Mas Tipid Nga Ba? Homemakers Weigh In On Family Spending During The Lockdown
Are you saving more or spending more? Survey says …
Moving our work to the confines of our homes and enrolling our kids to online classes – this is our new normal for now, and though 11 months have already passed, it may take a longer while before we can taste a semblance of our pre-COVID lives.
Having stayed home since the country was put on quarantine in March 2020, one could not help but wonder how households have fared in terms of expenses. It may be easy to assume that staying home has helped families save more money, but is this really the case for everybody?
OneLife.ph asked homemakers through an online survey conducted within a small, targeted group if they saved or spent more money during the quarantine, and this is what the results show.
Spent less: 62%
Out of 50 respondents, 31 believe that the situation has made it more economical for their families. Most of them say that they saved up on the cost of transportation, food allowance, and other purchases they normally make when they go out.
This is especially true for those who traveled a lot before the pandemic. With stay-at-home orders, even domestic travel is limited, and protocols are in place should you wish to go on a trip.
Others pointed out that the mere fact they seldom take a trip to the mall nowadays has helped them resist the temptation to splurge on food and shopping.
One of the women who answered the survey explains that tightening the purse strings on online workshops and tutorials has helped them save up. Another has brought it up a notch by reallotting the money they no longer spend to pay off their credit card debt. Still another says she canceled their postpaid plans because their home Wi-Fi system was enough for their communication needs.
“We spend less because there’s a conscious effort to focus our spending on the essentials (food, medicine, and household needs). We still treat ourselves once in a while, but far less than before,” a participant shares.
Spent more: 20%
While most of those who responded say they saved more during the quarantine period, 10 participants say they actually spent more.
A couple of moms say that they feel compelled to buy their children things to help ease their boredom and manage their restlessness with things that keep them busy. Another says that her children have been asking to buy stuff nowadays more than they did before the lockdown.
“I want to make my kids happy especially since they can’t go out anymore, so I give them what they want,” one mom says boldly.
Some families say that they saw an increase in their household bills – electricity, water, and other utilities -- because everyone is at home. A couple of respondents say they tend to hoard and buy things from the stores whenever they get a chance to go out because they aren’t sure when the next time would be.
One special case was of a family that has been shelling out more money to support relatives who have lost their jobs because companies were forced to retrench employees.
A respondent pointed out that the prices of groceries have skyrocketed, making the quarantine period particularly expensive for everyone. Another mom agrees, saying they have been stocking on food because the “prices of crops tend to increase.”
Some of the parents who work from home admit that they have been ordering in more often nowadays, as it can be a challenge to cook three meals a day on top of all the work they have to accomplish for the day.
No difference in expenses: 18%
A handful of families who answered the survey say their expenses during the lockdown have been just the same as before. The money they used to spend on former purchases have been diverted to necessary expenses applicable to their current situation.
For example, one mom says that since the family is home all the time nowadays, they had to increase their budget for groceries, utilities, and home entertainment, such as their Netflix subscription.
One woman laughingly admits that she has been shopping online and buying from online sellers more these days.
Another says that they had to buy gadgets in the beginning of the quarantine to adjust to the new norm, but later had to cut down on unnecessary expenses and luxuries so they can afford to pay for the things that they actually need.
Others say that whatever money they saved on transportation allowance was merely diverted to medical supplies (face masks, vitamins), while others boosted their internet subscriptions and licensed meeting apps like Zoom for work and their children’s online classes.
One sobering response that came up was, “Medyo tipid-tipid po ngayong quarantine. Pilit pagkakasyahin ang maliit na kita.”
While most families say that the quarantine has been more economical for them in terms of cash and savings, one mom reflects that there are trade-offs: There are more clothes to launder, dishes to wash, and more messes to clean up since everyone is always home.
Some people have the capability to stretch their funds or save up during the quarantine, while there are others who continue to make ends meet with what little salary they earn to provide for their families. Different families, different backgrounds and needs -- but one thing we can all agree on is that we can’t wait for the lockdown to be finally lifted so we can all go on with our lives as we should.