As restrictions involving COVID-19 are loosening, Arizonans anticipate returning to some sense of normalcy. During the year of quarantine, many people found themselves saving money and trying to use it wisely. However, as states move toward reopening, “revenge spending” can be harmful.

Revenge spending is the phenomenon where consumers spend money on items and experiences that they have felt deprived of during the pandemic. Currently, Americans have $1.7 trillion to “burn” in Revenge Spending binge since the beginning of the pandemic through January.

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Todd Gerber, commercial division manager with WaFd Bank, offered insights and tips to prevent spending too much money out of deprivation.

“We first need to understand what revenge spending is,” Gerber said. “Revenge spending can range anywhere from buying a car or a big-ticket item, to going out to dinner or to the movies.”

Making a budget is the first step; write down what your budget is and make sure your spending fits within that budget.

“Some people may say, ‘I haven’t had to do a budget during COVID,’ Gerber said. “For those people, look back at what you spent in 2019, which is a full year before COVID happened, and see what you used to spend your money on.”

Most banks give you the option to receive your statements electronically, and you can view statements online, and they can be categorized based on type of spending, which can help you evaluate your spending habits for that period of time.

When people were in quarantine, many picked up new and old habits. For example, cooking and baking – which Gerber said are healthy habits to keep.

“Keep some of those habits, so instead of paying for a high-end restaurant, you can save money that way by cooking,” Gerber said. “This tip isn’t to keep yourself from going out, but keeping habits is another way that can also help you save money.”

You can also create an entertainment fund separate from your emergency funds, which serves as a way to prevent doubling up on your spendings. In this way, you can make a list of your priorities effectively, according to Gerber. This can help you be mindful when you’re making decisions on traveling, an area where special offers are flooding.

If people have the mindset of spending money abundantly, it’s easy to overspend in a short period of time. Retracing what you once used to spend pre-COVID era, utilizing a budget, and prioritizing what is important can surely save you money in the long-run.