3 Smart Spending Habits As We Exit Pandemic Life From An Expert

mbg Financial Contributor By Brianna Firestone
mbg Financial Contributor
Brianna Firestone is a Financial Education Instructor certified by the National Financial Educators Council, and the founder of The School of Betty. Her expert advice has been featured in Money.com, Real Simple, and Business Insider. Firestone received her bachelor's in theatre from Stephens College and lives in Denver, Colorado.
3 Smart Spending Habits To Adopt As We Exit (!!) Pandemic Life

I don't know about you, but as we head into summer and our world opens up a bit more each day, I've had to keep my I want to do all the things urge in check. Can you relate? We've been through a lot. This past year and a half significantly altered how we live our lives, including how we spend money.

Perhaps the pandemic has been financially trying, or you found a new flow. Regardless of what the past 16 months have looked like for you, committing to some new intentions around money as you ease back into activities will serve you well—because the odds are high that what worked for you prepandemic might not do the trick now.  

These three simple actions can be used anytime you feel a shift coming on that will require you to adjust your budget. Your priorities will always adjust throughout life depending on where you are—that means your money plans need to flex with you. When you have a process to help you find your new money flow, you'll meet those life pivots with ease:

1. Assess your life values. 

So often we don't align our money with our dreams, which can lead us down a path of not feeling fulfilled. You'll know if you're out of alignment simply by looking at your bank account or credit card statement and checking in with how you feel about your purchases. 

Those that were fleeting and not serving a bigger goal or intention will probably hit you in the feels. But don't lose hope! All info is a data point. 

The quickest way to get into alignment: Know your values. Spending your money in alignment with your values feels very different: It's not laden with guilt and regret. Your values probably got a makeover during this pandemic along with your habits, behaviors, and your hobbies. Now is the perfect time to check in and decide what you want to stick with and what you need to tweak. 

Do you want to continue your weekly bread-making routine, or will you be trading that back for lunch with your friends? Take some time to check in and assess. It's a money move most individuals don't think about but has a huge impact on your bank account. 

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2. Realign your money flow.

One thing that will make you YOLO real quick is feeling restricted and like your budget doesn't allow you to have fun. Usually when this is happening, your spending isn't in alignment with your values and the things that bring you joy. Yes, you can certainly have moments when you don't have as much discretionary income to put toward those things, but a little bit goes a long way, and setting the intention can keep you focused. When we are spending in alignment with what is important to us, the FOMO and the YOLO kinda disappear. 

Now that you've assessed your values, it's time to actually take some action to make sure that money is flowing to the right places. Budgets are meant to be flexible, not rigid and restrictive. The simple structure of a budget is actually the thing that will allow for freedom and flow. So, if you want to keep some of those hobbies or habits you picked up during the pandemic, it's important to look at how they can fit into your financial flow in a post-pandemic life. 

There were many things in our lives that shifted, like buying gas, eating out, commuting time, etc. It's time to start thinking of that list of shifts so you can see how it might affect your resources. Write out everything with the costs so you can make intentional decisions and moves with your money. 

3. Block your money, time & energy.

We're not just talking about money flow, friend; we are also discussing your other two resources: time and energy. One thing is for certain, we got used to a certain flow during the pandemic, and it most likely looked drastically different from your previous daily schedule. Like everything in life, we want to make sustainable changes. That means: Be mindful of your money, time, and energy, and do not put yourself right back into habits you no longer desire.  

Now is the time to create lasting change and integrate your new habits. How much money will you be spending each week on activities? How much time? How much energy? Remember, we are never making a decision about one resource without considering the other two. So this isn't just about making sure you have enough cash to hit that yoga class or go to happy hour; this is also about making sure you aren't overextending yourself and packing that schedule to the brim

This is all about phasing into this next period of your life with as much ease as possible by allocating your money, time, and energy in ways that help support your overall satisfaction, joy, and health. Just because you did it prepandemic doesn't mean you have to go back to it. 

The takeaway. 

We've all experienced transformation on some level, and keeping the expectations that life is going back to "normal" will only create frustration. Be excited and open to finding your new money, time, and energy flow. This has been a reset like no other. If you adopted new habits during the pandemic that you love, let's do what we can do to keep it going. 

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