It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed the spending habits of millions of Americans.
Many people have had to make tough choices on what to cut back on. And some of these changes are sure to stick permanently.
We polled our Clark.com Facebook audience in June 2020 to see which personal spending habits they’ve changed. Take a look at what they said, and check out the related advice from Team Clark.
1. Save More Money
User comment: Renee
“Saving more money. Really thinking about if it’s a need or a want.”
The key to saving more money is to educate yourself about your personal finances, from how much you earn every month to what you need to live on. The first step is to create a budget.
Learn more: How to Start Saving Money in 5 Steps
2. Build a Financial Emergency Kit
User comment: Donna
“I’m trying to put a little money aside every week to make sure my 2 “emergency kits” are stocked. One is for more hurricane preparedness (lists of recommended items can be found easily on hurricane preparedness sites) and the other box stocked with more “future pandemic” supplies like some masks, gloves, paper goods, cleaning wipes…not hoarding amount but I never even had any stocked before this! I’m making sure I have extra batteries, water, canned goods…just spending money on being a little more prepared than I used to be.”
Having an emergency kit is one of the smartest things you can do to safeguard yourself when disaster happens. Once you’ve made a list of supplies, don’t forget about your financial documents.
Learn more: What to Pack in Your Emergency Kit and Go-Bag
3. Pay Down Debt
User comment: Cindy
“Any money that comes in either goes to savings or to pay off debt after the regular expenses are paid. I’ve been working to get out of debt for a while, but after going through the last few months, I’m super focused! I never want to go through something like that again with a bunch of debt!”
Getting out of debt isn’t easy, but it can be done. Your efforts will pay off if you have a strategy. Start by adding up your debts and then go from there.
Learn more: How to Get Out of Debt
4. Cook Meals at Home and Eat Out Less
User comment: Kevin
“I’ve discovered how much money I save by not eating out. I’ve also realized that ordering for pickup from stores saves me money as well. I’m less likely to impulse buy. I think I will continue with eating out less and ordering for pickup. I actually have a decent savings account going and have been able to invest.”
Many Americans are seeing a difference in their wallets when they don’t eat out as much. Big savings can come from doing something as simple as making a list, changing where you shop or switching to generic brands.
Learn more: How to Save Money on Groceries
5. Reduce Health and Beauty Expenses
User comment: Teresina
“I cannot bring myself to spend $200 a month on nails, massage & facials again. I’ve lived nicely without them and will consider them as treats going forward. I have that money from the past four months and I like the money better.”
As you think about ways to save, take a good look at your routine expenses. Making some of these expenses less routine will put money back into your pocket.
Learn more: 30+ Ways to Reduce Expenses
6. Support Local Businesses
User comment: Kathryn
“Supporting local businesses instead of big-box anytime I can. But also, as long as bills are paid and retirement is funded I’m not waiting for a rainy day to have a little fun.”
It’s important to support local businesses for several reasons, including maintaining a vibrant community and having a more personalized shopping experience. Going local may also agree with your budget. And it’s OK to splurge every once in a while.
Learn more: 8 Splurges That Can Save You Big Money Over Time
7. Buy American-Made Products
User comment: Heather
“Buy America made items!”
Purchasing American-made items can help keep local businesses running and support domestic job growth. It’s easier than you think to find great deals on items made exclusively in the United States.
Learn more: 100+ Brands That Are 100% Made In the USA
8. Limit Impulse Buys
User comment: Lisa
“I will not be spending on impulse and limit meals in restaurants.”
One of the quickest ways to eat into your budget is by impulse buying. When you see something you want, it’s best to think twice before you buy it. If you do decide to purchase, make sure you keep the receipt.
Learn more: How to Resist Impulse Buying
As you can see, people realize that now is the time to take a close look at spending habits and make some smart money moves. From cutting back on routine expenses to eating out less, almost all of us can improve our finances if we make the effort.
If you have any more suggestions on how to save, let us know in the comments!