COVID-19 appears to have taken the entire world by surprise: Governments have imposed travel restrictions, closed borders and signed in new laws such as lockdowns in order to stop any potential spread of the virus – and with South Africa imposing a 21-day lockdown period during the Coronavirus crisis, everyone in the country is affected in some way or another.
While the Coronavirus certainly cannot be referred to as something positive, it doesn't mean that everything that has come out of the time of isolation and lockdown has been bad – in fact, there have been a few advantages.
Here are a few things that prove the consequences of the COVID-19 lockdown and World Health Organization (WHO) regulations to the rest of the world wasn't all bad when it comes to your finances.
1. Booking Refunds or Credits
If you had a vacation, live show or event booked before the lockdown period was imposed, then it's likely that the lockdown period means the show was called off or postponed – and it this is the case, consider the news not all bad: It might mean that you are entitled to a refund for the booking – and it could apply to everything from vehicle rentals to holiday stay deposits.
Where cash refunds aren't an option, some retailers might give the option of credit which can be redeemed at a later stage when the worst of the crisis has been dealt with.
2. Lockdown Deals
The Coronavirus lockdown has led to a lot of panic buying – but it has also led to the introduction of many unique deals on goods that you will only see during lockdown. Keep an eye on retailers during times like these: Often times, there will be good deals out there to seize at the right time ranging from cheaper grocery discounts through to cheaper movie streaming subscriptions.
3. Food and Grocery Delivery
During this time, food and grocery delivery are essential industries – and this has led to a spike for any business which is able to remain open and operating during this time: It has also meant that many more people are accessing these services. If you have the ability to use food and grocery delivery services during an emergency time, realize that it's a great thing to have access to right now.
4. Lower Interest Rates
Lower interest rates have been one of the consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic: While it's not the best news for the money you might be trying to grow into more through a savings account, it's great news for any loans that you might have right now – and for any credit that you might have needed during the lockdown period.
5. Exchange Rate Changes
Changes in the exchange rate no doubt affected by the Coronavirus pandemic has meant that anyone who has FOREX funds to turn into rands would have been lucky if they were able to do it at the right time. Similarly, this – and the downgrading of SA to junk status – could have meant a good time to buy and sell certain stocks.
6. Unique Career Opportunities
Since the majority of people have been made to self-isolate for the period of the Coronavirus pandemic, many companies have allowed their most essential employees to work from home – and many opportunities to work from home have now become possible.
The Coronavirus crisis has made many companies realize the importance of remote work: Yes, employees can still be as productive as they can in an office setting – and often times even more.
7. Easier Online Ordering
Companies have embraced the world of e-commerce as an essential industry that never stops. This means that ordering online is easier than it has ever been before – and both consumers and companies have realized the financial benefits of e-commerce.
Ordering them online became the standard during the Coronavirus lockdown period for anyone in a position to do it: Again, this led to better deals than before which you could take advantage of by ordering at the right time.
8. Payment Holidays
While not all banks and credit providers offered this option, many did: The seriousness of the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has meant a worldwide financial effect – and one of the ways in which the banking and financial industries have hoped to offer relief is through payment holidays and breaks on some loans and types of credit.
If you are not sure whether this applies to yours, a simple call or e-mail to your bank or credit provider should do the trick to find out.
9. Rental Agreements
Some landlords have adapted their rental agreements to allow for discounts or payment holidays during the Coronavirus period: Again, this one was up to individual discretion and not all landlords were forthcoming – but many were in an attempt to help their tenants cope better during the time of the Coronavirus.