As parts of the country are slowly starting to open up (though not here – we remain a hot spot), my partner and I have been discussing the lessons learned during COVID-19. We just completed our 9th week of stay at home recommendations/orders, and here’s what we have learned so far.
Working at Home During a Pandemic is Exhausting
We’re both lucky to be working from home and able to complete the majority of our responsibilities, but rather than finding we have so much extra free time, we both find that we’re exhausted. On Friday, I slept in til 7 and still fell asleep at 9:30 that night. Even though our day-to-day activities aren’t stressful, we’re being bombarded by stress from all sides, and it is definitely showing its toll on us. I keep seeing things from people who have taken up new hobbies or are doing major home renovation projects, and I feel like the two of us are just surviving, and we’re generally lucky. But everyone deals with stress differently and I’m not going to let our lack of projects make me feel bad.
We Need a Better Stockpile of Household Goods
Another one of the lessons learned during COVID-19 is that my stockpile of household items isn’t great. I’ve always prided myself on having a good emergency kit. I’ve got an easily transportable bag with three days of food and water, I keep extra drinking water around, and there’s always enough food in the house that I could survive for a week with no trouble. And that’s still true.
But there’s surviving and there’s thriving. Even though we can eat out of the supplies in the house, we’ll be down to pasta with sauce, rice and beans, and protein bars pretty darn fast. Not exactly a balanced meal. One thing I would like to do this summer once things open up again is finally get a chest freezer and do some stocking up of frozen items that we use all the time. I’d also like to do more batch cooking. We’ve been trying to do two weeks of shopping at a time and our freezer just isn’t big enough. I also want to buy more quality canned goods in bulk.
I’ve been saying I want to get a chest freezer for a while, but this has made me realize just how much of a necessity it really is. Especially if COVID-19 comes back, I’d like to be able to avoid shopping as much as possible, especially as weather starts to get bad.
And let’s not even talk about the toilet paper situation.
Living a Slower Lifestyle is Nice
I have to admit, I’ve really enjoyed our slower lifestyle, and it’s probably my favorite lesson learned during COVID-19. We’ve been watching a lot of documentaries, sharing our favorite shows and movies, and doing some very challenging puzzles. We’ve also been doing regular trivia with friends, and I’m looking forward to being able to do that in person, but I’ve also enjoyed our quiet nights in. It’s like we’ve been able to have date night multiple times a week. I’ve also really enjoyed not having to deal with rush hour traffic, and I certainly am not missing laundering all of my delicate work clothes. I’m seriously going to regret having to iron again.
We’ve also been able to save quite a bit of money. Obviously, our grocery bill is up, not only because most meals are eaten at home, but because we’re not doing comparison shopping or going to the least expensive grocery store, plus we’re definitely buying more splurge items than normal. But we’re not spending as much money on going out, even with getting takeout from a local restaurant once or twice a week, and normally we’d be spending on baseball tickets as well.
I think this slower lifestyle will be sticking around for a while, as this area is going to be very slow to open back up (and I am okay with that), but we’ve definitely had some great lessons learned during COVID-19, and it’s been nice to find the good things about it as well.
Megan is a 40-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.