Lifestyle

How COVID-19 has changed the way we spend + save 💰

Calculator on phone
How has the pandemic changed your financial habits and goals? | Photo via Unsplash

Guess what? We are officially halfway through 2020.

Maybe you set big goals for this year like buying a house or going on a long-awaited European vacation – before COVID-19 and the resulting economic downturn put many of our resolutions on pause. (And this is a best-case scenario, as thousands in SC have faced unemployment.)

Not only have many of us had to adjust our budgets, but how and what we purchase has also changed: Grocery delivery services, for example, have seen a major spike during the pandemic while restaurants have been hit hard nationwide. 

But what about right here in Columbia? We want to know what changes you’ve made to your spending + savings habits.

Local credit union AllSouth asked its team members these questions, and their answers ran the gamut from saving money on gas + childcare to identifying needs vs. wants to choosing to support local businesses.

Sticking to a budget

“I’ve become more consistent with managing my budget. I maintain a monthly spreadsheet to track my income and expenses. A budget helps me to clearly see where my money is going each month. Because I’m budgeting, I can make extra payments towards credit cards, the principal on my mortgage + car payments.” – Elizabeth

Supporting local business

“I’ve definitely been trying to spend more at local businesses instead of the big-name stores. I’ve started grabbing coffee from local coffee shops. I’ve been ordering from locally-owned restaurants instead of chain restaurants. I’ve also been buying plants for our yard and for housewarming gifts for friends (a lot of our friends just bought new homes), so I’ve been shopping at a local plant nursery.” – Laurin

Identifying needs vs. wants

“I’ve gone back to doing things myself that I would normally pay for, and I’ve canceled some of my regular scheduled appointments. Now, I generally go to work, the grocery store, check on my parents, and home. My family does still eat out because we support local food trucks + use to-go services at local restaurants, but the socializing expense is nonexistent.” – Sharmett

“I’ve enjoyed shopping online and using grocery pickup. Not only do I limit my exposure, but I don’t buy all the unnecessary stuff I would when I go inside the store and walk down the aisles. Plus, as you go along, you can see your total and adjust if needed.” – Jamie

Saving on gas + childcare

“I pay my car insurance premium monthly, but now since I’m not driving as much, I’m saving the difference in gas that I would normally spend, and I put the extra money in an envelope to pay my insurance in full at my next renewal period. Many car insurance companies give a discount for paying the entire premium at once.” – Jamie

“I have placed more of an emphasis on saving now. Instead of making extra payments on debt, I’m temporarily only paying the minimum. I stopped eating out altogether and started cooking more. I’m also no longer making spur of the moment purchases. The most drastic thing I’ve done is trade in my car for a more affordable and practical gas efficient one.” – Matt

“While our children’s daycare was closed, we took the money we’d normally spend on childcare and set it aside in a savings account. While the kids were home more, our utility and grocery bills increased. Still, we were able to offset that increase with money saved from not having childcare expenses and less money spent on gas. Any “extra” money (regardless of how small) is being put into a savings account.” – Karen 

See the team’s full answers.  

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