Hoarding Groceries, Essentials, and Money in Uncertain Times
When people first hear of stay at home orders, their first instinct is to stock up on groceries and other essentials.
Updated on Apr 08 2020
When people first hear of stay at home orders, a pandemic, or even sheltering in place, one of the first thoughts you may have is, “I need to get groceries. I need to get as many toiletries as possible. And I need to save as much money as I can while doing it.” While you may believe that this line of thinking is correct and that you are protecting you and your family, that may not be the case. In fact, you may be making things worse in the long run.
Hoarding groceries, toiletries, and cleaning supplies
As states began announcing their stay at home and shelter in place orders, many Americans rushed to the grocery store and online to stock up on groceries, toilet paper, and disinfectant sprays and wipes. It’s easy to understand why. In all of the uncertainty with COVID-19, many feel as though one of the only things that they can control is ensuring that their family is stocked up on the essentials. However, this can inadvertently cause more harm than good.
As of now, supply lines have not changed. Stores have plenty of stock, the issue is getting items back on the shelves to match the demand that customers are buying. Because so many people are buying too much food and too many toiletries, it appears as though there is a shortage. So, when shoppers find food, toilet paper, or disinfecting spray, they are buying more than they normally would because they don’t know when they can find it again. This is causing people to believe there are shortages when there actually are none.
Why not spending your money can be detrimental
During a recession or an economic crisis, it is important to save money when you can. You may be laid off with no warning, so it’s essential that you have an emergency fund so that you can pay your bills for at least six months without needing a paycheck. However, when everyone is saving their money and not spending, that can cause the economy to stay at a standstill and not improve for months.
You need to make smart financial decisions during this time and other times of uncertainty. Speak with your financial advisor to optimize your investments and look into your portfolio strategies. Continue saving for retirement and your emergency fund, and stick to your budget. But, consider still spending money and not saving every dollar that comes your way.
There’s a positive mental aspect to spending money, as well. As Americans are people told to stay at home throughout this pandemic, many are experiencing increased anxiety and depression. Spending money on non-essential items for self-care is important. This can be picking up takeout from a local restaurant, purchasing new clothes, or buying items to start a garden.
Hoarding should never be the answer to any kind of financial uncertainty that America has faced so far. Grocery stores are still being stocked, there is no shortage of toilet paper or paper towels, and spending money helps keep the economy going. While it is natural to want to stock up on essentials and cut down your spending as much as possible, consider buying essentials in two-week increments and use your money wisely.
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