Widespread surges in COVID-19 infections are sparking rumors about the possibility of more lockdown measures being put in place.
The deets that matter for your wallet: Locking down might help stop the spread. But there could be economic side effects. Like more trouble for small businesses, worsened supply-chain issues, and more layoffs in vulnerable industries like travel and hospitality. Without another stimulus package on the horizon, that can all add long-term economic damage.
What you can do about it: Make some smart money choices to protect your wallet, stay safe, and help struggling businesses.
Boost your emergency fund. New normal = new budget. But now you know what to expect if stay-at-home restrictions come back. Set aside any money saved from pausing your gym membership (again), commuting or going out to eat. Experts recommend saving at least three months’ worth of take-home pay for emergencies. But more is more, especially when there’s uncertainty ahead.
Plan for where you’ll pay more. Once you’re home all the time, don’t forget you might spend more on things like delivery and utilities. Pro tips: rein in rising utility bills by using advanced power strips, only running the dishwasher when it’s full, and washing most of your clothes in cold water (then air-drying).
Stay busy on budget. Resist the temptation to spend a LOT on entertainment because you’re bored. Look for budget-friendly ways to have fun at home, like free trials of streaming or fitness apps, virtual game nights, and more.
Shop small. Spending intentionally and supporting local businesses is an easy way to give back. If you’re ordering takeout, call the restaurant directly. Then pick it up if you can do it safely. That means the business won’t have to split profits with delivery platforms, which could eat up 30% of your order cost. Hit up your friendly neighborhood Chamber of Commerce's website or use Yelp's tools to filter for different types of businesses (think: Black-owned, women-owned, family-owned, etc.) to support.
theSkimm: COVID-19 cases are on the upswing in the US. If renewed health and safety restrictions say you’re going nowhere for now, making smarter choices about your saving and spending can help keep your finances on track.
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