Personal Finance By Anne Gaviola 312 Views

How to avoid overspending as the economy reopens, according to money experts

After 15 months of rolling COVID-19 restrictions, the financial pendulum has started to swing. With an ever-increasing number of opportunities to spend money at restaurants, stores, fitness centres and salons, personal finance experts caution against going overboard.

“It’s like releasing a dam when it comes to our spending. I can certainly relate to that feeling of being excited to ‘live’ again,” says Melissa Leong, author of Happy Go Money.

According to a behavioural science study released June 23 by Interac, people across Canada are increasingly making non-essential purchases. This phenomenon, known as “feel-good spending” as economies reopen, is more common among younger cohorts.

Two-thirds (66 per cent) of gen-Z and nearly three-in-five (58 per cent) millennials are more likely to make feel-good purchases today than they were before the pandemic hit, according to the study. By contrast, 35 per cent of baby boomers and 22 per cent of those aged 75 and older are likely to indulge in such so-called retail therapy.

“Canadians are increasingly spending their own money on the simple pleasures and pursuits that enrich their lives,” said Andrea Danovitch, associate vice president of marketing at Interac, in a statement. “Even a low-value purchase can trigger a significant positive emotional response if it’s linked to our passions — proving that the smallest things in life can often feel like the biggest.”

Leong says a combination of small pleasures and renewed obligations can add up quickly. She suggests tallying it up to understand your new financial reality.

“Have a clear idea of how much money you’re currently making and how much you’re spending as well as how this might change,” she tells Global News. “Last week, I sat down and looked at what expenses would be returning in a new normal: childcare, commuting, vacations, kids’ hockey and swimming lessons.”

Parween Mander, millennial money coach and founder of The Wealthy Wolfe, a financial platform designed to help women of colour from immigrant upbringings, highlights the fact that although many have struggled during the pandemic, the majority are poised to emerge from the crisis in better financial shape.