News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Nov. 5, 2021: According to the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2021, the Caribbean is set to face a fragile and uneven recovery as the COVID-19 pandemic may leave lasting scars on the economy of the Caribbean. With the Caribbeans GDP declining by 8% in 2020, people in the Caribbean have been forced to cut costs. This article will explore the state of the Caribbean’s GDP, as well as five ways for people to save on expenses as the economy recovers.
The Caribbean’s GDP
The report by WESP has warned governments that the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may be felt for years to come. This can be prevented with smart investments in economic, societal and climate resilience in order to ensure a robust and sustainable recovery of the economy. The Caribbeans GDP has declined by 8% in 2020 due to prolonged national lockdowns, weaker merchandise exports and a collapse in tourism.
Although Haiti has been able to contain the spread of the virus, which has led to the limitation of economic damage, the Caribbean’s tourism-dependent economies have been severely affected. This has led to these economies suffering double-digit contractions of GDP. The UN has been able to provide a baseline scenario which has projected a growth of 3.8% in 2021, and a further growth of 2.6% in 2022. The pandemic, and drop in GDP, has resulted in millions of jobs being lost. A large majority of these jobs originate from the informal sector. Retail and hospitality sectors are known to hire women, younger people and workers with low education. These sectors were hit the hardest, resulting in not only job losses, but also income loss. Due to this, people in the Caribbean have had to find ways to stretch their money and save on expenses. Here are five ways to save on expenses in these unsure times:
Determine a budget
People should create a rough idea of what their spending is for the week and month – a lot of research is available on budgeting. This will lead them to forming a plan on how to cut costs. People should consider their income and expenses, and then categorize the needs from the wants. Luxury or unnecessary items should be highlighted. Examples of this would be subscriptions to streaming platforms or the purchasing of cosmetic products. People should consider how much they use these luxury items and aim to eliminate as many luxury items as possible. This will lead to significant savings.
Saving on dentistry
Dentist appointments are notoriously known to be pricey, with orthodontic treatments, such as braces, being quite expensive. The cost of braces is high due to several factors, mostly due to the severity of the clients’ condition and their orthodontist’s rates. Braces are not a luxury, and are necessary, even during a pandemic. For people in the Caribbean aiming to save on these expenses, they should consider at-home teeth straightening. At-home teeth straightening is more affordable and is suitable for people with mild conditions. Providers of this service including SmileDirectClub, Candid, and Byte, are offering clear aligner systems for just $1,800 to $2,400. This has also been a preferred treatment seeing that it limits human contact, ensuring social distancing practices. SmileDirectClub has the widest international presence and is available in US territories within the Caribbean. Smile Prep, which is an online media company that covers innovations in cosmetic dentistry, is able to provide practical guidance to adults interested in this option.
Lauren H. from Canton had this review about Candid: “I went with Candid because they had the best customer service, product material and price hands down. I went to 3 other orthodontists before them and Candid beat their price! I did the starter kit and scans all from my home, which I was thankful for because I could be comfortable and not embarrassed. I loved the fact I could do it all from home and have access to an orthodontist at any time about any questions I had in my process. They made sure I was happy with my teeth and if I wasn’t they would send refinements.”
Although cooking has become a hobby for many during lockdown, it is also a way to cut costs. Buying processed food, takeaways or easy-prep food is known to cost more than fresh ingredients. This is because customers have to pay for the ingredients and cooking processes in these mentioned food options. To cut costs, people should buy the raw ingredients and cook their own food.
Save before spending
Many people have the habit of saving after they have spent their salary on goods, services and bills. To save more successfully, people should consider their salary and their disposable funds, and then dedicate an amount to their savings. There are ways to save besides the conventional savings fund, such as investing in stocks or cryptocurrency. This may prove to be wildly fruitful, but it is also a risk.
Avoid panic buying
Panic buying, which may seem like the correct choice at that moment, leads to the unnecessary loss of valuable cash on hand. Panic buying has proven to cause buyers to purchase unnecessarily large amounts of items, or items that they won’t or cannot use. When it comes to panic buying food items, many of these items end up spoiling. Ultimately, panic buying results in people losing money unnecessarily and wasting resources. In times of stress, people should determine what is needed and should look for the best prices.
The bottom line
Saving on expenses during a pandemic, which has resulted in economic uncertainty and struggle, has been proven to be a double-edged sword. Saving is simple if the person knows how to do so, but consistent saving requires determination and control. Additionally, not all people in the Caribbean will be able to follow all five ways of saving due to financial constraints. In this case, people should implement ways of saving which are possible and suited to their situation. Every cent counts.