Most of the United States was shut down throughout the month of April. Despite this, many people hit online stores to shop for nonessential goods during the pandemic. Is now the best time to be buying these items?
Essential vs. Nonessential Goods
The COVID-19 pandemic has made many of us question what is (and is not) essential when it comes to purchasing things. Most of us aren’t leaving the house to buy a new treadmill right now. However, because so many people are stuck at home, online retailers are holding sales, and many folks are buying things they normally wouldn’t.
According to U.S. News & World Report, there was an increase in book and magazine purchases by 292%. Video games and baby/kids items also saw an increase of 140% and 150%, respectively. While these items aren’t necessarily essential, they are making it easier for people to pass the time indoors.
When it comes to deciphering the difference between essential and nonessential goods, it will differ from person to person. For instance, some individuals may not see buying a new computer monitor as a necessity, but if your computer stopped working and you need it to make a living, it is.
Should You Be Making Nonessential Purchases?
There are two concerns when it comes to shopping for nonessential goods right now. Obviously, there are some health concerns (everybody is concerned about their health right now). There is also an additional financial aspect to be considered as well.
Any time you’re making a nonessential purchase (even outside of pandemic times), you are more likely to stop and browse more nonessential items. This means you’ll spend more time in the store, exposing yourself to more surfaces and germs. Not to mention, it is fairly likely you’ll spend more money than you meant to.
Many people are also receiving stimulus checks and other government assistance that may be considered “extra” money right now. If you’re thinking about using your stimulus check on nonessential items, be sure you have your finances in order first. Ensure you have an adequate emergency fund and essentials before using it for anything else.
When it comes down to it, deciding whether or not you will go to buy nonessential goods will depend on how much you feel you need the item. It is important not to forget to protect your own financial future and security as well. Don’t allow your desire for an item hurt that!