My cable/phone/internet were all out for four days last week thanks to the storm. I was lucky in that I had power, so I can’t complain too much (though I did insist that Comcast give me a credit for the outage).
One thing I discovered was just how much I rely on those services, especially the internet.
I am an information junkie. I love to know what’s going on in the world. I love being able to check in on my friends. I love when I read something random and decide I want to know more so I can just do a web search. I love information.
So this was something I definitely missed while my internet was out. I had my smart phone and I had WTOP (the local news radio station) on most of the day (while at home, anyway) so I wasn’t totally removed from the world, but it certainly felt like it at times.
The other thing I discovered? Just how much time I spend on these things. Over the weekend, I felt like I had so much free time. I cleaned the house. I went to the movies. I went for a run. I went for a bike ride. I read two books. It was amazing how much I felt like I could get done. Of course, there were things I wasn’t getting done like laundry (we were on water restrictions) and bill paying (I do this online) and budget updating, but I certainly felt productive.
Of course, one of my favorite weekend activities is to go on a long training run and then come home, shower, and veg on the couch for a few hours, catching up on tv on the DVR. It’s really the only time that I just let my brain shutdown, and it’s a good rest for my mind and my body. And I don’t know that that’s something I should give up (though it really only should happen after a long run, not just because I’m lazy). But I do think I need to reduce the amount of time I spend online, or at least try to schedule out my weekend time a bit better.
I have already found that by not turning on the computer in the morning and just checking the weather on my phone that I can get to work 15-20 minutes early with no trouble. I had no idea I was losing that much time every day.
I think the lesson is to just be mindful of where my time is going. There’s nothing wrong with going online and reading news for an hour, I just need to be aware that I’m doing it. And maybe I should try to get other things done first, then turn on the computer. It’s a time suck for sure!
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.