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How do you keep up with finances during the pandemic?

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Posted on Oct 28 2020
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Whether you’ve been furloughed, laid off, or still has a job, money just seem to be hard to come by these days. The financial climate during the pandemic is making everyone feel is that they should spend less, save, and live modestly. For some people, that could be a drastic lifestyle change. Everyone has different ideas and strategies about the amount of money they should spend or not spend in their daily lives.

“At the start of the lockdown here on Saipan, I decided to stock up on a lot of food and stuff needed in the house because of fear that the containers would stop arriving. I remember spending at least $200 a day for supplies and this went on for two weeks until I said I have stocked up enough. Overall, I remember spending $1,000 in two weeks. In the long run, it was cheaper for me because it is already October and I am still finishing all the canned goods, rice, pasta, and dog food I bought in April. If there is an urge to eat out, I just think of the goods I have stocked up, cook that, and stay at home. So I spent a lot in the beginning of the lockdown but, as months passed consuming those makes me spend less in a day.”
—Ina Cruz, Gualo Rai

“I discovered an app called Track My Spend by ASIC’s MoneySmart. Just type in your weekly budget and then type all of your spending. It’s really rewarding to see how much you spent, especially if it’s under budget.”
—Selina Magalang, Chalan Kanoa

“Ever since I started working at 18, I have always kept an ‘emergency fund’ where I get 20% off of my pay, deposit that and never see that money again until, of course, I have an emergency. In April, I was furloughed and it was the first time I tapped into that emergency fund. It helped me pay my rent, utilities, food, gas until I got my job back in August. I would say I spent less and wisely when I was using my emergency fund. Now that I have work, I am replenishing my emergency fund again.”
— David Cabrera, Dandan

“I got into gardening during the pandemic. I didn’t buy new plants, I just cut the ones in my mother’s garden, re-rooted, and repotted them. As for pots, some pots can be expensive here on Saipan so, instead of spending money, I learned how to ‘do it myself.’ I used damaged mineral bottles—gallons and some small ones stocked in our backyard. Cut the top part, poked holes at the bottom and colored them and they are instant cute pots now.”
—Cristina Attao, Capital Hill

“Food is my biggest expense pre-COVID-19. I live alone and get my food from take-outs. But now, I decided to skip take-out and do grocery shopping myself. I actually cannot believe that I can actually spend only $15 on groceries and food that would last me for two days or six meals. I still eat out on special occasions but, by doing my grocery, I get to be mindful of what I put in my cart and how much its costs.”
—Lyn Delgado, Garapan
“Our travel plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas were put off, so that is a huge savings for my family. Aside from that, my wife and I keep a monthly budget. We have cancelled some magazine subscription and just went online, which is way cheaper and happy to be surrounded by friends and a community that is giving. All of our 15-month-old baby clothes are all hand-me-downs.”
—Pete Roberts, Dandan

“I work as a waitress. I used to work in just one restaurant but, when an opportunity opened for a waitressing job in another restaurant with no conflict with my first work schedule, I grabbed it right away. Having an extra income never hurts.”
—Emily Mendoza, Garapan

“I started selling things that we don’t use—clothes, bags, and some kitchen equipment. We also do not turn on lights in any rooms that is not occupied at night; it saves us money on electricity bills. I cancelled my gym membership and just opted to do workouts that I get for free from YouTube. These are just little things but, all together, they can buy us groceries and pay other bills.”
—Tina Chavez, Kagman

MD: Money is really tight nowadays whether you were furloughed, laid off or have a job. The financial climate during the pandemic is making everyone feel is that they should spend less, save and live modestly- a total lifestyle change. Everyone has different ideas and strategies about the amount of money they should spend or not spend in their daily lives.
KW: Save Money budget Income

Bea Cabrera
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor's degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.
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