Well, with cases climbing in a big way again, we’re back to holing up at home. Not that we really did a whole lot through the summer, but we did eat outside at restaurants a couple times, had a small ” bubble” with another household or two, and our families helped with childcare (masked, distanced). While it was a long way from normal, we had fallen into a level of routine that made things a bit better, and it’s hard to go back to fully bubbled within the four of us who live in our household.
Vaccine(s) are on the horizon, which in some ways makes this time a bit better, but at the same time it feels even harder; like those last few weeks before school is out. That, and the fact that things are looking really, really grim for this winter. We just have to hold on until there are vaccines available – and then take them – but part of me has a hard time seeing us in a better place as a nation right now.
That said, I am very thankful to be in Washington State under Governor Jay Inslee’s leadership. We may be at 5-7% positive in this state with new cases north of 2,000 a day, but when I look around at the rest of the country, Washington is still doing okay. Still bad, but governance led by science and facts mean things don’t look quite as dire.
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Friday’s Frugal Five
1. Well, gyms have been closed again to indoor exercise, so I’m back to not paying for the gym. Granted, I haven’t been to the gym since February, but I had kept my auto payment in place since they opened up this summer. I pay less than $20 a month, so it was worth keeping myself grandfathered in to that rate, but with mask use less than perfect, I haven’t gone.
Maybe the next time they open their doors again it will be at a time where I feel comfortable going. While we have a few weights at home and I’ve been running outdoors often, I sure do miss the gym. I’ll never be someone who trades her gym membership for a fully set up home gym as long as I can help it.
2. We’ve paid for the annual membership of ABC Mouse for the kiddo, and it’s been a great addition to homeschooling. This feels especially relevant now that I’m back working from home (instead of in an individual office at our small building) and I’m in charge of working and homeschooling concurrently two days a week.
Since my husband and I are both working just four days a week, two days are covered for focused school days, and the roommate has a third day, which means the last two are for me to balance. Two is so much better than the five I was doing back in March and April, and him being “in school” helps, but so does ABC Mouse. While a lot of our homeschooling with him is offline – part of why we aren’t doing Zoom school – having technology has definitely helped as well.
3. Along with the gyms closing locally, restaurants are now back to take out and outdoor dining only. We are no longer comfortable with dining out, so we are back to 100% take out. That said, we’re back to upping the amount of take out we purchase in order to support our favorite local restaurants.
This is true for other local businesses as well – bookstores and toy stores, etc. If we’re going to get through this with more businesses than the big ones like Amazon and Target, we need to vote with our dollars.
4. The weather is rainy and cold most days now, but we’re finding time to get outside every day no matter what. Even when I go on a soggy run where I step in a foot deep puddle, my mental health is so much better for outside time, especially in the daylight. We may be spending more on local businesses, but our local parks continue to be free.
5. The Plutus Awards were last Friday (the “Oscars of Personal Finance”) and I won the Community Builder award! Cue happy tears. I was also nominated for Best Financial Content for Women and Blog of the Year, but as I’d been telling everyone for months, Community Builder was the award I was hoping for. Since the event was virtual this year, the husband and kiddo were listening in when my name was announced (on our anniversary, no less), and that made it extra special.
Speaking of Community Building – I finally set up a Ko-Fi account for my admins and moderators for Women’s Personal Finance thanks to recommendations from our members. I was able to send out the first round of money to them all (and to me) this past week from the “coffees” members bought for us. Along with money, members left notes of appreciation for the group, and we are feeling so, so loved. Women’s Personal Finance has been a serious labor of love for almost three years now, and it feels really good to be able to compensate the team for even a fraction of their time and effort.
My running has gotten more frequent lately, and I’m loving it. Friday I did an hour of stairs (since I don’t have access to an elliptical) while listening to the first part of the Plutus Awards. Saturday was a run by myself in the sunshine. Sunday was a trip to the park where I did high step up/downs while the kiddo and his (masked) neighbor buddy played.
Monday was another run with the kiddo, and Tuesday I went out by myself in the rain. Wednesday was a shorter (fifteen minute) run with the kiddo before he was ready to go home and warm up. Thursday was another walk through the woods with some play time (while I walked around in circles), and then I finished off the evening with a walk in my neighborhood next to the woods while listening to Braiding Sweetgrass.
Are you back on “lock down”? What does it look like at home for you right now?
PS. stay home for Thanksgiving.