Picture this. You go to the grocery store. You have your list of the items that you need to buy. But when you get home, you look at the many bags that you brought home. Then you look at your ticket. You realize that you’ve spent way too much money and gone over budget. This has been the reality for many people, but more so now due to the pandemic.

Welcome to the New Normal

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. As we have seen since the beginning of the year, due to COVID-19, many people are stocking up more than ever. They spend lots of money on food, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, soap, and paper towels. This is understandable. This happens when people get scared of the unknown. But as has been seen on the news, many people try returning the items because they realize they overspent. Of course, they’re unable to return the items due to stores being worried about the coronavirus. So not only are they out of money, but they have a lot of excess items that they don’t need.

Even though it’s become more pronounced these days due to people stocking up on food and necessities, oniomania, or shopping addiction, is certainly not a new concept. Studies done in 2006 showed that six percent of people in America full under this diagnosis, and studies have shown that it’s continued to rise. This really isn’t a surprise, considering people continue panic buying during the pandemic.

Empty Shelves, Empty Wallets in the Pandemic

Let’s take the toilet paper hoarding that has become so prevalent in the more recent months. Toilet paper is an essential item, and with more people working from home and children going to school at home, toilet paper goes down more quickly.  After all, while people use the toilets at work and school during the day,

Another hot commodity during the pandemic is soap, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies. In fact, there were two brothers, Matt and Noah Colvin, who purchased over 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer.  From Tennessee, these brothers went on a spending spree of 1,300 miles buying all the sanitizer they could in order to sell it. However, when they tried selling it on Amazon, they were stopped due to price gouging.

Finally, the other thing that people have started stocking up on is food. People have devoted entire rooms in their homes to their stockpile. They have purchased shelving and stocking up on dry goods and meat. This is due to the concern that they would be unable to get out and shop or that food would begin running out.

Are they justified in their concern? The truth is that it is a possibility. There are reports of meat shortages due to workers in meat plants being sick. There are also reports of animals being butchered and the meat wasted because the meat can’t be processed. It’s a sobering thought.

Protecting Your Investment Now & After the Pandemic

So, if you are stocking up on food during the pandemic, what can you do to keep your food fresh? Here are some options:

Buy a Vacuum Sealer

This is important especially for meat. Meat and produce that is vacuum sealed will last a lot longer than any other type of storage. Below are some of the benefits of vacuum sealing:

  • Food lasts longer – Meat will last 2-3 years in your freezer when vacuum sealed. Cheese will last 4-8 months instead of just a couple of weeks when vacuum sealed and put in your fridge. This will help your food budget greatly.

  • You’ll Save Money – How many times has food gone bad before you could use it, especially when you have a lot of food in your freezer? Vacuum sealing the food will keep it longer. You’ll find your budget is going much further.

  • Taste – When you vacuum seal your food, you will preserve the flavor. This is handy when you are making big batches of things like chili or soup.

  • You’ll Save Time – If you like making big batches of things such as soup or chili, you don’t have to worry about eating it all at once. You can vacuum seal the leftovers and have a meal for another day.

Other Helpful Tips

Use Apps

If you have a smartphone, there are apps on there that you can use to remind you when something is about to expire. This way, you know when something should be used by. This is handy for when you have something you can’t vacuum seal.

Apps also help you create a budget and keep track of the coronavirus.

Rotate Your Stock

Take a page out of a store’s book and rotate your stock. Pull the things that are oldest to the front and the newer stock to the back.

Take Inventory

Before you go to the store, take inventory of what you have. Think about what you use on a regular basis. Also, know what the shelf life of the items are that you have. Follow the FDA recommendations for the food you use and you’ll find that you’re wasting a lot less money.

I hope that you have found these tips helpful. I know these are scary times, but being smart with your money and staying on a budget will help.  if you are looking for more helpful articles, please check out other posts like this one.

» E-mail Lea Wiviott @ LeaWiviott@gmail.com

The pandemic has people purchasing more htan ever before.
Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

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