How I spend Differently During the Pandemic - News-Credit-Mortgage-Coin

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Saturday, April 11, 2020

How I spend Differently During the Pandemic

My family and I spend a lot more on groceries and housewares. This is how my credit card strategy changed



Summary

A month after the COVID-19 pandemic started, my family and I spent dramatically less on travel, restaurants and entertainment, and significantly more on food and other household items. This is how my credit card strategy changed.


Like most households, my family has been spending money differently lately.
We spend dramatically less on travel, restaurants and entertainment, and significantly more on food and other household items.

I have been working from home since March 10, when the COVID-19 pandemic in the New York City area really increased (I live in the suburbs and work in the city). That saves me about $ 350 a month in ticket costs. In addition, we have not bought gasoline since March 1st. In normal times, we spent an average of $ 100 a month on gasoline and car maintenance.

We haven't eaten in a restaurant in over a month, or even ordered takeout or delivery. We typically spend about $ 350 a month on outdoor food. We save about $ 300 a month for our daughter's after school activities and $ 250 for gym membership. We're also saving around $ 100 on haircuts and beauty treatments. Total Monthly Savings: $ 1,450.

The only things we've spent money for in the past 30 days are groceries (nearly $ 1,200, up from $ 900 usually) and other household items (about $ 600, which is double our usual $ 300) Dollar corresponds). Part of it is a stockpile, and another part is a function of eating at home. Although these categories have increased by a total of $ 600, shutting down my family's coronavirus still saves $ 850 a month.

How the COVID 19 crisis changed my card strategy

Cash back cards are much more useful than travel cards at the moment. With my Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express I get a lot of value in the grocery store. It gives me 6% cashback in US supermarkets (up to $ 6,000 in annual spending, then 1% thereafter). Just a few days after the start of the second quarter, I'm halfway to that threshold.

I am happy that my Chase Freedom card returns 5% cashback in grocery stores, gyms and health clubs and chooses streaming services in April, May and June (up to $ 1,500 for combined purchases after activation, then 1%). I will make maximum use of the Freedom promotion and then return to the Blue Cash Preferred. At some point, probably by August or September, I have exhausted both food limits and have to use my best card for everything else, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards credit card (2 miles per dollar on all purchases). .

This is a first world problem, but the venture card (which I signed up for in February) wasn't as lucrative as I hoped it would be. Miles are most valuable when redeemed for travel (1 cent each if you use the Buy Eraser feature, and possibly even more if you transfer to Capital One's airline partners).

Since my travel expenses have stopped, tens of thousands of kilometers are waiting to be used. I would have thought of redeeming them for gift cards since venture miles used to be worth the same penny each for gift cards, but Capital One recently discontinued this option. I could spend my miles on Amazon.com for 0.8 cents per mile, but I'm going to be stuck right now.

I also lost (at least temporarily) $ 85 in value from this card because I wanted to use the TSA Preliminary Exemption. However, I had to cancel my planned pre-check interview because of social distance. While redeeming 32,200 miles for my March train pass, I never got close to the retail value of $ 322 because I stopped commuting unexpectedly 10 days a month.

My Citi Premier® card has not been used for similar reasons. Problems in the first world again, but I accidentally chose a bad year to deal with travel cards that charge annual fees. I've heard that some Citi Premier cardholders get their $ 95 annual fee back. I will ask about it when mine renews in the fall.

I probably won't be booking a big trip for a while, even after COVID-19 has calmed down. I expect my family trip to be canceled in June. So if we can set a later date for later in the year, we will use these credits.

I guess my experience is typical. It shows why it should take a while for travel and credit card companies to recover, even after the economy reopens. There will be pent-up demand, but surely a lot of activity will be lost forever and there will be a backlog of credits that need to be processed before new money is spent.

Saving money is not worthwhile in times of social distancing

I want to make it clear: we are very lucky. I am thankful that my family and I are healthy. It is also a luxury to have a permanent job and to be able to work from home.

I feel very bad for everyone who has fallen victim to the medical and economic aspects of this pandemic. And I sincerely thank the doctors, nurses and first aiders who fight on the front line.

This is a difficult time even for the happiest of us. It's cute when I see my five year old FaceTiming with her classmates and zoom in on her dance class, but it's also heartbreaking. I want it to be part of things and not be held behind a screen.

In the context of what happened, it isn't worth saving $ 850 at all. It's savings in the sense that it's money that we haven't spent, but it's not the way we want to live our lives longer than necessary.

The silver lining is a simple delight. Throwing a ball at my daughter, having dinner with my family, reading a book in the sunshine, and running around the neighborhood has grown in importance. These are things that I want to continue to appreciate after the world gets faster again.

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