day and then discretionary spending goes up. Will be interesting to see how this changes that model.

      Reply
      • Matt Petras May 11, 2020, 9:02 AM

        I agree it will be interesting, my gut tells me that in a year or two life will mostly be back to normal with a few subtle changes like working from home. But then again I might be wrong and the change ends up being more profound – might be better that way.

        Do you think the impact will be more permanent? Will your behaviour change as a result?

        Reply
        • bigcajunman May 11, 2020, 10:07 AM

          No, I am older and less likely to change as many of my bad habits as I should, but I am hoping to have some smaller changes:
          1) Bringing my lunch more often
          2) Buy less coffee at work and such
          3) Maybe start taking mass transit, but only when it is safe.

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