Before COVID-19, I was a full-time student and worked part-time in retail to provide for myself and assist with household bills. When the pandemic hit, I wasn’t prepared financially in terms of saving for a ‘rainy day.’ I had some money saved, but not enough to hold me over for the year. I didn’t start receiving unemployment benefits until late June 2020, so I dipped into the little money I had saved to cover my bills from March to June.
When my savings ran out, I maxed out all my credit cards leaving me in financial debt. Since the country was unprepared in terms of being shut down; many people, including me, waited until the last minute to go out and buy essential supplies. This caused food insecurity in my household. I was out of a job and was barely surviving on the unemployment benefits.
The increase in demand for items at stores such as Costco, Walmart, and BJ’s caused them to ration their supplies. They had signs stating “limit one per customer” for specific items like a pack of paper towels, a case of water, and even Lysol Spray. They were running through their supply faster than they’d ever expected. Supermarkets were controlling the demand by placing quantity restrictions on items, which meant that customers were only allowed to purchase one or two of the same things at a time. With this strategy, grocery stores tried to ensure that more families could get the products they needed.
Going through this pandemic has taught me to constantly stock up on necessary supplies like food and medication but never hoard because things can go bad or expire. Stocking up on supplies will make me feel more secure in knowing that I have everything right at my fingertips, which can avoid shortages in my home. I learned that stocking up on essential supplies before a disaster is a brilliant idea. Creating an at-home emergency kit with a few essentials put away will help ensure that my family and I are prepared for any disaster that strikes.
The pandemic has also taught me that saving is very important because you never know when that rainy day may come, and it can come unexpectedly, just like the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a great lesson learned. The importance of putting a little money aside is to ensure that I will have it just in case I fall on hard times again. This will also help to avoid going into debt by covering financial inconveniences that may pop up.
Sashagale Moore is an English Major at Medgar Evers College, and is an expressionist.