finance

Treat purchases and nest eggs: 28 women on the money lessons the pandemic has taught them.

We're not exactly out of the woods just yet when it comes to the pandemic, but my goodness we've come a long way since the start of 2020. 

Two years down the track, there's been a multitude of money lessons learnt, whether it be to do with saving, investing, emergency funds, fun purchases and more.  

Recently, Mamamia conducted a money survey, where we asked Australian women all about their finances.

Watch: Ladies, Let's Talk...money! Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

We asked how much they have in savings, how much they spend, what money advice they actually follow, and much more.

And this week, we're unpacking one of the questions that had the most varied responses. 

How has the pandemic changed your stance with money?

1. "It changed my stance completely. After I lost half of my salary in 2020 because of COVID-related job cuts, I realised how unhealthy it was to tie my income and job to my self-worth. I felt defeated and not at all valued, it really shook my confidence."

2. "I'm spending a lot less than I used to pre-pandemic. I feel less stressed about my finances and less likely to overspend when I'm out with friends. I know my limit with spending."

3. "Because we were inside so much during the various lockdowns, I was able to save a bit more than I used to. I put those savings towards reducing my debt and I'm still working on that. I also now want to set aside money for an emergency fund account with approximately three months' worth of my income. I've learnt just how quickly things can change, so having a backup plan is important to me."

4. "Now that I'm back at work, I'm extra conscious of how much I spend on lunch and coffee during the week. I've started taking a peanut butter sandwich to the office, and it has saved me quite a bit. But I won't be giving up any yummy coffee orders!"

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5. "Now that I work from home three days a week, I've started spending more money on skincare and casual comfy clothes, rather than corporate wear. It's really helped me discover my sense of style!"

6. "I've cleared some debt after not spending so much money going out and partying. I've also got rid of Afterpay as I was using it inappropriately."

7. "Overall, the pandemic taught me to diversify my plans, earnings and investments."

8. "I took money out of my super during the first Aussie lockdown, and it's something I regret as it wasn't super necessary. Now I'm just more conscious to add money regularly to my super account."

Listen to What The Finance: Future you needs you to sort out your super. Post continues after audio.


9. "I've found it harder coming out of the pandemic's height in the last few months. As a family we were saving so much more as we hadn't been going on holidays. But now that things are a bit more normal, and we've just recently purchased a house, we've spent a lot more money as of late than we have in two years. It's been hard to wrap my head around it, as I'm no longer used to spending money (even if it's a wise purchase), and there's still guilt associated with it."

10. "Now that I mostly work from home, I've been able to save a lot more without commuting to the office!"

11. "I have a nest egg tucked away now. I do actually work in the health industry, so I'm pretty much guaranteed a stable job, but the stress has made me consider changing careers. I've started investing as well to build up my portfolio."

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12. "The whole COVID experience has made me re-evaluate my life interests and goals. Not being able to travel for so long, I'm looking forward to exploring Australia and the world when I can, so I've been saving for that."

13. "Treat yourself. Even something small like a delicious coffee, a fancy candle or a massage every now and then does wonders for me."

14. "I've seen a financial advisor, who has helped me get on top of my spending and investing for my future. I figured I would leave it to the pros!"

15. "I'm spending more on food and alcohol at home than I used to. My partner and I have made this a priority for us, rather than spending our 'fun' money on clothes, makeup, skincare, shoes, etc. A nice dinner at home is something we both really look forward to each day."

16. "The whole experience has made me concerned and overwhelmed about my financial future and the economy as a whole. The pandemic took a lot from my savings. Working as a chef, every time we are locked down means chewing through savings until government support is available."

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17. "Frugality isn't the worst thing. I had to knuckle down and save big because of debt, so I found cheaper ways to have fun: renting DVDs from my local library rather than going to the cinema, going for walks with friends, etc."

18. "During the first lockdown, I was buying a lot to make myself happy, and to preoccupy my thoughts. Now I'm kind of terrified that I have no safety net, as I live alone. So I've learnt that balance is key."

19. "My family was pretty lucky to come out of the pandemic relatively unscathed, finance-wise. We actually made quite a bit of money during the period. So with that in mind, it's made me want to be more generous with those I love and others in need, given we've been so fortunate to keep our jobs and reduce expenses."

20. "I have become smarter with my money. I've really been keen to learn how to invest. It's also taught me how important it is to have multiple income streams. I've also made financial independence a high priority."

21. "I really don't need that many clothes. I used to buy a new shirt or dress each month, just wandering my local Westfield. So I've cut back since because I rarely would end up wearing those pieces of clothing."

22. "Now that I'm 55, I am more focused on my savings and super. I'm really sick of working and want to retire soon."

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23. "I'm more mindful of where I spend my money. I don't want to support people or big businesses that are doing wrong in the world. So now, I'm trying to be ethical where I can be, such as looking for second-hand clothes and supporting small businesses."

24. "Life is uncertain, so just enjoy it whenever you can."

25. "I used to rely on my Airbnb property to supplement my rent payments. I'm more cautious of that now, as the Airbnb would lose bookings very randomly due to new restrictions, lockdowns, COVID cases, etc."

26. "I'm just more grateful for what I have. I value my wage more due to the possibility it could be taken away from me in a moment's notice."

27. "It made me see that I need to find hobbies that aren't so expensive. I used to think I had to cram so much into my weekends, and with that comes a lot of unnecessary spending. Now I don't feel like I have to keep up or impress anybody, and I value my financial stability and independence so much more."

28. "I realised I don't need to be so conservative with my cash. Rather, I should treat myself, my kids, parents and friends."

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What money lessons have you learnt amid the pandemic? Tell us in the comments below.

Feature Image: Mamamia.