6 Ways Americans Plan to Splurge After the Pandemic

Woman celebrating
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After 18 months of living in suspended animation, Americans are ready to get back to life at full speed.

With the pandemic rapidly receding — at least in the U.S. — many are making initial plans to re-engage with normalcy. And a handful of activities are at the top of the list, according to a Charles Schwab survey.

The survey found that nearly half (47%) of Americans plan to “get back to living and spending like they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Meanwhile, one-quarter (24%) say they are eager to indulge even more to make up for lost time. While we don’t recommend caving into that impulse — we understand the feeling, but it’s bad for your wallet — it still makes perfect sense to celebrate a little after more than a year of denying ourselves.

Following are the top things people say they are planning to splurge on as they kick off post-pandemic life.

1. A vacation

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Respondents who will make this their first post-pandemic splurge: 24%

Travel came to a standstill during the pandemic. Many wondered how long it would be before people returned to airplanes and cruise ships.

Turns out the answer was “not long.” In early April, The New York Times reported that some small airports and travel destinations already were busier than they were before the pandemic. And things have just gotten more hectic since then.

Looking for a great travel deal? Stop by Money Talks News’ Solutions Center and check out the best hand-picked travel deals from ShermansTravel.

2. A meal at a fancy or trendy restaurant

A group of friends eats a restaurant meal outside
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Respondents who will make this their first post-pandemic splurge: 21%

More than a year of takeout orders has left Americans salivating at the prospect of an honest-to-goodness meal in a restaurant.

In fact, the biggest problem restaurants face today is attracting workers, not diners.

If you’re still a little nervous about eating out, check out “Use This Trick to Avoid Crowds at Shops and Restaurants.”

3. Host a party

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Respondents who will make this their first post-pandemic splurge: 15%

One of the worst things about the pandemic — for many of us, the single saddest thing, in fact — has been an overwhelming feeling of isolation at being separated from friends and loved ones.

So, it’s no surprise that people are ready to party down! If you are planning a gathering, remember that party supplies are on our list of the “21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store.”

4. Tickets for a live performance

Opera singer
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Respondents who will make this their first post-pandemic splurge: 13%

From Broadway to little local theaters in small towns, live performances have disappeared from the landscape. But the end of the pandemic is expected to kick off a new beginning for live events.

Just don’t let your rekindled enthusiasm for live events sap your savings. Instead, follow the tips in “11 Ways to Save on Entertainment.”

5. Self-care

Woman and man in spa
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Respondents who will make this their first post-pandemic splurge: 7%

It’s no surprise that after so many months of worry and disruption, some Americans just want to indulge themselves a bit. The pandemic took an emotional toll on almost all of us. So, it’s no sin to put ourselves first, at least for a little while.

6. Something else

People at movie theater, eating popcorn.
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Respondents who will make this their first post-pandemic splurge: 5%

Finally, perhaps you are like the Charles Schwab survey respondents who answered “other” when asked about their top post-pandemic spending plans.

For instance, maybe you can’t wait to munch on popcorn while watching a new movie at a theater, or shop till you drop at the local mall.

After 18 months of obeying the rules, you now can return to deciding for yourself the course your life will take. That might be the best thing about post-pandemic life.

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