3 Budget Changes I’ll Need to Make After the Pandemic Ends

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on June 5, 2021

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Two women and a child smile as they play outside their camping van.

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A lot of people have had an opportunity to save money during the pandemic. Once it's over, these changes will be necessary for my budget.

The coronavirus pandemic has been raging for well over a year, and at this point, we all just plain want it to end. But if I'm being honest, the pandemic actually worked wonders for my finances. Because I spent the better part of the past year cooped up at home, I was able to add to my savings by virtue of not going on vacation, eating at restaurants, or paying for entertainment outside the house.

Once the pandemic comes to an end, though, I expect my spending to change in a very meaningful way. Here are some changes to my budget I'll need to allow for.

1. Extra childcare costs

Summer is a very expensive period in my household, because that's when camp tuition comes into the mix. Last year, I didn't pay for summer camp -- it was closed, and we managed (er, struggled) through July and August without it. But once the pandemic is over, I expect to pay not just for camp, but for babysitters so my husband and I can leave the house some evenings and get a little time to ourselves. I may also need babysitting help during the school year, so that's another expense I'll have to account for.

2. Extra fuel costs

Because my kids have been doing all of their extracurricular activities remotely, I haven't had to drive them all over town like I normally would. Plus, our social calendar has generally been light during the pandemic, and we haven't been taking nearly as many day trips as we normally would. As such, my fuel costs have been minimal this past year, and there have been months when I haven't even needed to fill up my tank. But once the pandemic ends and I resume the routine of driving all over the place for activities and birthday parties, I'm sure I'll be spending a lot more money on gas for my minivan.

3. Money for travel

Most summers, my family takes a multi-week road trip where we visit different corners of the country. Last year, that didn't happen, and this year, we don't have such a trip slated yet, because we're not sure how open things are going to be. But I do hope to be able to travel like we used to once the pandemic ends, so I'm allocating more money for travel into my budget. This means I may need to cut back in other areas or make an effort to boost my earnings, but at this point, I miss being on the road and I'm eager to leave my home state more often.

After the pandemic, I'm likely to find myself spending more and saving less. But that's okay. I took advantage of not spending money last year and padded my savings accordingly, so now, they're in a pretty good place. If I don't save as much in the first year or so following the pandemic, it's not a big deal.

That said, the last thing I want to do is land in debt after the pandemic ends, so I intend to keep redoing my budget as needed to ensure that I'm covering all of my costs. After all, the past year was harrowing enough. I don't need the stress of debt to make what should be my mental recovery period more difficult than necessary.

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