3 Healthy Financial Boundaries To Implement Post-Quarantine, No Matter What Your Bank Account Looks Like

Photo: Getty Images/Blend Images JGIJamieGrill
With social distancing orders and mask mandates lifted in many if not most major cities in the United States, it's easy to feel as if the world is going back to what many define as “normal.” Also notable is that it's happening as summer is getting into full swing. The season is typically marked by folks itching to get outdoors and enjoy hangouts, pool parties, BBQs, and more before fall hits. But after an elongated time marked by isolation and loneliness? The urge to commune and make memories in shared company may be higher than your average summer season—and the financial implications of making those memories is very real for many folks.

During the past year and a half, many of us adjusted our lifestyle in order to stay safe, but also to help meet our needs while many businesses remained closed. In order to do this, many folks found themselves saving as a result of cutting back on costs related to certain previous lifestyle requirements that weren't necessary in quarantine. For example, those working from home didn't need to pay for public transit to get to work or as much gas to put in their car to drive themselves there. Same goes for buying lunch out during the day, going out to dinner, and even weekend hangouts with friends and family at the movies, brunch parties, and more.

For many, the transition back to socializing can raise concerns about how to manage spending habits after being able to save more than usual this past year. And for others, it also means taking into account financial hardships, like medical bills and being laid off from work, that may make budgeting trickier than was the case pre-pandemic.

Regardless of where you fall on that continuum, having financial boundaries in place is crucial during this time. Below, find three ways to identify and implement financial boundaries for post-quarantine spending habits.

3 healthy financial boundaries to implement post-quarantine

1. Live within your means

They say you cannot spend what you don’t have, but thanks to credit cards you kind of can. However, doing so can likely lead to debt, which is why learning to live within your means is the first step to creating financial boundaries post-quarantine.

Set limits on your spending habits based on the amount of money you earn and also possess after paying bills and other necessities. To do this, consider creating a monthly budget chart that allows you to capture your income flow plus expenses so that you can see what funds you have leftover to spend as you see fit.

2. If you don't have it, it's okay if you can’t give it

During this season, you might find yourself in a position where someone is requesting a loan from you. In these situations, lean on the phrase “if you don't have it, it’s okay if you can't give it.” One of the wisest things we can do is learn to challenge our people-pleasing tendencies, especially when it comes to finances. Not being able to give someone money does not make you a selfish person, nor does it mean you are not generous. If being nice requires self-sabotage, then you are not being nice—you are being passive.

3. Define what deserves your "yes"

Your boundaries are rooted in your values and knowing what’s important to you and what is not. When it comes to spending, it’s important to assess whether what you're spending your money on is adding value to your life and circumstances. Do you value new experiences? Being in a community? Traveling? Material possessions? You get to determine what is important to you, and once you’ve done that, it's a great starting point to assess whether something is worth spending your dollars on.

And to be sure, sticking to financial boundaries post-quarantine doesn't mean never spending money—it simply means learning how to be wise with your money. So now ask yourself: How will you practice financial boundaries today?

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