Every day we’re getting more and more good news. Vaccine production is ramping. More shots are getting into arms. We hear that everyone that will want a vaccine in the United States can get it starting May 1st. We’re still a little bit away from that but there is a chance we could actually have a normalish Fourth of July. Summer 2021 could kick off our Roaring 20s.
All of those things you’ve wanted to do the last year – see your family, see your friends, go out to eat, go on trips and more can get pretty expensive pretty quickly. So, how do you celebrate the roaring 20s and plan your spending before it gets out of control? Prioritize what’s most important to you, look for the best deals and make sure you spend within your meals.
Know What Your Means Are
It’s important to live within your means. What your means are may be different than before the pandemic due to job changes or being able to save up extra over the past year. Whatever it may be, know how much money you’ll have available to spend over the next 6 months – 1 year. Then, know how much money you’re willing to spend over that same time period. These two numbers may be different. You may have more money available to spend, but you may want to now have a bigger emergency fund, pay down your student loans or increase your investments. Alternatively, you may have other life changes on the horizon (starting a family, starting a career) and have plans that are now or never opportunities and it’s worth it to save less than usual.
Prioritize What Is Most Important
You’ve given up a lot over the past year. Once things are safe again, where do you start? It’s not just about money, it’s also about how you’ll prioritize your time. Prioritize the most important things to you and then spend money on doing those things first. We’ve also been reminded over the past year that some of the most important things are really free. Being able to hug your parents, or go to a playground without worry for example.
Also consider, what did you used to spend money on that you should continue to not spend money on? For example, perhaps you used to spend a lot of money commuting. Can you go full time remote or hybrid so that you don’t have to spend as much money commuting as you did in 2019? This past year has taught us all how to spend more consciously and how easy it is to save money when we can’t travel, eat out and go to concerts. As life gets back to normal figure out what expenses shouldn’t come back. Similarly, don’t forget to budget new expenses you have that didn’t exist in 2019. About 33% of Americans considered getting pets in 2020 and according to CNBC dog owners spend an average of $1,200 a year on their dog.
Opening up safely may come gradually. That international trip you wanted to go on may have to wait a little longer. For anything that’s your top priority but can’t be done yet set aside some money for that so you don’t find yourself in a situation where you don’t have enough money to do the thing you really want to do.
Restart Your Life How You Want It
The pandemic didn’t just put our spending on hold, it put our lives on hold in other ways. Many parents had to juggle home schooling with working, and some had to put their own career plans on hold to survive the last year. Reassess your own goals, and what it will take to achieve them. These may look wildly different than what they were in 2019 and that’s ok. Where do you want to live? Where do you want to travel? Who is most important to spend time with? What do you want your career to look like? What do you want your usual weeks to look like? This may mean a promotion and more money, this could mean taking a step back and making less money. It’s something you’ll have to weigh as you reassess where your time and financial priorities lie in the post pandemic world.
Don’t Forget About Your Mental Health
The pandemic has been pretty traumatic and has affected everyone differently. In May 2020, the US Census Bureau found that about one-third of clinical anxiety or depression. If you run a marathon, do you immediately continue your pre-marathon training schedule the very next day? No, you take time to assess what you need for your physical recovery and do just that. We need to do the same as we emerge from the pandemic. There are plenty of resources to help with your mental health. Know what is covered under your insurance and make sure you take the time you need to heal your mental wellbeing.
Don’t Forget Sometimes The Most Important Things Are Free
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make up for all of the things we lost over the past year. And while the year has been tough, we did gain a lot like appreciation for the simple things, the ability to slow down for a little, not having to spend a ton of time commuting and more. Hugging your parents or catching up with a friend doesn’t have to come with the expense of a $200 dinner. Remember, people are just happy to be with you in person again.
Find Deals On Housing
One of your largest, if not largest, expenses is housing. The less you can spend on housing the more money you have to spend on other fun activities or increasing your savings. If you rent, there is an opportunity to find a better deal on housing. Over the past year, what have you learned about where you want to live and what you want in your home? With many people moving back in with parents or leaving the city rents were in free fall in many cities in 2020. While rents have started to rebound there are still plenty of deals on renting in the city in 2021. In Boston, rents are down over 8% and in San Francisco rents are down over 12% for example according to the Home Buying Institute. As interest picks up landlords will have less incentive to offer these deals so signing a lease sooner than later will leave you more likely with a rent reduction or even a couple months of free rent. Waiting until later could cost you hundreds of dollars a month.
See Also: 10 Financial Tips For Living On Your Own
Find Travel Deals
Now that you’ve prioritized what’s most important, how do you still find good deals for vacations, seeing family and more? If you’re prioritizing seeing family or traveling book your travel ASAP. Many of the best deals were already 6 months ago when there was still a lot of uncertainty. Because there is still some uncertainty though your best bet is to start booking refundable flights and lodging now while the hospitality industry is still trying to lure people back. Make sure you know what the policies are to cancel or reschedule in case you do have to push it back.
See Also: 5 Tips To Save Money On Travel
Find Deals for Clothing And Other Physical Goods
Most people that have been able to work from home the past year have spent most of their time in the same loungewear outfits. With most people spending more time at home than usual many have taken the opportunity to organize their closets. They’re donating clothes and also selling them. This has led to a lot of great finds at thrift stores, Poshmark, The RealReal and local consignment stores already. For the best deals, buy secondhand or buy clothes when no one else is buying.
The Roaring 20s are Coming Back – Plan Your Spending Before It Gets Out of Control Summary
It has been a long year and we’re all excited for things to get closer normal. We’re excited to see friends and family, be able to travel again, pick up the hobbies we’ve had to put on hold and more. Before you spend all your money make sure you know what your financial limits are and what is most important to you. Prioritize your money, prioritize your time and remember, don’t feel guilty about spending money. We’ve sacrificed a lot over the past year, enjoy seeing the people you’ve missed, the places you’ve missed and completing your bucket list.