COVID-19 certainly is having many negative effects on household budgets, especially if your hours were cut or job eliminated unexpectedly. However, for those of you secure in your jobs, you may just have more money left at the end of the month. Quarantine perhaps is the ultimate assistant in controlling your cash flow.
Often cash flow issues come down to identifying and prioritizing spending. Sometimes, Impulse buying when you are at a store, eating out often, and shopping as “retail therapy” are hard habits to break. It is all very tempting, trust me, I feel your pain. Resisting these temptations, especially after a long day at work can be a challenge. Covid however made us all change our routines and reexamine our priorities.
A study highlighted in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology titled Everyday Temptations: An Experience Sampling Study of Desire, Conflict, and Self-Control displays how willpower, or the power to resist temptations depletes over time. According to the study, we have a limited stock of will power every day, so when you get home from a long day at work, sitting at a restaurant may be just what you need to relax. Perhaps that is some well-deserved relaxation, however, for those of us dealing with cashflow issues, these temptations are deadly to our wallet, and for those of us calorie (ahem height) challenged, our waistline!
Quarantine has taken these choices out of our hands. Restaurants, stores, stadiums, parks, and many more of our favorite activities have been completely shut down for months. Perhaps this forcible removal of discretionary spending is exactly what we need to keep our cash in our wallets. I am not saying not to enjoy your life, but perhaps this is a good time to reflect on your spending priorities. Whether you are running a household, a business, or a non for profit, your spending plan should be a reflection of what is important to you or your organization. Take a moment to be mindful of your spending priorities and set a path forward for the return to normalcy in the future. Maybe your emergency funds, retirement accounts, or college funds will blossom with your new found “will power”.
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