So much has changed over the last year. Wearing masks. Being conscious of distances between people. Taking my health, including preventative care, seriously. But also more enjoyable things, like being more invested in my children’s schooling while they learned virtually at home. Below are four big financial lessons I’ve learned regarding finances over the last 12 months:
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
Or to do an old thing a new way. No, we don’t NEED to eat out twice a week. I can attempt to garden and or at least somewhat succeed (5 tomatoes and a dozen carrots count, right?). I can face my kitchen fears, including making homemade sourdough. Our next door neighbor does wood work and has made a playset for his children. I have clients that have taken up crafts to sell on Etsy to make a little extra money.
2. Technology Can Be My Friend
I never imagined appreciating turning on a camera and having a zoom appointment with clients when I started working with Apprisen 10 years ago. But it’s a way of sharing my screen and talking through a budget with someone in Maine or Hawaii the same way I would across the desk here in Lexington. On a personal level, it’s been a great stand-in for seeing relatives when we haven’t been able to travel and for learning far too many ditties about kindergarten sightwords on YouTube.
3. Re-evaluate Wants and Needs
So many costs I thought were necessary, just… aren’t. Haircuts and dry-cleaning costs can be stretched out. I don’t find the need to buy as many clothes and to replace items as often. I’ve moved to free online workouts. I love getting outdoors for a walk. Our local library made e-books and video rentals more accessible instead of going out for a movie. We really can do more with our budget than we thought we could–one of the financial lessons many can relate to.
4. Be Proactive About Finances
I’ve always been a frugal spender and figured that was good enough. But I’ve taken the last few months to re-evaluate and adjust so that I’m more mindful about what I’m doing. I’ve updated my budgets in our app of choice. I’ve prioritized savings and have been shopping around for a higher-interest savings account. As identity theft has increased so much in the last year, I’ve checked my credit reports with annualcreditreport.com to verify there’s no errors.
And really, as I’ve looked over my last year, many of these changes should have been happening even without a pandemic. There’s no such thing as over-prepared. And being flexible. While the reason for the changes has not been enjoyable, there’s also been a lot of positive change. And I look forward to the positive sticking for years to come.