I had to post this update related to the COVID-19 virus as it seems to be required of everyone this week.
My inbox is bursting with notices from more email addresses than I could have imagined. Here goes:
I implore you to take all sane precautions to protect yourself, your family, and those around you. A list of precautions can be found everywhere online, but we are told to use the CDC homepage.
It’s been a while since my last post because we’ve been locked down in the bunker…no, actually because we’ve been scavenging for home goods and haven’t had time for unimportant typing/ramblings,… no, actually because we’ve been living a great life, trying to enjoy each day and be smart about our spacing and interactions with other human beings.
(Note: speaking of home goods, my wife has been to HomeGoods and it was just normal decorating-people busy, no panic shopping there)
Lessons in Shopping:
I didn’t plan on writing this next section, but for my actual thoughts: We went to Costco on Thu March 5th as part of our normal “Costco run” and figured we’d grab a few household supplies. I was shocked there were only about 10 cases (out of the normal 500?) on the floor. WHOA, I thought. I then pushed my large cart to the toilet paper and paper towel section only to find the shelves (and floor) totally empty. There weren’t even any news stories or pictures of empty shelves yet. People must listen to Radical Personal Finance.
Continuing on, I thought I’d grab an “extra” bag of brown rice. Turns out, there was no brown rice, no white rice, and no jasmine rice at all. I did get my boxes of Quaker oats…hmm, people must not be thrilled by bland breakfast foods.
Here’s why I walked around with an “oh $h!t” feeling; I’ve never lived in a hurricane or tornado zone where the store can frequently go bare. It was an unnerving feeling. Much different than my past when shelves are kind of low in Alaska because the seasonal shipments have been sold out. That’s more of an “oops, I should have grabbed that item at the time…oh well, next time.”
Of course, there were other plenty of other items available at Costco so we just topped off our existing home supply of those goods. We had no major bulk purchases at the store.
I thought I would check out Amazon, and sure enough they had TP for sale, not priced too high, no worries, right? The next day when I went back to my PC and the page had updated, most of the TP items stated “no longer in stock, or said “available on April ##date.” This was VERY unnerving to say the least. [Note: I’m writing this 10 days later and stores have been ravaged by our afraid peers]
I should be clear; I’m mostly surprised that toilet paper is such a panic/critical item. I’m actually far more concerned at having input than worrying about the output factor.
Optimization = Preparation:
It turns out that the cost-saving practices I learned growing up of buying extra amounts when items go on sale, as well as always replenishing an item before I run low has helped me leading up to this craziness.
In the past few days we’ve started to be more considerate of those around us who may need assistance during these times. Those who cannot work from home and lose pay, those who cannot leave home due to high risk factors and those who are just stressed out.
My wife mentioned that since we’re social distancing (introvert normal-ness) ourselves at home more, that we should plan to do more home projects. I think that’s a great idea (except dealing with me more hours sounds stressful for her) to use some of this home-time to work on projects/tasks, learning new things, getting a little more zen and good “recovery” time. Example: a little less body exhausting exercise for a few weeks, etc.
So, I plan to work on strengthening our home-life foundation to come out of this stronger (and zen-ner) than ever.
This too shall pass, and we’ll be wiser and stronger on the other side.
*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice. I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be. You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice.