I know we're all looking forward to takeaways on Tuesday. But don't squander your financial gains from level 4.
Takeaways and online shopping will go bananas for a while thanks to pent up demand from those who have the cash or can get the credit.
Cutting off all pleasures is never going to work. So do plan for that celebratory McDonald's drive-thru meal and maybe buy some sort of treat or toy online. Then only do it again when you have budgeted treat money.
One of the fairly unique aspects of lockdown in New Zealand was that we mostly couldn't spend for love nor money. Americans and Aussies can buy online to their hearts' content, and even in Italy you could get Uber-like home delivery of food from Glovo.
Here it has been hard to spend money on more than the basics of life, even if some dubious "essentials" have become available. We also haven't been able to use our cars, which has saved most of us a lot.
Retreating into our bubbles has given us time to think about how we spend. If your spending has been reined to more within your means, now is the time to spend some and save some.
Keep up the good work and allocate a set amount of that freed up spending at the beginning of each month to pay down debt or build a safety net and savings. Maybe keep living like you did in level 4 to get ahead, or your head above water.
We have a recession on the way in life after lockdown so please don't return to your old ways ... yet. Even when we go to level 2 or level 1, we're not out of the woods. Our economy has taken a huge hit and the fallout will affect every one of us financially. Some more than others.
On the food front, a lot of new premium options for eating at home and grocery shopping have arisen during level 4. Don't let your food shopping get out of hand because you've got into the habit of buying lockdown frozen dinners or premium ingredients delivered to your door.
Build up a repertoire of two or three standard 10-minute dinners that you always have the ingredients for. The ones that can arrive on the table quicker than Uber Eats. Google "10 minute meals" and there are endless ideas.
Cook extra when you don your apron and freeze some extra portions as "takeaways" and lunches. Try not to forget the way you created meals during lockdown with whatever you had in the pantry.
Analyse all your spending from level 4 and reflect on the budgeting habits you might want to keep in your repertoire going forward. It's easier to break down what you've spent during lockdown than almost any other time in your adult life. Use those figures as a starting point for a budget.
For example, take your overall food spending from level 4, which for most of us is the supermarket bill only, and create some spending limits for basics, treats, and takeaways/lunches. It's really important to look at your supermarket trolley and online shopping basket and ensure that only the essentials come under basics.
You might be tempted to buy things simply because you can. I've found myself wanting to do that. If you let that need pass until the money is budgeted for you might find that you never do spend that money.
As for clothes shopping, just give it a break for a while. Celebrate the clothing in your wardrobe that you haven't worn for the past four weeks.
Another great lockdown habit to keep up is to do without, borrow, or repurpose, before buying. When I wanted cheesecloth during lockdown I eventually repurposed a bra bag for the job.
The aim of living like level 4 is to weather then next "black swan" storm in an even better way than you and/or your business did this one.
Somewhat contradictorily I do need to say if you still have your full income or are living comfortably within your means then please support all those small businesses, (and charities) that used to help you. Keep paying your personal trainer, your cleaner, and buy vouchers through SOS Café; https://sosbusiness.nz.
And if you know someone who has been beside him or herself during lockdown, make contact and see what you can do. It might just involve you doing research about how to help them.