Wednesday, March 25, 2020

10 Things I've Learned from the Pandemic So Far

What a difference a couple of weeks make!  Two weeks ago we were going to buffets, hubby was bowling with his leagues and playing poker, my walking group was planning our spring walks, and we were going about town without a care in the world.  Fast forward two tumultuous weeks and...well there have been a lot of lessons learned!

  1. It is so so so important to be totally debt free.  Many people are buried under debt on a normal day but the sudden transition from "party town" Vegas where everyone was employed to barely anyone is working Vegas was so swift that people are freaking out over how they will pay not only their regular bills like rent and utilities but how to pay their credit card, car, and other debts (note that when we went out for a drive a few days ago we noticed that the business with the most customers was the payday loan place!).
  2. It is equally so so so important to have an emergency fund, the bigger the better.  With the sudden closure of, well, nearly everywhere around the world, people didn't have time to save money or even prepare for such a life-changing event that practically happened over night.  Many people online were talking about not having enough money to even go buy extra diapers for their babies when all of this started.  Hopefully this disaster inspires everyone to live below their means and save up some money in case such a crisis happens again.
  3. The government might help you...eventually.  Again, the shutdown was done so quickly, that many of the "normal" systems that people depend on in a crisis were themselves in crisis mode.  People who got laid off from their jobs had to deal with applying for unemployment only online instead of having an office to go to for help and then when they tried to apply online or over the phone, both systems were crashing so much they were virtually impossible to use.  Now the politicians are talking about stimulus check which might show up sometime in May which begs the question, how do people who are hungry now pay for food?  People really do need to be able to depend on themselves first and foremost because the government may not be very helpful for a while (or ever, apparently, in the case of small businesses).
  4. I will probably never pass up a sale again.  Our stores have lots of great sales and we get reams of coupons in our junk mail but we are usually pretty minimalistic and only buy what we need (we do stock up on food and some toiletries because we have guests so often) but now I am thinking about all of the super cheap stuff we could have stockpiled that we could be donating to help other people in tough times like this.
  5. Having multiple streams of income is a good thing.  Currently I don't have multiple streams of income and hubby pays all of the bills (which he can fortunately easily afford, I realize we are in a very good financial position comparatively).  I was looking forward to working at the WSOP and banking the $5k to $6k I would earn there but it looks like the event may not even go this year so I can't put all of my eggs/expectations in one basket.
  6. We need some at-home hobbies.  We are usually gone from morning to early evening, almost every day.  We don't really have at-home hobbies but as we have learned from being at home, 24/7, for days on end, I need to get some jigsaw puzzles, coloring books, maybe a sewing machine...stuff to keep me busy while at home.  Hubby was so bored today he scrubbed and degreased the kitchen--even going so far as cleaning each individual window blind!  See photo above.
  7. We need to go through our emergency supplies more regularly.  I went through our first aid kit after all of this started and the aspirin we had in the kit expired in 2013(!).  Fortunately we had a full bottle of unexpired Tylenol (the fever reducer of choice due to warnings not to use ibuprofen if you might have coronavirus) but it's always good to have a comprehensive emergency kit that is up to date.
  8. When a crisis hits, you need to get a grip and not panic.  People have (rightly) been freaked out over the sudden and deadly pandemic for several reasons.  Job loss, suddenly their kids had no school for the rest of the year, maybe they had no money saved, maybe they only had one roll of toilet paper left when they saw the panic buying stories on the news, etc.  And then there was all of the misinformation spread through social media plus the 24/7 news which was pretty much ALL bad news...that's a lot of stuff that can be both physically and psychologically overwhelming when it is hitting you non-stop.  Being prepared goes a long way towards keeping the panic down as does fact-checking anything you hear in the media.
  9. Being able to cook is a good thing!  I am not a great cook but I love to bake.  Hubby is a good cook but he hasn't really cooked in ages.  Fortunately we have lots of ingredients that we can use to whip up meals every day and we have time for me to try out new recipes.  Some people never cook at all and tend to eat out daily, especially in my city where there are so many amazing restaurants.  Again, people didn't even have time to prepare and practice cooking and/or stock up their pantry (many didn't even know what to include in their pantry) so having basic life skills, and teach your kids things like how to cook, are really important skills to have.
  10. We learned to make some changes and adjust to the current circumstances.  We always drink bottled water but with bottled water difficult to find, we have mostly switched to tap water which we boil (it tastes a bit better after it is boiled than when it comes out of the tap) and are saving our bottled water for a true emergency.  We are cutting down on food waste drastically and use up all of our leftovers, we regularly check up on our elderly relatives now that they are stuck at home and have no social outlets...basically every day provides new learning experiences which are both a challenge as well as an opportunity to learn and experience something new.


  1. Tommy's kitchen needs a good cleaning and degreasing. is your husband bored enough to visit us in Alabama? I cannot stand up long enough to do anything.

    You are wise to learn from this experience and change to more stockpiling of certain things in the future.

    1. LOL hubby is in his 70s and I thought he was going to pass out he was working so hard!

  2. Your kitchen looks sparkly clean! My hubby is fortunate to be working. He is a grounds keeper so he is outside all day and works alone. It's not really an essential service, but if he doesn't do his job, the place will start to look like Jumanji. lol I just found out school is closed for the rest of the year. I'm being paid through April 13 so far, but there's about 30 more school days after that. Not sure if the school system will pay us through the end of the year or what. Hoping to hear soon.

    1. I hope you can apply for unemployment if they stop paying you. Literally half of our city is applying for unemployment this week!