How to Safely Pay Your Bills and Purchase the Things You Need During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly plunged the world into a lot of uncertainty, and the Philippines is no exception. One aspect that’s taken the brunt is consumers’ spending habits and routines. Even commonplace purchases, such as those for basic needs, have become harder to complete. Many are seeking safer alternatives to visiting physical stores, lining up, and purchasing goods and services with physical money.
You are one of many who have found themselves in this predicament. Perhaps you’re having a hard time sourcing your daily necessities or paying your monthly bills. Understandably, you’ll want to do these things in a manner that’s convenient, but that doesn’t compromise your safety. That said, here are a few tips that you’ll find useful—and that’ll afford you peace of mind while you manage your daily finances.
Make a List of Transactions You Need to Prioritize
Before the pandemic hit, it may have been easy to deal with your finances on a week-to-week basis. But now, your “new normal” should include accounting for your expenses as early ahead as possible. At present, it’s not safe to go out, withdraw cash, and transact at multiple storefronts several times a week. The best solution is to list your priorities, plan your transactions, and keep a monthly account of how much money you need to be spending.
There are some items that you likely need to source for your household weekly, like food and medicine. But other items, like toiletries and school supplies, you can buy once a month and restock the next month. Having an idea of what your priorities are will help you devise safe and convenient ways to buy everything you need to. Try to streamline your transactions using just a few payment platforms, and minimize your time outside of your home.
Find Out if Your Billers Accept Digital Payments
You may also be wondering about the best ways to take care of your monthly bills payment, for expenses like telecommunications, water, and electricity. Contact your providers if you are having a difficult time paying for any of these. They should be able to recommend quick, safe, and contactless methods that don’t entail you leaving your home.
Off the bat, some digital payments that your billers may accept are from an e-wallet, or from online direct bank transfer. Whichever they recommend, it will be much better than you lining up and increasing your chance of exposure to the virus in a public place.
Find Online Grocery, Food Delivery, and Medicine Delivery Services
You may be missing your weekly visits to the grocery, to the pharmacy, or to your favorite restaurants. But many of these establishments now have online counterparts that you can purchase from within the safe boundaries of your home.
If you search online or ask for recommendations from friends and family, you’ll find a number of stores that regularly replenish their stock. Some of these establishments, like grocery and pharmacy chains, even have their own personal shopper and delivery services. You only need to find out what the minimum purchase for delivery is and whether they service your area. If they don’t have dedicated delivery staff, many offer pickup via a third-party delivery app.
Look for “one-stop shop” establishments where you can purchase multiple items that you need in one go. This will help you save time looking for different items at different sources, as well as reduce your spending on shipping and delivery.
Shop from Within Your Locality
As much as possible, shop for your basic needs within your locality. Establishments that are near your home may even offer free delivery there. Moreover, your local government may have sponsored community-based initiatives like mobile markets. That means that you won’t have to leave your locality to get fresh food, like meat, vegetables, and dairy.
There are several advantages to shopping within your locality. You won’t have to travel far to get the items you need, and therefore cutting the risk of virus transmission from another city or municipality. Either the items themselves or the delivery charges may be cheaper, as suppliers will sell within your locality for the best possible price. And, if you buy your basic needs just within your community, you don’t have to worry about getting stuck at a checkpoint while you’re in transit.
See How Your Healthcare Providers Have Adjusted Their Services
Even if there’s a pandemic going on, your other medical needs will not stop. You may still need non-COVID-19-related healthcare services during community quarantine. Some examples are dental care and follow-ups for your existing physical ailments. Even these services and your means of paying for them may have adjusted in light of quarantine.
In these cases, you can see if your doctors offer online consultations and can issue you e-prescriptions. If your regular doctor is not available, you can pay for an online consultation with a telehealth service. Some doctors’ visits, however, do require you to go to a clinic in person. If that’s the case, be sure to contact them in advance about their operating hours and additional measures you should take before going there.
Conclusion: A “New Normal” for Addressing Your Needs
Admittedly, it’s not easy to go against old routines, especially if you are used to spending money and buying things in certain ways. But your health, safety, and wellbeing are paramount at this time, and all spending and purchasing activities should reflect that.
Rest assured that the business, medical, and local government sectors are doing everything they can to meet all your basic needs. Here’s to learning new habits for spending and purchasing, and—despite quarantine—attaining a good quality of life for yourself and your loved ones.