Budgeting For Our Household In This Post-Pandemic World

I've waited for this very moment for more than two years.  Finally, we're easing into the new normal! More and more people are going out for work and even for leisure (a.k.a. revenge travel!). Even the schools have reopened and are going hybrid for everyone's convenience. But now that our family members are going out more often,  I realized that I have to include some budget for our daily safety essential, too. Guess what? We're not the only one experiencing this. In fact, with the rising prices of  commodities plus these additional expenses, an old budget may not work for  most families anymore.

Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

Our additional post-pandemic expenses

To be able to come up with our post-pandemic household budget, I started listing down these additional things that we needed to buy or pay for to cater for our new needs.

  • Face masks.  Who would have thought that wearing disposable face masks will be a daily thing? But now,  we have boxes  of face masks for everyone's use.  We're only four people in our household but I'm the only one who rarely goes  out nowadays. I even buy the more expensive 4-layered KF94 kind just to be sure that we're breathing clean air. These cost us around a thousand bucks a month.
  • Alcohol and other disinfectants and cleanser.  We now bring small alcohol spray bottles everywhere we go. At home, I have bottle sprays placed in strategic place. We're also running out of hand soap faster because of the  frequent hand  washing. Cans of Lysol, too.
  • Special cleaning equipment.  In the  first months of the pandemic, I  bought an air purifier online with  a HEPA filter that's changed yearly. We also have a nano spray gun with disinfecting liquid for spraying on items like online shopping parcels and shoes. For disinfecting face masks before reusing, I  bought a UV disinfecting lamp.
  • Vitamins and health supplements. Before this global pandemic, we seldom take multivitamins. We rely on the nutrients from the food we eat. But we needed to up our immunity so  now  we religiously  take in multivitamins and health supplements. 
  • Work-from-home essentials.  I think the biggest chunk of our pandemic expenses went to setting up my husband and son's work stations. Before this, I was the only one working online so I had my work area set up at a  small corner of our old kitchen. With the boys joining me at home, we had to buy   additional desks, computer chairs, external computer monitors, and other office  equipment. And from the lowest 50 mbps Internet plan, we had to upgrade to 300 mbps so my husband and son can take their online meetings flawlessly. Our current Internet subscription is now times 4 of our old, more affordable plan. And because my husband's is  still working from home  more than in his office, downgrading is out of the question. In fact, we're turning our pocket garden into a formal home office for the both of us. We  still have savings  left for this project but we also checked out some loan options should our allotted budget runs out. 

My new budgeting strategy

  • I plan my purchases. I create a monthly meal plan so I know what I should buy at the market or from the grocery store. From this plan, I create a list on my smart phone so I  can easily update it when needed. 
  • I take advantage  of sale  events. Since the pandemic taught me to shop online, I make sure to take advantage of sale events to stock up on our essentials. I not only get discounts but free shipping, as well.
  • We schedule our trips. As much as possible, we make it a point to take a ride together to save up on gas. My husband goes to his  office once a week so I also schedule my errands on that day so I can hitch a ride. Come to think of it, I also save on transportation costs while keeping myself safe, too.
  • Less buying and more doing. Months of not being able to go out also had me learning about a lot of  DIY stuff! So my mantra now is "If I can do it, I won't buy it!" It's more enjoyable, too.

I know that we're not the only ones experiencing post-pandemic budgeting stress so I hope you got a few tips from my new budgeting strategy. I would also love to learn about yours so please feel free  to write it in the comments!

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