Who would’ve thought that 2020 would have such an eventful start? This year we’ve had so many things happen from the death of Kobe Bryant to the worldwide pandemic of the Coronavirus. Dealing with rough times can be hard, and even stressful. It can also be difficult to maintain our current standard of living. Especially with grocery stores being empty, Walmart running out of toilet paper and schools being closed leaving kids at home. Hopefully, we can make this process a lot easier with a few ways to make the most out of what you currently have while going through this world wide hardship.
During these times a lot of people have had reduced hours, or even worse, are laid off. This can make it especially difficult for people when grocery shopping. Not to mention the grocery stores having limited supply so you may not have the option of shopping for the best price. If you are experiencing a job loss or you’re laid off during this time, you should first take advantage of as many food/income resources as possible. There are a lot of schools in the St. Louis area delivering lunches for children, also many restaurants are doing either free or cheap kids meals during breakfast and lunch hours. Another option is to apply for state food assistance and utilize food pantries.
Participating in these food options can drastically cut your food costs. Use any other money you have allocated for food for planning your meals throughout the week. Try to buy food that can last a long time and make multiple meals. For example, you can slow cook a pork Shoulder (about 5lbs.) and use it for multiple meals:
1. Pulled Pork Sandwiches
2. Korean BBQ Pork and Rice
3. Carnitas (Pork) Tacos
4. Pork Ramen
The key is to pick something that’s versatile and that your family enjoys eating. Hopefully, with your mind off of food, you can focus more on finding supplies and resources.
Although finding supplies and toiletries during this time is difficult it is not impossible. I’ve learned over time that some stores stock daily instead of putting everything out at one time. One store that practices this often is Aldi. With grocery stores choosing to restock daily you have a higher chance of finding what you need by going to the store as soon as they open. There are many other stores that practice this, but it may take a little research to determine who does but it is possible.
Remember that during this time you only get what you need, instead of buying up as much as you can. This will help stores remain stocked in supplies that everyone will need. Next, be sure to take advantage of all the free programs and discounts being offered by utility companies (Ameren, Spire, Charter/Spectrum) this can really save you money during this time. Lastly, check resources on the internet as things are updated weekly. You could find giveaways of food, toiletries, and other supplies. If you are in need of any immediate help call 411 to speak with someone about resources in your area.
No one wants to sit at home all day, but unfortunately this is our new normal. While being at home you can do many things to better your environment. First, take some time out of each day to clean. Having a clean environment can help you feel better emotionally and give you a better thinking space. Husbands have plenty of time to knock out some items on their “honey do” list.
Make sure you also get out and do something fun. I know we are limited to what we can do but how about going in the backyard, lounging and sipping on a cool beverage? Or keeping the kids busy with playing freeze tag or blowing bubbles. The goal is to get out of the house as much as possible, of course within reason, to ward off cabin fever while maintaining social distancing.
Next, try to continue your children’s education from home. This may pose of challenge, especially for those of us that have been out of school for a while, but, I encourage you to take some time to work with them on something at least once a day. This will help them stay current
on what they’ve learned during the school year. At such an early age children must continue to practice what they’ve learned to prevent regressing and to continue to get better. I would filter through the core topics daily to keep them sharp (Reading, Writing, and Math). Don’t be afraid to utilize tutoring tools that are free while students are out of school. For example, ABC Mouse is free while children aren’t in school. You can also check with your child’s school district to see what other resources may be available.
Now, more than ever, we need to look at the glass as being half full. It can be depressing to think about all the things you can no longer do. Let’s all try remaining positive during this time and focusing on the things we can control. Cutting food costs and planning our meals can
help us reframe from stressing about food or food cost. Being resourceful and frugal is the key to making sure everyone can get what they need.
Lastly, having fun and a clean environment can positively impact our outlook on the situation. Using these tips, and even researching other things to do around the house can really help us save time and money. Ultimately, we can emerge from this with a closer family, cleaner more organized homes, better eating habits and a better appreciation for time with family and friends.
Robert Nelson V
Financial Education Coach