During these last few months, many of us have had to make do with less income, some with substantially less. However, while we may have been earning less, we may also have found that we spend less due to reduced opportunities to go out and spend.
Yes, because many general expenses have increased; some will have lost their jobs, been furloughed from work, or have not received work orders or applications, thus being restricted to spending more time at home. They may have established a home office or supported homeschooled children.
Some will have saved on travel, clothes, outings and haircuts, but will have had to pay more for food, fuel and home entertainment. Interestingly, 9 out of 10 people who have worked from home have expressed a preference to continue doing so. It has become a comfortable and safe way of living.
So how has it been for you? Are you getting along with less or are you anticipating vulnerable times ahead?
Shopping online has become the norm for many people and home delivery companies have thrived. But equally, since the beginning of the lockdown, many of us have discovered how much less is needed to live successfully. Our homes may have been thoroughly cleaned and upgraded, and that investment allows us to feel comfortably settled there. We’ve fitted in with beautiful colors, textures, upgraded decor, and maybe even a few homemade masterpieces from the kids.
Let’s look at ways to continue managing well with less:
Many people have lost their jobs or face an uncertain future after furlough. The result is perhaps working part time, fewer hours, or moving from staff to contract work. Managing with less has become a harsh reality.
– Many people have found ways to cut back and save and have been surprised to discover how their priorities have changed. Concerns about leaving home or ordering food online have meant they’ve become more imaginative about using what’s in stock, learning how to cook, making ingredients go further, sharing surplus with neighbors or grow your own produce. Batch cooking, freezing and swapping with other households has made a lot of economic sense.
– Those who shop online have found that using a list or repeating their regular order has reduced the temptation to make impulse purchases. But equally, when visiting stores in person, many people don’t want to browse, but instead know exactly what they want, get those items quickly, and walk away.
– And buying clothes or shoes in person has largely lost its appeal due to queues, one-way systems, not trying on or being offered only one shoe at a time. It has become a strange and unpleasant way to shop, a great inducement to spend less!
In the future, as restrictions begin to ease, there could be positive lessons to take forward.
– Working from home and conducting meetings or networking online has resulted in casual dress, thus reducing the need for business attire. After the initial outlay for equipment, technology, training, and setup, an additional allowance may be needed for heat, power, online capacity, and incidentals, but less is spent on travel and office space.
– The largest amount of clothing. may now be considered unnecessary, why not organize ways to trade your unwanted almost new clothes with friends? Maybe host a social gathering and maybe even charge a small fee for charity, letting people get together and recycle their clothes, shoes and accessories.
– When you have less income it is good to reflect on other ways of living well. You may already be using skill trades off the record, doing bookkeeping in exchange for repairs, or cooking or baking in exchange for gardening, decorating, babysitting, tuition, or other support. Be resourceful and find ways to trade without the need for money to change hands.
– Socialization has been greatly reduced, with many relationships that are maintained online. Having less income means we have to rethink how to move forward. Safari dinners are a fun way to connect in person on the cheap over dinners, with one course in each home, sharing expenses as you move from home to home. For variety, you could introduce a theme, such as dress-up, murder mystery, or elegant elegance.
– Maintain contact with the family. and the social group is important and finding imaginative ways to do this is not always easy. Online book clubs, quiz nights, music events, and dance parties have come into their own. In person, walks, scavenger hunts, game nights, picnics, amateur theater can all play their part.
– Going forward, pampering nights could replace more expensive visits to the salon, where a few friends share products and trade treatments over snacks. Card nights, board games, and discussion groups can also be cheap and fun ways to socialize, especially come fall and winter evenings.
– Involve the children. with their own tasks and responsibilities, where they earn credits perhaps for a reward. Encourage them to put down their devices with crafts, outdoor games, and maybe let them plan an event, like a picnic or a day out.
Some practical ways to get by with less include learning to cook, being more vigilant about turning off the lights, making sure you use what you have in stock, checking your bank statements to make sure your direct debits are correct, and that you’re not paying. out of date memberships or insurance. If you commute to work, could carpooling be feasible? And if you’re really struggling, consider joining a Credit Union, an initiative created to help you with tips on managing your money.