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What are you doing differently?

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As the world returns to “normal” from the Pandemic scare and quarantine is over in most of the country, the news continues to carry the threat that the virus will return in spades. I do not claim to be an expert at all. And frankly, do not have a strong opinion either way.

At this point, I am confident my business is varied enough to be considered “quarantine” proof, at least for the time being. But due to our continued “no spend months” over the last 6 months or so coupled with the quarantine, larger number of kids at home and scarcity of certain items, my normally very well stocked pantry and essential items is pretty depleted.

In fact, for the last couple of months, I have not been able to buy my typical economical toilet paper at all. I finally had to breakdown and purchase the “fluffy” kind. Ugh! It’s so thick, we were going through a roll a day. I finally found our normal brand online, at more than a $1 per roll. But I’m not going to be without again. Anyone else facing similar ‘challenges?’

toilet paper

 

Toilet Paper Blows the Budget

I realize that in the larger scheme of things, this is not life changing, but it gets my point across. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve spent upwards of $80 on toilet paper. Just toilet paper. And I have no regrets.

While the $80 in toilet paper does blow my budget for the month, I am certain it will even out over time as we will use it far more slowly than the “fluffy” brands.

Are there things similar to this that you are doing differently now in preparation for a “just in case” scenario of the pandemic/quarantine requirements returning?


31 Comments

  • Reply Honey Smith |

    Cases are still rising here, the first wave isn’t over, let alone the second (AZ)

    • Reply Hope |

      Yes, that is my thought as well. And why I am focused on being better prepared while not going overboard or being a “hoarder.” But definitely going to be more prepared.

    • Reply Hope |

      I would certainly consider the pandemic a scare. It was scary as we considered my grandmother and made the hard choice to completely isolate her. It has been scary for my mom as my siblings respected social distancing with her being high risk and her not completely understanding. I don’t know how it would not be considered a scare.

      • Reply Emily N. |

        When people call something a “scare”, they mean that it was scary but that nothing bad actually happened. Coronavirus is not a scare because bad things actually have happened and are continuing to happen.

  • Reply Laura |

    The world isn’t returning to normal. Numbers are rising in many places. You continue to downplay the virus.

    • Reply Hope |

      True, that’s why I put normal in quotations or call it a new normal. Things have definitely changed and I imagine will continue to change. All we can do is adapt and prepare where we can.

    • Reply Cwaltz |

      I am continuing to try and follow guidelines which suggest that you should have a 2 week supply of things should you be required to quarantine. I am somewhat fortunate because our household has someone who works at a grocer during stocking hours which means I have been able to get items that are sometimes harder to get(yeast, sanitizing wipes, antibacterial soap etc, etc.) I am mindful though that others also need these items so also stick to restricting the amounts of things like these to two per weekly trip. Next month I am hoping to pull the trigger on a larger fridge/ freezer. So I have had some expenditures that are planned for but that exceed our everyday expenditures. While things are not “normal” by any stretch of the imagination, life is going on. Our friends had an outdoor barbeque (for around 11 adults and 7 kids) and it was enjoyable even if in some ways it felt a little odd with the threat of the virus ever looming. I’m sure some would call it risky but since the husband is a doctor and quite a few of the people there were essential we saw it as no different than the risks we are taking in day to day activity that we engage in. It was a rare treat but a reminder of the things that make life worth living. My heart hurts for people like Nick Cordero who continues to fight for his life in NY and the families who have lost. My mind keeps going back to Tpol and wondering if his mom was able to pull through. My daughter is pregnant and will give birth in September, we still aren’t sure if dad will be allowed to be present for the birth. He wasn’t allowed in for ultrasounds(her first one was a worry so they repeated it as well as did genetic testing). My desire to have a Disney cruise was put on hold and I have contributed money to a local food bank because even though our household income has been impacted somewhat it has not to the extent of people in the food and travel industry(I actually cringed because one of our friends who owns several food businesses gave us our pizzas for free when the point of us visiting was to help him ensure his business could remain intact. I guess he’s doing okay though since he felt the need to do that and he was a reminder that there are so many good people out there beyond my household.) Most things have reopened, but not all. My friend, a local councilwoman says the guy who owns the local bowling alley and trampoline center is looking at losing everything since he has been unable to open and has had to let all of his workers go. Get our cases in our state have us caught in phase 2. I’m grateful that our mortality rate hovers at 2.8 but sad that some people like this business owner may lose everything not because he has a bad model but because It’s absolutely a bad time for owning a business like his. It’s hard. All in all everything still feels a little surreal even as we plow forward with day to day and try to get back to whatever normalcy will eventually look like.

  • Reply Leo |

    How can you even have an opinion on a virus anyway? It’s real. It’s here.

    • Reply Hope |

      There seem to be two divisive sides to this virus…it’s real and it’s serious vs it’s real but not so serious. I’m saying, either way, I want to be prepared. I don’t care to debate one side or the other.

      I prefer to err on the side of caution and prepare. I’ve stocked up on toilet paper (duh, point of post,) medications, food, etc.

      So the point of my post was to ask the BAD community how they are preparing if the government requires quarantine and closures again. Preparing definitely has financial implications.

      • Reply Shewearsfunnyhat |

        It’s bad! Florida reported over 4,000 new cases for June 20th. June 19 had close to 4,000 new cases. The only people saying it’s not bad are those who choose to keep their eyes closed.

  • Reply T |

    Nothing about our lives in the same. Our income is way down, my husband is working from home (thankfully) and has been told to that he will be for the next 18 months, we are shopping for food differently my kids have no activities, can’t see friends like they used to be able to, and all planned vacations have been cancelled. We are planning on what to stock up on when, not if, everything shuts down again.

    • Reply Hope |

      Around here, almost everything is back to normal. Activities have resumed, every is open again, etc. I realize that this is primarily due to the fact that we live in a really tiny, contained community. We are far enough outside of any big cities, that few if any, people commute.

      Other than larger chains, like Chic Fil A, which is 30 minutes away, everything is open. And while all essential employees wear masks – Sea Cadet – EMT, History Buff – home improvement store, Beauty – grocery store and Princess – fast food, the majority of people I’ve seen when I’ve been out do not wear masks. I continue to do my shopping online or through Walmarts pick up service.

      • Reply Lauren |

        There’s no “alternate opinion” on this, Hope. There are the normal, productive, intelligent states run by people who believe in science and instituted lockdowns/quarantines early on and are now reaping the benefit as their curves have flattened, and then there are the backwards states run by governors who deny science and who are now playing catch-up by locking down things they should have never allowed to re-open in the first place. The people who think this is overblown or a hoax and refuse to wear masks are total morons. Why would you even seriously consider their opinions? Are any of them scientists, doctors, epidemiologists, virologists?

  • Reply SMS |

    Where I live, it’s plateau-ed (NJ), but NJ still has the most cases in the country after NY. I recently visited with people outside, six feet apart, for the first time since March. I understand relaxing restrictions because the economy will collapse otherwise, but I don’t think we will really be safe until there is a vaccine and a lot of people have gotten it. Please take it seriously!

    • Reply Katie |

      Yep, my eighty something in-laws are in NJ and both got it. It was 5 weeks between being in the hospital and a rehab center. They’re now at home w home health care and will have to move into a senior living community. Nothing about this has been easy. Because this is a financial blog, I will also mention that this will cost us well into the five figures.

      • Reply Hope |

        Yes, while my grandmother did not get COVID-19, at least until this point, the cost of the senior living community is definitely not cheap. My dad has started looking at them for my mom if it comes to the point where he can no longer care for her.

        My siblings and I have a game plan for when that phase comes in our parents lives. In this case, I’m grateful that there are 5 of us and that my dad has been preparing for a number of years. It would look very different if there were only a couple of us.

  • Reply Cynthia |

    I am in a hot spot and so trying to limit leaving the house. Grocery stores are still hit or miss on many items. There are often limits of 1 or 2 on anything remotely popular. I am shopping at Sams club more because limit 1 case of canned food is better than limit 1 can at my regular grocery. I no longer have the luxury of going to multiple stores and shopping sales. I buy what I know I will need whether it’s in the budget or not because I don’t know when I will see certain items again. I’ve made sure my home is prepared for an emergency by updating the fire extinguishers, flashlight batteries etc. I got an additional life insurance policy and made sure important paperwork is easy to locate.

    • Reply Hope |

      We are having the same issue which is why I’m stocking up where and when I can. Our Sams Club (an hour away) went from a Limit of 1 to a Limit of 2 in the three weeks between visits. I took Sea Cadet with me the second time so that we could go through and get two of each…

      But they were completely out of toilet paper. And the time before were completely out of chicken. It’s definitely been hit and miss in finding things we normally keep in stock.

      • Reply Angie |

        Don’t you realize this is exactly WHY things are out of stock? If people keep panic buying the supply chain is never going to catch up. You’re just taking away from others. Some people do not have enough cashflow to buy all their groceries in bulk. They go to the store to get what they need for the next few days because that’s all they can afford. Imagine how heartbreaking it is for them to see the pasta or canned shelves empty? They may go hungry. No one needs to buy 4 cases of beans or whatever.

        Please stop panic buying and stockpiling! After 3 months I’m surprised this is still happening.

        • Reply Hope |

          I’m certainly not panic buying. But I am restocking what I normally keep here.

          And yes, it has been hard. We haven’t been able to get rice, pasta or toilet paper for months. Thankfully, not because of cashflow but because it wasn’t available.

        • Reply Cynthia |

          Side note~ Panic buying and stock piling were not necessarily the causes of shortages. What about all the professionals who eat out every meal suddenly stocking an entire pantry and kitchen because restaurants closed? People who bought lunch at work every day suddenly began working from home. Parents with kids in school who ate breakfast and or lunch at school 5 days per week and used the school’s toilet paper for 35 hours per week suddenly needed lots more food and TP. It was the fact that suddenly EVERYONE needed to eat at home 24/7 indefinitely that overloaded the system and if people had gradually stocked up a little over time it might not have happened the way it did.

      • Reply Cynthia |

        I don’t think it’s hoarding or stockpiling/taking from others when you have as many young adults as Hope, and many others, have in a household. So she can go to the local grocery every few days putting herself and others at risk to hope toilet paper is available or make a trip to a warehouse club and get enough to last a little longer so she can stay home. I know others may not agree, but this is one of those situations where you need to do what’s best for your own family. Based on the way Hope seems to care for others I’m sure she would give some of her items away to anyone who needed it.

  • Reply Caroline |

    Well, my dear friend who’s mother died from the virus a few weeks isn’t seeing life return to normal any time soon. I think you are just blowing it off as no big deal, and I’m sure there will be more for *all* of us to contend with. And we have no guarantee when, or if, a vaccine will be available. Look at HIV, it’s been 40 years, and no vaccine yet.

    • Reply Hope |

      I don’t know how anything in my post says “blow it off.” I’m saying I want to be prepared.

  • Reply Cynthia |

    I left a comment earlier, but my internet froze so I don’t think it posted.
    Basically I am buying what is available when I see it, even if I don’t need it right then. (Things are still hot or miss in my area, most food and medication is limit 1).
    I beefed up home safety, replacing fire extinguishers, getting a solar radio etc.
    I bought an extra life insurance policy.

  • Reply Reece |

    Where I live in the Midwest we are open for mostly normal business. While we know this virus is not going anywhere for a long time, we are seeing cases rise but hospitalizations and deaths drop and recovered known cases increase as well which is really encouraging. I’m not holding my breath for a vaccine……I mean they’ve been working on the AIDS vaccine for 30 something years right? Ebola for at least 5. We have flu vaccines but they’re only a certain percent effective because of mutations. So my point I guess is we have to figure out a new normal and that can’t be staying home 24/7 because that’s not sustainable long term. Protect the sick and elderly as best as we can though!

  • Reply Deb |

    Hi Hope,

    I am wondering how 80 dollars in tiolet paper blew your budget for the month.
    Congrats on your no spending challenges for the past few months. Can I ask where that money was put and what was it used for? We do a no spend challenge every once in a while but out total grocery budget is about 400 a month for five people. It’s very tight most months because of rising prices, lack of extra shifts at work, and shortages.

    Corovid 19 is indeed a pandemic. I work in a critical care unit as a registered nurse and I have never seen such sick folks. The number of folks passing from this virus is in need a scary situation due to the lack of knowledge (in the beginning of the pandemic). Folks are still being hospitalized and are still critically ill in Florida. My family goes to the grocery store (sometimes does insta cart), and go to work. We all wear our face masks, use hand santizer, and do not touch anything that we are not going to buy. The grocery stores here are limiting can goods (Aldi for example) to four cans of vegetables. There’s limits on pasta, rice, bread, soups, and most pantry items. There’s limits on packs of tiolet paper and bottled water.

    The prices on beef are outrageous and have sky rocketed in price. We have been buying more ground turkey instead of ground beef. If I can find a beef roast in my price range (which is not very often), I will buy it however, it has to be less than 5.99 a pound. Ground beef is almost 6 or 7 dollars a pound depending on whether you go to Winn Dixie, Target, or Publix. I can get groud turkey for 1.99 a pound at Aldi.

    Pork is a bit less expensive. We do eat pork chops and occasionally as a treat ham. We don’t each more other pork. My husband and kids enjoy seafood but right now the cost isn’t in the budget. We have been eating a lot of chicken (but that’s because it’s 1.99 a pound for boneless skinless chicen breast).

    Shopping for my family can be a challenge. We did have to buy tiolet paper from my friend’s buy in group that she is a member of. She bought the tiolet paper and we gave her the cash for it. The stores have been empty. I can not have fresh produce due to an esophageal disorder. I have eat canned vegetables and we serve two different vegetables in a meal. We have switched to some frozen veggies like brocolli and caliuflower (which I can simmer until very soft).

    We have five people in our home. We eat two meals (breakfast which most of us are on our own to make something, which is usually eggs and toast), and dinner is together at the table. We will serve one starch, two vegetables, and a protein. Left overs are always used and usually are a lunch thing since my faily prefers hot meals over cereal or sandwiches.

    Life has changed in the city we live in. You are supposed to wear a mask when you leave the house. Folks are choosing not to and I am ok with their decision until the virus begins to affect someone in my family or someone I love. Gas prices were down to 1.69 a gallon and have rose back to 2 dollars a gallon. Milk is very expensive here at 4.99 a gallon (we use fat free milk and can go through two gallons every two weeks). Eggs are more expensive but the cheapest protein source in the area.

  • Reply SMS |

    I truly believe this is not comparable to HIV, which in any event has become something people can live with. We will not be waiting 40 years for a Covid vaccine ….but 4 years, that could be, until a vaccine had gone through all the testing etc it needs before being put on the market. And herd immunity has to develop. It will be a while.

    I have also thought when reading Hope‘s posts that she does not realize the deadly seriousness of this situation. But maybe most people in her area do not.

    I don’t blame her for trying to stock up since she has to feed so many people.

  • Reply Nancy |

    Hope,
    You seriously should write a book, you are a great writer and for some unknown reason, no matter what you write, many of your followers just have to respond negatively. it’s like ” yippee, a post from Hope, I can’t wait to gripe at her about it because my own life sucks”!! So I’m thinking if you wrote a book, regardless of the topic it would be controversial and a guaranteed best seller.

So, what do you think ?