A Money Moment for "The New Normal"
A post from our Partners at the UF/IFAS Extension Office for Hernando County:
Scott E. Taylor
Family and Consumer Science Agent
So you’re having to work from home, and the kids are out of school, all because of the current health situation. Along with these distractions from a social standpoint, don’t forget that your spending habits may very well be different during this period.
We know it is always a great idea to be tracking your spending to ensure that you are making the wisest money decisions, it becomes more critical in times such as this.
Let’s look at a few spending areas that will be definitely changing:
First, your food budget is probably going to increase significantly because the kids are at home for more meals, very much like during the summer break from school. If you have an idea of how much is normally spent during summer, that is a good estimate to use when building your budget. Also include your meals (if you don’t normally take your lunch to work) as this will increase either the frequency or quantity of groceries being consumed. If you normally eat on the economy when working, then calculate the amount you normally spend on lunches and add that back to your budget to offset the grocery increase.
Next, your utilities may increase as more electricity and other utilities are being used, as you and your family are home for more hours of each day. The kids may be having to spend more time online for school work, as well as the additional amount you will be online. These increases may not be significant, but it is still a good idea to plan for them.
On the other side of the budget equation, the amount being spent on fuel may actually be reduced as your commute is eliminated. If you are normally putting $50 worth of gas in your vehicle each week to get back and forth to work, that would be $200 more a month that can be used to offset other expenses that are increasing.
A little attention to these spending areas of our budget at the beginning of this new normal, will allow you and your family to focus on successfully navigating these unusual and difficult times.