When I wrote last week’s Frugal Five, I was at the end of my first week working from home (with the kiddo home as well). Even just one week ago, the Coronavirus didn’t quite seem like it could possibly get so bad. It felt like I was perhaps overreacting when I didn’t send the kiddo to preschool, and then when I kept him home from the days with his grandmothers (and great grandmother).

Just a week later, it doesn’t feel so much like overreacting. The NBA suspended its season. Celebrities are announcing their positive COVID-19 tests. Our schools are closed for at least the next six weeks. Disneyland is closed. Gatherings of over 250+ are prohibited (and similar or stronger mandates are happening in other states and countries). The WHO has labeled it as a pandemic. Just a week ago, people weren’t too concerned about preparedness. Now, I’m getting a number asking me what they should buy.

But really, it still all feels totally surreal. The weather is absolutely beautiful – the sun is shining again – and I’m sitting outside in my sunglasses while I write this. It doesn’t seem possible that all over the globe this virus is ravaging nations and changing the way we live, at least for now. No matter how things play out over the next few weeks and months, I expect the way we do life as a planet will change.

Seriously. So pretty.

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Friday’s Frugal Five

1. I made the decision this week as I’m mostly over my mild cold at this point that I will be working from home for the duration, however long that may be. I have to ability to, and so I feel that it is my duty to stay home and stay away from places where I could catch/pass on COVID-19. So that means keeping the kiddo out of preschool and me out of the office.

Working from home does mean no driving (and no driving in general), so my environmental footprint is definitely lower than normal. While there is so much bad with what’s going on right now, I do at least take a tiny bit of heart that emissions are down at least. And maybe, hopefully, after things settle down, that will stick.

2. While I feel pretty helpless on a larger scale when it comes to what this virus will do to my community and the rest of the world, there are a few things I can do. I talked about this last week, but I am spending money locally as much as possible.

Our local businesses are struggling, and some are already closing – either temporarily or permanently. We have a solid emergency fund and my job can be done from home (and we are NOT selling investments during this downturn), so we are in a good position financially. Not everyone is, and I am doing what I can to help my community in that way.

I stumbled upon a Seattle Restaurant Support group on Facebook, but there wasn’t one for the Eastside, so I set up a group. Within the first few hours, there were a few hundred people in the group and talking about how to spend money locally – and which restaurants were set up to support from afar (by ordering delivery or buying gift cards for future use).

If you’re local, please join these groups and support where you can. If you aren’t local, perhaps this is your nudge to set something up in your community. We will get through this pandemic at some point, and I’d love for a few more local businesses to get through it as well thanks to our support.

3. We’ve been on a lot of walks these days and a good amount of time outside and in the woods. Just like last week, I am reminded of how lucky we are to have access to so much nature without having to go anywhere. And, like last week, I haven’t been driving anywhere.

At the end of each day, I’ve been taking the two dogs and going out for a walk just with them. In that half hour or hour (or longer), life feels normal, for at least a short while. I turn off the news, listen to an audiobook, and just enjoy being outside.

4. My mom hasn’t been able to see the kiddo because of this whole situation, and they’ve really missed each other. While she can’t see him physically, we have been FaceTiming some, though it clearly isn’t the same.

Since she can’t see him, she’s been sending gifts to play with, which has been so appreciated. These manual throwing airplanes have been the biggest hit, and we’ve been taking them down to a field at the park to play with in the sunshine. My mother in law did manage to come over one day, but we kept a “social distance” of six feet apart the whole time. Hard, but it was still so good to see her and walk to the park and play with the planes together. It’s going to be a long bit until we get back to a semblance of normalcy, but these things help.

Plane time!

5. Our neighbors have kept their children home even before the governor mandated that the schools close for a minimum of six weeks, so our kiddo has been able to play with them during the week, which has been huge. As long as we aren’t interacting with the world at large, it feels good to at least have one family we can see for now (and none of us are in a high risk category).

We’ve also been able to be outside and talking to a number of our other (older) neighbors while maintaining that distance between us. While it initially felt pretty odd to have that space while talking, we talk from our yards often enough that it wasn’t so strange. And as a super extrovert, it is so, so nice to be able to talk to people in person.

Exercise Update

This week has been lots of walking again. I think I will try and run next week, but keep it really short. My foot isn’t 100% better yet, but it’s getting there. Otherwise, I’ve done some yoga, but at a minimum, I’ve gone for a walk outside and hit my 12,000 steps every day.

Have you prepared for COVID-19? Do you have at least a two week supply of food and supplies in case you need to be home for that long?

22 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (COVID-19 Edition, Week 2)

  1. Thank you for your perspective. I live in Montana, where it hasn’t hit us yet and there is a lot more skepticism than preparedness. I am glad for your fortune and planning and feel that we are also fortunate with emergency savings to support us when this situation comes our way. I work at a high school library so there is still lot of unknowns for our situation. Good for you for making the best out of this situation with your walks and quality time indoors!

    1. It’s so wild to me to realize how different our current situation is than other places around the country right now. Being prepared is absolutely the right move now.

  2. It’s feeling waaay more real over here, too. Our state just mandated schools to close for three weeks. I have no idea what those three weeks are going to look like for us. But like you, I plan to include daily walks during that time. Proud of you for finding ways to support local small businesses!

  3. the stores have started to go crazy here with long checkout lines even though we don’t have any reported cases in our county yet. i did order some dogfood and dry goods for delivery today from target. otherwise we’re still going to work and living pretty much like normal.

  4. Unfortunately we’re not in a position financially to stock up, but I’m optimistic that everything will work out!🙂

    1. You have been such a long time supporter of this blog – seriously love your comments. Can you please email me? I have an Amazon gift card that has your name on it if you will accept it.

  5. I’m with you about thinking this whole thing was blown out of proportion last week. I’m some respects it still feels that way, given we don’t freak out over the flu. The feelings on this situation vary with each physician and nurse I speak with, so even that’s inconsistent. I’m still inclined to believe it’s not much worse than the flu and essentially hits the elderly and those with underlying conditions much harder. Time will tell.

    1. I’m not concerned for us, personally, but for a lot of people we love (and a lot of people we don’t even know). Plus, the small businesses and hourly workers who are getting hit HARD right now.

  6. It is getting crazy here in Utah. All public and private universities have moved to online classes for the rest of the semester (and who knows about spring/summer terms?), one school district in SLC area closed because a teacher and a student tested positive, grocery stores are packed, there’s no toilet paper pretty much anywhere. I’m not worried about our health, but I’m nervous for my in-laws, our grandparents, my husband’s patients at the nursing home, our pregnant daycare teacher who is due any day, friends/family/my boss’ wife/our director who are immunocompromised/recovering from cancer treatments…there’s a lot to be nervous about healthwise. And then the economy at large.

    It’s scary in some ways, but I’m also very comforted that we’re in a good situation and that the weather is improving so we can get outside and not be stuck in the apartment. It’ll be okay, but it may be a long-ish road to get there.

    1. Yeah, it seems like everywhere else in the US is trying to catch up with here 🙁

  7. My company told everyone to start working from home today. I have worked from home on occasion and I like the convenience and time I gain due to no commute.

  8. I’m glad you’re here to let people know the situation is real, and it’s wise to prepare for it. As I read your first two paragraphs, it struck me that you’re absolutely right; it seems like this pandemic has grown in seriousness so quickly. Just a week or two ago things felt totally different. I’m glad organizations are stepping up and shutting down. Our schools are our for four weeks starting today (counting spring break as well).

    My heart breaks for families that don’t have the resources to stock up, and for the homeless in our area, and for parents who have no choice but to go to work and put their kids in daycare. We’re so fortunate to work from home, and to live rurally so we can get outdoors, like you guys. I will be looking for ways to support a few small businesses, maybe by getting takeout or gift cards.

    And wow, I can’t imagine my kids being with their grandma and having to stay 6 feet apart…no hugs:( But any time together is better than nothing!

    1. Thank you. I kept feeling like maybe I was writing too much about it, but then I realized there’s no such thing, especially when it comes to personal stories to help people take it seriously.

  9. Supporting local business has totally been on my mind, especially as we see increasingly directive about social distancing and avoiding large gatherings. I really love the tip about buying gift cards for future use.

    For preparations — I think we would be OK for two weeks, although we would be eating some pretty sad meals by the end of it. Our province just got its first cases this week and while we have not seen panic buying at the same level as other places around the world (at least not yet), some shelves have been pretty bare.

    We are doing what we can to balance being prepared with…not participating in that type of thing as much as we can. For me, part of that comes from the sense of obligation I feel in relation to my job. I work in the civil service (education department) and feel very strongly that part of my role as a civil servant is to…well, bring some of the calm, if that makes sense? Our office has been working really hard to try to do that.

    1. I would perhaps think about grabbing a few extra things each trip then. No panic, but extra preparedness.

      1. That’s the plan 🙂 I actually ended up doing an inventory of our cupboard today while waiting for some lentils to cook and was pleasantly surprised with the amount of dry goods we actually have on hand. I actually ended up saying to hubby “for the next few weeks, we’ll buy one extra of certain things when we go to the grocery store.”

  10. With grown, self sufficient kids, slightly early retirement and the usual two months of supplies in the house this has little effect on us. We still get up and run outside on the early morning dark deserted streets. We still play tennis outdoors and the fishing is amazing this time of year. There is no close contact with others doing any of that. Charity board meetings are by phone instead of in person and we listened to our church service on the radio, otherwise life is just like always. I did miss our friends St. Paddy’s party last night. But with no kids at home and no jobs this is not changing much for us. Actually the canceled events make more time to fish, so that’s a plus. I feel for others who are having disrupted lives, particularly big city dwellers. It’s just not much of a thing in our rural setting.

    1. That sounds like you have the perfect deal right now. The great weather we’ve had lately has been a serious plus.

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