Illustration for the article titled What To Do Before You Spend Yourself On Post-Pandemic Travel And Other SpendingPhoto: Rawpixel.com (Shutterstock)

While it’s easy to say “don’t spend too much” after the pandemic, the truth is that just under half of all Americans will indulge themselves with travel or shopping, even if it means they went into debt for it recently creditcards.com report. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to contain this expense so you don’t get into too much debt.

Reconsider your finances before you go shopping

Your personal financial situation has likely changed since the pandemic began, whether from deferred student loan payments or the number of TV streaming subscriptions you may have accumulated. Simply listing your income and expenses (by month and year) and writing down your financial goals can go a long way toward minimizing overspending.

If your new spending priority is a few thousand dollars on a trip, you may find that this is more achievable by canceling or cutting other expenses that suddenly seem less important after the pandemic. Therefore we recommend a subscription audit as part of your re-evaluation as you may have forgotten about some recurring expenses (such as the Peloton app subscription that you never use).

What if you’re not on a budget? This Lifehacker post will accompany you.

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Make sure your emergency fund is funded first

An emergency fund is a supply of money that covers unexpected expenses related to job loss or healthcare costs. Ideally, you want at least three months (if not six) of your recurring expenses to be covered by an emergency fund. If this fund has been used up by the pandemic, consider replenish this fund before planning large discretionary expenses, if you can.

Consider spending money on self improvement

There is a difference between “treating yourself” and celebrating a return to normal. For example, I toyed with the idea of ​​buying myself a new gaming laptop as a “reward” for spending less during the pandemic. But then I realized what really motivated my spending urge was the need to break my routine and that I preferred to socialize and get out into the non-digital world and do things. As a result, I signed up for a Rec sports league instead.

Everyone has different priorities, of course, but consider improving yourself – classes, book clubs, signing up for a personal trainer – as these activities can be both cheaper and more rewarding in the long run compared to traveling or shopping.

Track your spending after the pandemic

Similar to food tracking apps, it can sometimes be helpful to keep a rolling list of your expenses to identify bad habits, such as: B. Making unfortunate online purchases out of boredom because it’s 10 p.m. and you’ve had a few glasses of wine.

Ideally, your monthly budget should include some margin for discretionary spending. As you keep track of your daily expenses, you may find that you are spending more than what is budgeted so you can make adjustments accordingly. Also note the 24-hour rule for discretionary spending: If you really want something, waiting a day can’t hurt.

Plan for inflated travel prices

As we discussed earlier, Supply problems, and increased demand have raised the prices of many items, particularly travel items (cars, hotels, gasoline, and restaurants). Before embarking on a big trip, make a shortlist of destinations and compare the estimated cost first, as the price differences may surprise you.

For example, rental cars that are booked at airports cost twice or three times as much as before. In this case, flexibility is best: you want to plan your trip around the rental car (and where you pick it up) for the cheapest price, or maybe even forego rental cars altogether. This also applies to hotels and airline tickets. A little planning will go a long way.