Since the lockdown and resulting unemployment from that, there has been an overall shift in spending habits. It’s not just that our income has dropped, but also because there’s no place to spend the money, since most everything is closed.
It’s a scaling back of all those extra things we spend on in everyday life; entertainment, dining out, clothes shopping, other shopping…anything that drives the consumer to spend his or her money beyond the basic necessities.
Now that the country is slowly (or not so slowly, depending on where you live) opening up, I’ve relooked at my budget and whether I want to get back to the increased spending I did before all this went down.
I’ve thought about it, and decided that I don’t want to do that again.
I have gotten into a routine of minimalist spending during the past couple of months. I am cooking at home, eating healthier for cheaper than dining out. I’m not much for going out into large crowds to watch entertainment, but the things I did have in place are cancelled, as is my writing retreat and a scheduled weeklong trip to Alaska.
This is saving us thousands of dollars, which is great, since we won’t have to dig deeper into our savings. And we are both content living a minimalist lifestyle.
It seems that life has gotten away from us over the past few years. We don’t have children to support, we both make good incomes, and we have a lot of things we want to do now, not when we retire (which may be never), but while we are still young enough to enjoy them. But it’s like the heat getting turned up slowly, and before you know it, you’re in boiling hot water. That’s how I feel about spending money. A budget is good, but if you have increased wants (not needs), the budget can continue to be expanded if we are not careful.
I’ve revisited my budget several times since March, and slowly eliminating items on my list. I don’t have a dining out or entertainment section. The vacation item is gone. I got rid of my wishlist that I have to help me save for the future. Gifts have been scaled back as I get more creative with my giving for upcoming birthdays. Even the Christmas savings is gone. I’ve even thought about getting rid of my car to help save several hundred dollars a month for something I haven’t been using, since I’m not working.
I just can’t afford it right now. I have had no choice but to minimize our budget and live on the one income we are bringing in.
It’s not all bad. If anything, it’s shown me that although I was saving money and on track, but I was also spending a lot of money too.
We are lucky to be bringing in one income, even if it’s only just enough to cover our basic bills. However, since we don’t have the opportunity to spend anyway, and have been forced into this minimalistic lifestyle, it ain’t so bad.
We have more time on our hands. We’ve found other ways to live and entertain ourselves. My husband has picked up a musical instrument and is learning how to play it from YouTube videos. We are learning Spanish from an app. I cook a lot because I enjoy it. Neglected home projects are getting attention. And I have shifted my committment towards writing and being more creative.
We still have a full life, it just looks a little different. And it’s cheaper.
That feels pretty good.