Coronavirus isolation doesn't mean you have to ruin your finances just to stock up or stay healthy.
Social distancing has become the norm for people around the country as we fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19). While you are in coronavirus isolation, it's important to keep a close eye on your finances. Yes, it's easy to panic and overbuy or spend more than is necessary because we are in the middle of a pandemic. Rather than panicking, check out the following tips.
We've all seen the lines of hundreds of people in line at the grocery store, each cart with several packages of toilet paper in it. Don't fall for the hype. Grocery stores aren't running out of food and toiletries. The suppliers still have plenty of stock to send. While it may take the stores themselves a little longer to stock the shelves, there's no reason to hoard and empty your savings account 'just in case.'
If you're worried about the risks of contracting the virus while shopping for groceries, services like Instacart offer a contactless delivery option that can help keep your pantry stocked safely.
Buy Prescriptions by Mail
Check out your options to buy prescriptions by mail. Many insurance companies offer services for this at a discounted rate. You'll save money, and you don't have to worry about running out and getting to the store.
Check with your insurance company to see if there's a specific service you must use. If not, stores like CVS and Walgreens offer mail order service. Make sure you order early enough to give the prescriptions time to arrive.
Use Telehealth Options
Many services are using the option to go 'virtual,' including doctors. While this isn't a new tactic, as many offices already offer it, there are definitely more doctors offering it today. You can talk with a doctor or nurse via Skype or any other video platform, discuss your symptoms, and let the doctor see you. This helps eliminate the risk of exposing yourself to more germs than is necessary and typically costs less.
Watch out for Cost Gouging
Cost gouging occurs within stores and individuals selling items on sites like Craigslist and eBay. Everyone knows the panic that is out there over things like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, some medications, and face masks and may take advantage by charging higher prices because they can. Keep an eye on prices – if they seem more than 15% higher than your standard prices, you may be giving into price gouging and should look elsewhere and possibly report it.
Follow the CDC Recommendations
Every day the CDC comes out with new recommendations to slow the spread of coronavirus. While coronavirus isolation isn't fun for anyone, it's the only way to stop the pandemic. Listen to the latest guidelines, stay inside, and don't make any unnecessary purchase for the time being.
Remember – this will pass, but in the meantime, we have to do our part. Your emergency funds are there to help during times like this, but that doesn't mean you should overspend, panic, or overstock on items that you'll likely not need even long after this is over.