Finances In The Time of Quarantine

I’ve been staying home for five weeks now – well, a few days over five weeks. If you had told me a year ago, heck even in early March, that I would barely leave my house for five straight weeks, I’d have said you were nuts. But here we are. Stay at home, avoid getting sick, try to maintain sanity.

Sure, I’ve left the house a few times, though dramatically less lately. In the first eight days, I left the house and went to stores three times. Since then, twice: once to run into a store to see if they had toilet paper (they did not), once to pick up some to-go food. That’s it. My wife has left four times in the past 30 days, and one of those she didn’t leave the car. Everything else has been via delivery services. And that adds up.

First, the good news. I’m saving a shitload of money in certain budget categories. I haven’t needed to get gas in over a month. I’m not paying the $200/month in tolls I would be if I was going into the office every day. No work lunches out. No trips to the bars or restaurants, no Disney Springs for cocktails, no happy hours at Bosphorous. Even insurance companies are starting to drop their rates because no one is driving.

Now the bad. Delivery is expensive. There’s service fees, delivery fees, tips (and you gotta tip a lot, these people are risking their health to get you groceries and stuff), ancillary fees. A $100 trip could balloon up to $130 or $140 or more. So our grocery shopping is happening less frequently, but much more expensive. Normally I spend around $300 in a month; in March, it was $600. We don’t normally keep a ton in our pantry, but not knowing how this would all shake out, we bought a lot of staples. It forced me to reorganize the pantry and fridge!

Then there’s “entertainment.” Instead of spending $50 here, $100 there, going out to various bars and stuff, I’m spending just as much with Instacart deliveries. $100 for sushi, $200 at the liquor store to stock up, etc. Shit adds up!

I’m not even getting into non-food purchases; that’s for a later post.

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