Your pandemic money mindset can have a huge impact on your life and finances. Though we’d all rather not be in this situation, there are some positive money mindset shifts you can make to deal with the pandemic and see a different perspective.

You might have been furloughed, unemployed, or dealing with an income loss. Even if you aren’t, now is a time to be prudent with money. Here are five pandemic money mindset shifts to make. 

1. Getting your money’s worth on rent 

I live in Los Angeles, where rent isn’t exactly cheap. One thing I keep thinking about is that I am definitely getting the most money’s worth out of my rent right now.

I am literally in my apartment 99 percent of the time. So, next time you’re feeling stuck or depressed by being indoors so much, have a perspective shift and remind yourself that at least you’re putting that rent money to use! 

Rent is typically the highest expense for people. So, even if that’s your highest budget item, you are putting that money to good use. Be thankful for the roof over your head (something I think about every day as there are many homeless people where I live in Hollywood) and know the money you pay for rent is keeping you safe.

2. Now is a great time for a pantry challenge 

If you want to get your finances in order, cutting back on food and groceries in general can help. One thing you can do during the pandemic is limit your exposure at stores and do a pantry challenge. 

A pantry challenge is when you decide to not go shopping and use everything in your pantry. That pasta that has been sitting there for a while? Time to use it. Those beans just sitting there in a can? Put them to use and make some chili (perfect for fall!).  

Now is a great time to do a pantry challenge and use all of the food you have. The pantry challenge forces you to use what you have before buying more, which is a good financial lesson in itself. 

Get creative with your recipes and track your food budget to see how much less you can spend this month compared to last. It could help inspire some new recipes and shift your grocery spending. 

3. Saving money on gas and saving the environment 

Being at home all the time can get dull but one mindset shift is to think of all the gas money you’re saving. No longer are you filling up the tank every week. No longer are you scoping out which gas station has the best price. There’s no more hour-long commute and tons of traffic. 

Right now is good for your money because you’re probably saving lots on gas. On top of that, you’re also saving the environment. There’s already data that shows that the environment is healing itself with so much less activity. 

So let’s look at the bright side. You’re saving money on gas, you’re saving time on the commute and saving the environment. Having this awareness and money mindset shift can help you be resilient during these tough times. 

4. Netflix subscription is getting maxed out 

Have you been binging Netflix during quarantine? You certainly are not alone. I have been catching up on shows and movies like it’s going out of style. 

According to data by The NPD group, average weekly Netflix usage surged 72% in the U.S. since the pandemic hit. 

So, the good news from this is that you are getting your money’s worth out of Netflix. You can watch movies or shows at any time you want, pull up kid’s movies to help with childcare, and more. 

You can set up a fort to watch movies or project them on a blank wall. Making it fun can help us get through and enjoy the experience more. Be happy you are definitely putting this subscription to use. It’s also a good reminder to ditch any other subscriptions you aren’t using. 

5. No more spending due to peer pressure 

When you’re on a budget, sometimes you have to say no to things. You want to stick to the budget and you can’t do everything you want. Sometimes we succumb to peer pressure when we’re out with friends. You’re at the bar and your friends want to stay and get another drink. Your family wants to go out to dinner to a fancy restaurant you can’t really afford.

There are many situations where you might feel peer pressure to spend more. Whether it’s to have fun or fit in, it’s easy to get persuaded when we don’t want to stand out or be a killjoy. 

The good news about being home bound more often than not because of the pandemic is that we can avoid those social situations where we might end up spending far more due to peer pressure. 

Think about all the things you used to do with friends and save that money. You can take the rough amount of what you would spend and put it in a savings account. You can use that money for your own dreams or even boost your emergency fund during these shaky times.

Bottom line 

There’s no denying things are difficult for many people right now. The impact of the pandemic on our finances and mental health are certainly real. What we can do to help is work to shift our mindset so we can look at things with a fresh perspective. This will never be a “good” experience but we can try to find the good things that we can derive out of this situation. Using these five money mindset shifts, you could make pandemic living a bit easier and lighter.

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