- My husband and I have lost a chunk of our income because of the coronavirus, but we’ve also cut our expenses by about 50% because we’re staying home and social distancing.
- Instead of holding on to our “extra” money, though, we’ve decided to keep spending it, but not on local restaurants or concert tickets as we normally would.
- Instead, we’re supporting our friends who are artists – buying their work and hiring them to do things like build me a website – because they’ve been hit so much harder by this pandemic.
- Read more personal finance coverage.
When people say, “We are all in this together,” about the coronavirus, it is true. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been impacted financially, socially, and in almost every other way by the outbreak of COVID-19. There are some surprising impacts that the virus has had in my household that are different but not necessarily negative, and one of those things is how we spend money.
We recently received our first credit card bill since the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. We noticed the total of our charges was down about half from what we usually spend. We fall under the category of people who pay every possible bill with our card to gain cash back, and then we pay it off at the end of each cycle even if we occasionally have to dip into our savings to do it.
We’re supporting our friends with our ‘extra’ money
Since we can’t spend at restaurants, our favorite retail stores, go to the salon, buy tickets to concerts or plays, or travel, our monthly expenses have dipped way below average. The majority of what we spend now is on groceries. Although we are paying more at the grocery store, it doesn’t add up to the amount we usually spend at the businesses and services that are currently unavailable to us during this time of social distancing.
My husband and I have lost a chunk of our income, and the reduced credit card bill could make up for some of that, but we decided to spend the money that we would typically spend. Many of the people we know haven’t just lost a portion of their income like us; they have lost all of their income.
One of our friends is a substitute teacher, and due to school closures has no work. Other friends are creatives (writers and designers with anchor clients), and due to the impact on other businesses, some of their work has dried up. The way we decided to use our “extra” money during this time is to hire some of these people to help us with a wish list and help get some items we have procrastinated on checked off of that list.
Some of the items on our list are: hiring someone to build me a LinkedIn page, hiring someone to update our resumes to include our current experience, and having someone create a writer’s webpage (which I have wanted to do for several years).
Some other ideas are to hire friends who write for a living to edit essays and sign up for online classes from people we know who are offering them. Of course, hiring people to do these tasks isn’t going to help replace all of their income, but it could mean the difference between buying groceries and not.
This is our way of being on the ‘frontlines’ of fighting the virus
My husband is at high risk for complications from COVID-19, and because of this, we can’t work on the frontlines. Avoiding the frontlines doesn’t mean there is nothing we can do. By hiring people who are out of work, and giving directly to those providing food to local residents, we feel like we are doing what little we can (besides social distancing, which is something critical that we can all do).
Not only will our putting money into the pockets of those who have lost their jobs help us to feel our money is going to work in the best possible way, getting these projects and tasks done will help us, in the long run, to be more competitive in our fields when life gets back to normal. It’s a bit of a win/win in an otherwise depressing situation.
- Read more on managing your money in this tumultuous time:
- 3 options for people struggling to pay their mortgage during the global health crisis
- 4 reasons to get disability insurance, even if you don’t think you need it
- If you’ve been financially impacted by the coronavirus, you may be able to pause payments on these 8 bills
- How to get a stimulus check from the US government, which could pay up to $1,200 if you qualify
- In response to the coronavirus, credit card issuers like Amex and Capital One are letting customers skip payments without interest and more