Corona & Me – Netflix 4Eva
In January 2020, the first case of Covid-19 arrived on American shores. Most of us didn’t know it at the time, but our lives were about to change – and not for the better. As things became more serious, I found my world getting smaller and smaller with every new pandemic restriction introduced. There was no socializing, no restaurants, no movies, no skiing or snowshoeing. Even leaving the house was a problem.
For me, I was fortunate enough to have a steady job through the pandemic, but I didn’t do so great with managing my money. After everything that brought me joy or helped me cope was stripped away, I didn’t have much bandwidth for Zoom get-togethers and #We’reInThisTogether social media propaganda. And my spending reflected that state of mind.
I was all about weird Amazon purchases, streaming services, and Skip the Dishes (UberEats). The most expensive thing I ordered from Amazon was a 12-foot kayak for about $700. Surprisingly, they delivered it to my door. But most of my spending was on food. So much on food. Delivery service was my sustenance, socialization, and entertainment. Trust me; it wasn’t pretty.
Life & Money Post Pandemic
Fast forward fourteen months and most of the restrictions were lifted in my city. For the first time in over a year, I was free to go most places without a mask and take up all the things I used to enjoy. Summer was here, and a bright, new world was beckoning me with its promises of freedom. But I wasn’t having any of it. I would part my blinds and watch this strange outside-my-home place with squinty-eyed suspicion.
I didn’t know it at the time, but my less than enthusiastic response to living la vida normal was pretty typical. I grieved what my life used to look like, and I was not keen on re-investing without some sureties that my relationships and hobbies wouldn’t be banned the minute positive Covid-19 cases reached some arbitrary number.
My money paid for things that gave me a false sense of control. For example, I figured that since Netflix will never be banned because of Covid-19, it was an emotionally and financially safe investment. I also paid for my need for distraction with slices of Tuxedo chocolate cheesecake, servings of linguine rosé with shrimp, and plates of eggs Benedict. No, I’m not 400 pounds, but I’m a little surprised that I’m not.
The End & the Beginning
I realized after some time that what I was doing was only hurting me. When I wasn’t at work, my life had become a series of tiny rooms full of big, blank screens, and it was time to change. I made a very conscious decision, and it’s still a work in progress. I got a subscription to YNAB and took a hard look at my spending. The numbers revealed some unflattering truths about my choices, but it was important to see things clearly.
The first to go was food delivery spending, followed closely by my streaming service subscriptions. I kiboshed several other subscriptions, cell phone extras, and Amazon Prime. But I also wanted to bring things back into my life, so I bought a personal training package from my gym. It’s costly, but it’s something that I enjoy and moves me towards my health goals.
Somewhere along the way, I started feeling a spark. There are ideas and plans now. My transition from closed-in Covid caterpillar to beautiful live-my-best-life butterfly is still very much a work in progress. But there are things I am excited about, and I have a financial plan to help me get there.
Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash
Lindsey is a freelance writer in the personal finance and lifestyle sphere. When she’s not at her laptop, she is likely teaching herself a new hobby with a high potential for injury – such as skiing or cooking.