Staying on Budget in these Pandemic Times

With more time at home, there is often the temptation to browse different online stores to pass some of the time. We all know how what we look at online starts showing up wherever ads are placed. I often chuckle at how all the things I look at on this one online store, shows up perpetually on other platforms. I sometimes click on them again and go off browsing. It is, however, not so easy for me to commit to buying anything because of the boundaries I have set for myself.

First off, I am trying to get to my goal weight and won’t be buying any clothes until that happens. I enjoy looking at what is on offer and seeing what the prices are to save towards them. I also like to look at the style of different pieces that I will add at the right time. I am staying on budget by doing this and it works for me. I am also still budgeting money for some items I want because this keeps me on budget as well.

Have you noticed that the price of items in the supermarket, has increased steadily during this pandemic? I have increased my food budget, especially since I do not eat out and like to try making different foods at home. I have shifted some of my former recreation funds into this area. I am saving and investing everything else that I am not using for recreation. I am not spending money needlessly.

I wonder how many people are just ordering stuff online to fill the void of not going out and socialising.

This is quite easy to do for most people. I mean everything from shopping for clothes online or ordering food just because is pretty convenient. I had to nip the ordering food part in the bud because I have time at home and can cook. All this money adds up and it is important to be smart and continue building my emergency fund because the economy is quite tenuous. I have gone from ordering pizza online to buying the much cheaper version in the supermarket and getting ingredients to jazz it up. Pizza, for example, is expensive here. What I spend on it adds up quickly and it sure doesn’t help with my weight loss goals either.

I make my budget and stick to it religiously. I also reconcile my budget and monitor my spending. This means that I withdraw all the cash I need for the month and I distribute it among my cash envelopes for these items: food, lunch, utilities, travel, unexpected expenses and residence tax. Yes, I still save for travelling because I will travel again and since I fully expect airfares to increase I will be ready. In addition, I am anticipating spending more on things like tests and quarantining at designated hotels in some places. It is so much easier to track my spending using cash. I am sure it can be done using a debit card as well by using a budgeting app or simply tracking it in other ways.

Having clear money goals also help me to stay on budget during these pandemic times.

I believe in writing down my goals.

I try to project how much I need to meet them in a realistic manner and put aside sums of money every month for these.

I also look on my plans often, to remind myself and track what I am saving for each goal.

Those of us who have been blessed to have a job during this pandemic are in a good position to save and fund some of our goals. In my case, several events and things of that nature, which I would spend money on have been cancelled: work parties, birthday events, lunches and dinners with others as well as other events. I still budget for these things, then move the amounts to investments just so I can track these and when those things become the norm again I can start funding them.

I still budget for all categories I had pre-pandemic even for areas like those above that I no longer need now. My thinking is that, it is easier for me to see them and know they are there, than to not budget for them and then to adjust to them later. This works for me.

In essence, I am always staying on budget. It is just a habit I have formed and it helps me during these times, not to give in to just buying things to fill whatever void I might have. I am still focused on being smart with my money, saving and funding my emergency fund because no one knows how the world may turn. I live and work abroad, so if I need to go back home I want to do so with a financial buffer, to allow me time to just chill and not worry too much for a bit.

I am sticking to my budget and using it to manage my money and fund my money goals. I am also using this time to learn more about investing and making my savings work for me.

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