Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine lifted the state’s mask mandate and COVID-19 health orders on June 2; and Kentucky is soon to follow with Gov. Andy Beshear removing capacity restrictions and most mask mandates by June 11. If you’ve been avoiding public spaces or limiting visits to friends and family over the past year it may feel intimidating to suddenly reintroduce the associated costs–more money spent on gas and things like eating out–into your budget. Never fear! Below are some tips to help you avoid overspending as the area starts opening back up.
3 ways to avert post-pandemic overspending
1. Expect changes
Over a third of U.S. households worked from home more frequently during the pandemic, according to the United States Census Bureau.1 If you’re a part of this figure, you may have noticed spending less money at the pump or on clothing.
Once you’re back in the office (or if you’re already back), these work-related expenses will reenter the mix of things to budget for. Yelp reported a 46% increase in restaurant reservations when comparing April 2019 figures to April 2021.2 If you’re sick of your own cooking and comfortable going out again, review your budget to see how often you can dine out guilt-free.
Itching to travel? You’re not alone. Nine in ten Americans plan to travel in the next six months.3 Whether journeying a few states over or across the country, you’ll need to plan for things like transportation, lodging, and more. Luckily, there are many ways to lower the cost of travel.
- Tip: See where your money is going with General Electric Credit Union’s (GECU) online budgeting tool! You’ll get an accurate read on the categories you spend the most on.
2. Avoid “revenge spending”
After over a year of empty calendar months, you may feel pressured to catch up on lost time – AKA “revenge spending.” Pump the breaks! Assess your budget before making significant purchases and be mindful of how much you can allocate toward unnecessary expenses. It’s wonderful to start enjoying life again, but you don’t want to set yourself back with a poor financial decision. Use a budgeting tool through a bank or credit union to set savings goals for big-ticket items.
Always keep your eye on emergency savings as well. GECU’s Round-Up savings program helps you build a nest egg with each purchase.* If a restaurant bill is $49.20, we’ll round the purchase up to $50 and deposit 80¢ into a GECU savings account.
3. Ignore comparisons
Your neighbor installed granite countertops during the pandemic and your friends are going on a beach vacation this summer. Don’t fall into the comparison trap. Stay focused on your financial needs and goals. Sometimes, you may compare yourself to people you don’t even know! This is easy to do on social media, so limit scrolling time.
Cincinnati’s Best Credit Union (thanks, CityBeat readers!) is ready to help you enjoy your summer. We strive to Improve the Quality of Financial Lives so you can focus on having fun with friends and family. GECU membership eligibility is simple: You just have to live, work, worship, or go to school in select counties in Ohio (including all of Greater Cincinnati!), Kentucky, or Indiana.**