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Tia L. Made the Best of the Pandemic

Our Essay Question

  • How has the pandemic informed your outlook on your financial future, and what money lessons have you learned from such a high-impact event?

Essay Response from Tia L.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light many unforeseen financial issues of my future. With such an unexpected and devastating impact COVID-19 had on the world it felt like everyone’s lives were swept into a panic. When the pandemic started I had just turned sixteen years old. The thought of working a job had never really crossed my mind since I was still in high school and didn’t see a need for it at the time. However, when the pandemic started, frontline businesses were desperately hiring more employees, hoping to have enough staff to support the panic buying of products and high volumes of the customers shopping. Why not hand in my resume? I thought. I don’t have much experience and they seem to be hiring quite rapidly. And little did I know the next two years of being a front-line worker in the pandemic went by in a flash. I worked in a grocery store for the first two years of the pandemic. I was and still am a personal shopper and I covered just about every other department in the store as well.

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Working in a grocery store wasn’t exactly my dream job but I needed a job for money to save for a high education after getting out of high school. Growing up my mother was a single mom who had two kids, my brother and I. She never had the money or time to get a higher education so she settled for a smaller job working full-time to support her two children. When the pandemic hit money became especially tight. Prices of gas, necessities, and housing spiralled out of control. By working my own job I knew I had a bit of extra leeway to support my brother and I if need be. I watched articles on the news about the high levels of public debt and countries struggling to finance their public health and social systems. All-day long at work I watched crowds of people purchase heaping grocery carts full of products. Most bought perishable foods, toilet paper, toiletries, pet food. The shelves were wiped clean. People were panic buying the first few months into the pandemic. I remember seeing a co-worker move a massive skid of toilet paper from the delivery truck onto the store floor and people were ripping boxes of toilet paper off the skid before he even put it down.

How on earth were people constantly paying for all of these massive amounts of groceries? I thought. All day and night long the store was filled with lineups of people and the supply on the shelves and in the back were dwindling. According to the news, millions of people had lost their jobs to the pandemic, money was tight for everyone, and people plus countries were plummeting into debt. Watching all of this unfold at sixteen years old I realized it taught me a great lesson. Deciding between needs and wants. If everyone had only boughten what they needed there would have been more supply for everyone and it wouldn’t have caused the economy to jump into an increase in demand with little to no supply of products. The stock market had always been an interest of mine. Not many people knew what it was or let alone how to use it. But I knew you could earn money from your money by investing it into the right stocks. It wasn’t long before articles came out explaining how people lost all their savings and money in the stock market. These were uncertain times and most people have never seen all of the confusion and panic coming into disrupting the stock market’s normal functions. At this point, I understood that the stock market was much too risky for an amateur like me to invest in it right now. This meant that I had to save like crazy to have enough money for school. The pandemic made me realize my passion. I was moving up fast at work through the ranks. Making it to third in charge of the online shopping department and then proceeding to do orientations in the store for new employees. The strong money and moral lesson I learned was to help others in need. I was lucky enough to have a stable income during the pandemic so when my co-workers and I saw one of our regular customer’s credit card decline on her grocery bill, we knew it would be a kind gesture to help her out. She had always been exceptionally kind to us frontline workers and we happened to know she lost her job. Each of us who wanted to help, pitched in some money to help cover the cost of her groceries. COVID-19 had a high impact on so many people and it teaches everyone a lesson on the impacts of generosity on the community. Another money lesson I’ve learned for the COVID-19 pandemic is learning the live life more simply. With money being tight, we had to choose very carefully where to spend it. We started to cook more at home again, and even things like hair cutting my family and I learned new skills that helped save us money. Even though my younger brother still much prefers going to the hairdressers, we had the opportunity to learn and enjoy time spent together. By saving money we felt more accomplished, relaxed, and healthy. Enjoying the benefits of living more simply, helped us appreciate our precious resources and reconnect with the things that matter most. Overall there is doubt that the pandemic has taught me and so many other people important money lessons to carry with us in life. By experiencing the decipher between a need versus a want, watching people’s failed payments for groceries, seeing the impacts of the market and what it does to society, and also learning how fortunate I am to of had and been receiving a steady paycheque through the pandemic while others lost their jobs. The pandemic has brought sweeping and unexpected change to the world but we must learn to take away all the important lessons it has taught us.

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