This generation has had to completely rethink money because of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has made everyone rethink their approach to life. From work to home, Americans have adjusted their way of living especially for Millennials and Gen Zers’ when it pertains to money.

Seven in 10 Millennials and Gen Zers recently admitted that that pandemic has made them realize they needed to reassess how they handle their financials, according to a new study.

OnePoll teamed up with Laurel Road, a digital lending platform of KeyBank, to gauge the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and 2020 had on 1,000 Gen Z and 1,000 Millennial Americans, where a stunning amount of respondents said that they didn’t prepare well enough to handle the financial wrath of the pandemic.

More than half — 52% — of respondents said they wished they had a better job with their money during the pandemic. That meant Millennials and Gen Zers had to rethink their approach to casual spending and reinvest funds elsewhere.

With indoor dining curbed in most areas, both groups said that they were eating out less frequently, which was the top way the groups were saving money during quarantine.

Thirty percent said they were not going to movies, which has been a casualty of the pandemic as theaters across the country either remain closed or offering limited occupancy due to social distancing guidelines. Closing and safety measures at other places — like bars and gyms — has resulted in money saved for Gen Z and Millennials, with 26% and 18% saying they’ve saved money by avoiding both places, respectively.

While saving money has been a welcoming part of this disastrous year, the curveballs that 2020 has thrown at Gen Z and Millennial Americans has them budgeting money a bit different with many thinking ahead.

Thirty-three percent of respondents said they have set new personal goals in light of the pandemic, which was the top reason for the financial reset. Others said changes to their personal life and new financial goals were indictors for adjusting things.

The average Gen Z responded saved nearly $600 during the pandemic, which falls shy of Millennial respondents who managed to save just over $1,000, according to the study.

“We know COVID-19 has been challenging for us all. For millennials and Gen Zers, they too have faced many challenges, but in turn, the pandemic has also prompted an opportunity for a financial reset,” Alyssa Schaefer, Chief Experience Officer at Laurel Road, said in a statement. “What’s encouraging to see from our survey results is that so many people have used this time to prioritize their personal finance, including by refinancing their student loans, and actively look to learn new ways to budget and save.

Top changes to personal financial habits during quarantine

1. Made more of an effort to save money – 37%
2. Created a budget – 33%
3. Canceled subscription services they don’t frequently use – 31%
4. Spoken to a financial advisor – 25%
5. Refinanced their student loans – 20%
6. Consolidated their student loans – 19%

Top ways Gen Z and Millennials saved money during quarantine

1. Eating out at restaurants less frequently – 32%
2. Not going to the movies – 30%
3. Not buying new clothing / shoes – 26%
4. Not going out to bars – 26%
5. Canceling their gym membership – 18%
6. Not wearing makeup – 18%
7. Canceling a streaming service membership – 18%
8. Canceling my cable service – 15%
9. Buying less gas – 25%
10. Not buying lunch every day – 25%
11. Ordering less delivery / take out – 25%
12. Not going to a salon for a service (I.e. nail salon, hair salon) – 24%
13. Not seeing concerts / plays – 23%
14. Not buying coffee / breakfast on the way to work – 23%
15. Not having to commute (I.e. train tickets, tolls) – 22%