Lifestyle Wellbeing

Curbing Coronavirus Spending

It is no surprise that with increased time at home and little to no activities to fill that time with, I find myself scrolling through a seemingly endless array of online shops. I might not be spending money on meals out or drinks with my friends, but the amount I’m spending online is definitely on the rise, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. The call to buy new things has never been louder and online shops make instant gratification easy- it’s no wonder we find ourselves drawn to them. Although we all know that a new shirt won’t actually bring us eternal joy, the little hit of serotonin you get from hitting ‘buy now’ is definitely hard to resist. It might feel like right now frivolous spending is the only answer, but this isn’t forever. Whether you’re trying to save up for an amazing post-covid travel adventure, keep to your regular budget, or just re-examine your financial habits in general, we could all benefit from a few tips on sensible spending. I’m definitely no expert, but here are some tips and tricks I’ve been trying to implement in my own life to curb that covid spending. 

You’ve probably heard this a million times but I’m going to say it again, just for good luck. Set a budget. Budgeting is a great way to enact some self discipline, pay for everything you need, treat yourself and save for the future all at once. Think of it like a sort of pocket money you get to give yourself. Obviously a budget has to be personal, but a great place to start is with the 50 30 20 rule. The basic rule of thumb is to divide your monthly income into three spending categories: 50% for needs, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings, or paying off debt. Make sure that all of your essentials are covered before you start putting money into the other two categories, but how much you spend on wants and how much you put into spending is up to you. 

Remove your card details from your phone or laptop. Instant buy makes things too easy. Two clicks and I’ll have those new shoes by tomorrow morning- yes please. But if I have to get up from the couch, find my card, input the details- I think I’ll pass. Maybe this is just me being lazy, but I definitely think there’s something to be said for putting some obstacles in your own way. Another thing I really recommend doing is removing yourself from mailing lists and deleting shopping apps. You don’t need to constantly be up to date with what’s new in store or what the new trends are. If you need something, you’ll be able to find it. 

Another great way to make sure you’re really thinking over your purchases is to set yourself a checklist which items have to pass before you commit them to your basket: Is it in my budget? Will I be able to use it on more than one occasion? Do I already have something which would do the job? Your checklist can be whatever you want it to be, but the main aim is just to be a little more mindful of your purchases. Taking time to consider purchases can be really helpful. If it is an impulse buy, giving yourself 24 hours to think it over will help the impulse cool off. You’ll probably forget that it even existed.

Being in control of your spending is important and empowering. However, life is harder than usual just now, so don’t beat yourself up for every silly purchase. Just maybe next time you find yourself about to order £100 worth of Asos for completing your essay, consider running a bath or making yourself a cocktail. Rewarding and looking after yourself doesn’t always have to involve drying up your bank account, sometimes it just involves watching another episode of your favourite Netflix show.

image: QuinceCreative via Pixabay