8 Real Women (and 1 Man) on How Their Spending Habits Have Changed Since Social Distancing

My colleague recently posted this meant-to-be-silly sentiment in Slack: “Remember wallets?” But seriously. Since social distancing, so much about how we approach our finances has changed. In some cases, that may mean spending less. In others, that may mean spending more. We decided to check in with a handful of real women—and one man—to learn more about their spending habits in the age of COVID-19.

How to Save on Groceries (Even When the Grocery Store Feels Like a War Zone)

woman working out

1. The Woman Who Cancelled (and May Never Renew) Her Gym Membership

“Both my husband and I cancelled our in-person memberships—including the ones that were trying to offer (and charge for) online workouts. On some level, I’m much less motivated to work out at home, but I’ve also found some really great free online content, especially at our novice level. We are getting into a routine and it’s actually been a bonus laughing at my husband while he experiments with different videos every day. The more routine it becomes, the more I wonder if we’ll go back to the gym post social-distancing? Time will tell.” — Brynne, New York

2. The Woman Who Goes Out Of Her Way To Shop Locally

“Ordering things online was always the easier option, given the pace of life with two kids. Now, I go out of my way to buy everything I can from local businesses, not just groceries, but items like toys and kids’ shoes—items we definitely would have just ordered online prior to this. We’re also buying much more in bulk when we do shop. I used to buy things like baby formula as a one-off. When we ran out, I could just pop into CVS, right? Now, I buy a month’s supply at a time.” — Katie, New York

woman driving car
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3. The Woman Who Bought a Car

“My husband and I noticed that while we’ve been saving on things like eating out, we have been spending a lot on car rentals. Now, a car feels like an essential—a way to get out of town and away from others during this time. So, we re-allocated our budget and leased a vehicle. Cheaper than renting, that’s for sure.” — Elisabeth, Illinois

4. The Man Who Grocery Shops for Three Weeks at a Time

“Since social distancing, I’ve become a pro at stretching the life of the groceries I buy. I went to the grocery store about three weeks ago and spent around $500 on food to last us as long as possible. I froze about 90 percent of the meat I bought using our new FoodSaver vacuum system. I did the same thing with our bread. I also placed an order on for bagels from New York City—a treat. They were delicious and froze well, as long as I pre-sliced them.” — James, New Hampshire

kid playing with toys

5. The Woman Who Spends All Her Money on New Toys

“We’ve been buying my son a couple of new toys every week and we make it a whole surprise for him in order to get him more excited and engaged. Mainly, it’s been small items, but we did buy a mini-trampoline, too. Before, new toys were mostly tied to special occasions.” — Michelle, New York

6. The Woman Who Reallocated Childcare Costs For Vacation

“In before times, I was spending $1,300 a month on my daughters’ preschool, and had $3,500 earmarked for both kids’ summer camp. Now, the daycare is only charging $500 a month (for online classes) and the camp registration fees were refunded! I wish I could say I was saving this money, but instead, my husband I decided to spend a chunk of it on a two-week house rental in the mountains. If we can’t have camp, at least we can have wide open spaces! — Jillian, New York

woman painting home

7. The Woman Who Finally Has Dollars to Spend on House Projects

“I can’t believe how much I’ve been spending on house paint. I now not only have money to put toward house projects, I’ve got time to do them.” — Ivana, Washington, D.C.

8. The Woman Who Can’t Stop Buying Athleisure—At Full Price

“I don’t go out anymore, right? Or spend money on childcare? That’s how I justify buying full-price LuLulemon during this time. For background: I used to buy it once a season, but always (always) on sale. Now, I’m buying it once a month, discount or not. I also wear it 24/7.” — Michelle, Oregon

woman on a zoom call cat
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9. The Woman Who Replaced Her Clothing Budget with a Lipstick Budget

“Spring used to be the time I’d purge my closet and treat myself to several new warm-weather things. Now, I’m spending more time trolling beauty sites for things like mascara and lipstick. Zoom is my life these days, thanks to telecommuting. On the days I didn’t shower, a pretty lip color makes it feel like I tried.” — Stephanie, Florida

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Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...