GratiTuesday: A Chance to Reassess

I just paid our latest credit card balance online. Nothing unusual about that. The balance was a little less than normal, but then it normally fluctuates throughout the year, depending on travel, annual payment due dates, and household purchases. What caught my eye was the line-by-line list of credits and expenses.

First, the credits. In addition to last month’s payment, there were two credits for events that we had signed-up for but were cancelled.  Both were annual gatherings we had been looking forward to, but each fell victim to the virus. Although I am grateful that we received full refunds, I feel sorry for all the people who had put so much time, effort, and money planning the events only to have them cancelled.

Please don’t judge us by the relative size of the boxes.

Now, the purchases. Almost every one of them were for items that were delivered to our home – either electronically (like Netflix and our digital subscription to the New York Times), or were brought by truck. Amazon made the bulk of the deliveries, but food items were a close second. There also may have been a few deliveries of wine.

Our credit card statements from just a few months prior look completely different. I guess I had never really examined the statements before; once I verified all charges, I paid the balanced and moved on. Now, looking closer, I can see some interesting patterns.

As expected, most of our purchases from before were made in person. I was surprised, though, how often we went to various grocery and big box stores. Missing a specific ingredient for a meal or need an item for a project? No problem. Because most of these stores are just a few miles away, it was easy to get in the car and pop over. And, if these errands happened to occur around lunchtime (which they often did for some incomprehensible reason) why not stop for a bite to eat?

Although I don’t consider myself a big clothes shopper – especially since I retired – I apparently liked to visit those types of stores now and then ( 🙂 ). Not a lot – and the purchases were fairly moderate – but enough that it made me wonder what exactly I was buying things for. It’s not like my closet is in danger of emptying out anytime soon.

There has been a lot of discussion about possible positive changes our society might make after all this is over. Although I don’t hold out a lot of hope for world peace and the end of greed and corruption, I am grateful that our credit card bill has revealed a few personal changes I’d like to make.

I don’t miss all the running around doing errands, but I do miss the lunches out. But, rather than grabbing a quick bite in between, I’d like to make that time together the focus. And with better food. Too many of the lunches involved ordering at a counter.

I’m a little surprised that I don’t miss shopping for clothes. With the weather warming up, I would have visited the mall at least once over the last two months. The fact that I haven’t missed that particular indulgence makes me think maybe it wasn’t the clothes. Maybe it was getting out for a few hours to be alone with my thoughts. Going to a park or visiting a museum or gallery would provide the same “me time” without the price tag.

Everything being cancelled this year has brought home the importance of taking advantage of opportunities when I can. There were more than a few things I meant to do but had put off… until it was too late. I don’t want to feel those regrets again.

How about you? Do you anticipate any personal long-term changes based on your experience over the last few months? Is there anything you hope to do more of – or less of – in the future?

Author: Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

106 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: A Chance to Reassess”

  1. After retiring, I too would go to the store to pick up an ingredient or two that I needed for the evening meal. Until now I hadn’t noticed how frequently I’d been doing that. But when the coast is clear, I’m definitely reverting back to that behavior. I miss food shopping! Sadly, I suspect our traveling will be curtailed for the foreseeable future, especially if flights are involved. Maybe we will be doing more road trips?

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. I never thought that I’d miss food shopping, but I do too. We just received our latest CSA box and, even though we are grateful not have to go to the store, having someone else pick out your fruits and veggies just isn’t the same. I think road trips are in our future too… but I wonder when we’ll be comfortable staying in hotels again?

  2. Thoughtful post, that I enjoyed reading! Thank you Janis.
    I have found out I can go as long as 2 weeks without grocery shopping., so far.
    More revelations to come, no doubt!

    Deb

  3. Janis, that’s an excellent point about you not missing heading out to the mall to do some shopping. I haven’t missed it and don’t “need” any more clothes. Wanting is a different matter entirely. I think my “clothes shopping outings”, were mainly to have a wander and browse, perhaps a coffee to sit and people watch. With the world situation, saving and watching what we spend is a priority at the moment.

    1. I miss the wondering, browsing, and people watching! I certainly don’t need more clothes. If you are like me, you have a few favorites that you keep reaching for anyway. I could probably get rid of half my closet and not miss it a bit (don’t tell my husband).

      1. I promise I won’t tell him 🙂 Yes, I am like you in that I tend to wear a select few than many. Most of my current clothes were brought secondhand, and I am sure the items were brought online with not much wear as are in excellent condition. Living out of a suitcase for a few years I needed to buy a few more. I’m unable to head back to the Charity Shop because of Les’s cancer so need to be more cautious.

  4. Hi, Janis – I AM totally going to judge you by those boxes. (You knew that, right?!) You are now officially my hero!!
    You have made some very thought-provoking points here. I do miss popping into stores to get needed (okay, ‘wanted’) items. As I love FRESH food, and hate having my cupboard too full, I did that kind of shopping quite often. I am often impressed by your spreadsheet. I have not tied our grocery shopping into any specific recipes, I’ve just been ordering (online) items that I think that I’ll need and then I try to creatively make something out of what I have. Your way does make much more sense.
    Oh, and true confession: try as I may, I do not have my homework done for Friday. I simply can’t think of anything! :C

    1. My husband is much better putting this and that together to make a meal. I tend to stick to recipes (with a few tweaks, depending on tastes). I keep trying to convince him to take over the kitchen, but it hasn’t worked yet. The current situation has required both creativity (don’t have X, try using Y) and good planning (oh, and wine). Btw, I think that it’s good that you can’t think of anything for Friday – that means you have no regrets.

  5. I normally didn’t just run out for one thing but would combine a couple errands, and then we’d enjoy a lunch out as well. Now, I go to the grocery store about every 10 days unless I happen to be somewhere that I can also pick up fresh fruit or veggies, etc. Being retired and an introvert, I spent a lot of time at home, but this is different isn’t it? Even though it is the right thing to do, we’re being told we shouldn’t leave home. That has a whole different feel to it. We, too, have seen a big difference on the credit card charges due to ordering so many things online. I had to return something I’d ordered to a big box store this morning. I had my face covering on, stood in line outside to enter, tried to walk down aisles where there were no people, followed the arrows, walked along the back of the store to get from one side to the other, then I waited for an end self check. It was a bizarre feeling the entire time. I will definitely look forward to leisurely grocery, fabric, and plant shopping in the future, avoiding the big box stores as much as I can, not going anywhere that includes large crowds, but getting back with a friend for lunch or a garden tour. I understand why things have changed, but it is going to be sad and bad for the economy to see all the businesses, large and small, that close permanently because of all these changes. I don’t think we’ll be traveling anywhere this summer because of so many things being unsettled, but we’ll try to make the best of our time and be grateful for it. Take care.

    1. Retired introvert here, too. And, yes, it is different… way different. Your “adventure” returning an item sounds surreal. In fact, everything done with a mask on feels surreal. I had done some volunteer work with our annual community garden tour committee and was heartbroken when they finally had to cancel the event (it would have been last weekend). I think that trying to make the best of our time is the most we can do. I hope, as things continue to evolve, our lives will become a bit more normal. Completely normal may be a ways off, but I look forward to having more opportunities to gather. Fingers crossed. Stay safe.

  6. I missed out on a bunch of things I had tickets for and a trip. Though I’m pretty good at living for today, I’m really going to do more of that if this ever ends

    1. You are way better than I am about getting out and about! I had articles pinned to my bulletin board about two ongoing events that I wanted to attend. I kept putting them off because of this and that. I vow not to give “this and that” so much priority in the future.

  7. Hi Janis, Interesting about the charges on the credit card bill. Similar for us. Interesting point about taking advantage of opportunities. I have been letting our question of the week percolate in my subconscious. Regrets? I usually do what I want to do. Regrets? Always. A few more hugs, always. Even though we saw the family every week, it still feels like it was never enough when you can no longer see them in person. (For now). It will be interesting to watch our new life evolve.

  8. I could really relate, Janis. Seeing credits for canceled theater tickets and a long-anticipated trip was bittersweet. I was also struck by how many separate trips to Costco, Trader Joes, or the grocery store we used to make. They’ve now been replaced by one big (stressful) trip to Kroger every 2-3 weeks. I like the fact that we’re planning our meals ahead and hope to reduce the number of grocery runs when this is all over—but I’m looking forward to being relaxed and not wearing a mask and gloves. The things I’m most looking forward to are resuming the occasional lunches or coffees with friends and going to a park or picnicking at one of the local gardens.

    1. There is something about doing your shopping wearing a mask and gloves that adds a whole new layer of stress and complication. I really miss casual lunches with friends too. Checking in via text or phone (or even zoom) just isn’t the same. With the warmer weather, I hope we’ll have the opportunity to gather in small groups outdoors.

  9. The virus didn’t change a lot in our lives. We are retired and never went out a lot. I find now that I jump at the chance to ride along when John runs an errand. We live in a lovely area, and I enjoy the scenery, as well as time spent with him.

  10. Living in a relatively remote corner of our province, I learned early to make use of our shopping online. Now during the pandemic, I could make use of my experience. I am sure that while many businesses were suffering, online business was and is still booming. Shopping online has its advantages. One can while sitting on the sofa go from one company to another until one has found the right item at the best price. That is particularly important for me, as I am in my late seventies and I am not getting any younger. Best wishes and greetings from Canada, Janis!

    1. My husband is a much better online shopper than I am (but I’m learning!). We’ve noticed that many things are either back ordered or unavailable, though… have you noticed that too? I have a feeling that, after this is all over, many of us will have gotten used to ordering most things online and will continue to do so. Those businesses that either already had a well-establish online presence – or were able to pivot quickly – will have the best chance to survive. Thank for the lovely Canadian greetings… best wishes to you also!

      1. So far I have been very lucky with my online purchases and was able to get most items that I needed to get. Thank you for your kind comment and have a great day, Janis!

  11. This is such an interesting post, Janis. I think looking back on our credit card statements is like reading through old journals. It really tells us a lot. 🙂 So many things are different right now in my life. Thankfully, most of it is good and I hope it will continue. The one thing that I miss tremendously is seeing my parents and taking my mother out for a marathon shopping afternoon, to give my father a much needed rest. I’m afraid I’m losing precious time with my mother as the Alzheimer’s continues despite everything feeling like it’s standing still. Time will tell, but I hope we all learn valuable lessons from this and we’re able to realize what’s really important. Stay safe!

    1. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be not to be able to see my parents during this time. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with them during the last years of their lives. My father had dementia and would have had a hard time understanding why we had to stay away. I hope that you will be able to spend time with your mother soon. Hugs.

  12. Interesting to consider that a credit card bill would be so revealing, yes?

    I didn’t get out much before the pandemic hit, so adjusting to “stay at home” was not a challenge. But I do miss the very occasional social interaction at the local cafe or running errands to the post office and library. Now that people are staying in, or most of the services are shut down, our town streets are emptier than before – and before the town was described as a ghost town, or nearly so!

    And was is very unsettling is when I do go shopping to the larger stores, or dodge in to pick up the mail – encountering other people feels like running the gauntlet. Everyone is on edge – I try to smile, but rarely do I get a smile back.

    So, to answer your question, I miss the smiles and look forward to being able to exchange relaxed casual greetings soon!

    1. Just like I missed the easy social network I had at work when we retired, I really miss those simple, often quick, exchanges I would often have when I was out and about. Now, when I go on my neighborhood walks, most of the people I pass (from at least a 6-foot distance… often from across the street) smile and wave. Most are strangers, but it feels like they are saying: “we are all in this together; I hope you stay safe.” I know that’s what I’m saying when I wave and smile back. I haven’t been shopping in large grocery stores since this started so maybe it’s different there. They are probably more focused on getting in and out quickly.

  13. I used to like online shopping. It was easy. It was fast. In this new world NOTHING is fast and I have a particular dislike for curb side pickup. This is a long way of saying that I miss shopping in person. I miss obtaining the object of my desire immediately (or almost, thereabouts), but I suspect my shopping habits have been permanently changed. The casualness in which I went shopping for ‘whatever’ now seems frivolous.

    1. We’ve done curbside pick-up a couple of times at a local grocery store. It worked pretty well. We were pleased that the fruits and veggies seemed well chosen, but we didn’t get several of the items that were on our list. They didn’t charge us, of course, but I felt that we might have been able to find the item – or made another choice – if we were actually inside the store. I imagine that sociologists will be studying and writing about this period in our history – what changed, what didn’t – for a long, long time.

  14. Janis – I’m not a ‘shopper’ but I like the ability to go out and wander the aisles from time-to-time and see things in 3-D rather than items on a flat-screen. Whether needed or not! And I’m Italian, so to not handle, fondle – oh I guess just personally choose the perfect bunch of greens or an eggplant is death to my DNA!!!!
    Great to ‘hear’ from you on your blog. It’s hard to post isn’t it?
    Take care.

    1. Grocery shopping was never something I enjoyed doing, but I find myself missing it. Although our local large grocery store has done a pretty good job with their online ordering website, you are right about missing so much when everything is 2-D. Oh, and yes, it has been hard to post lately. It’s hard to ignore the elephant in the room but we are also experiencing virus fatigue.

      1. So it has a name, eh? ‘Virus Fatigue’…hmmm.
        And as for that elephant – a large part of that elephant has icky orange fur sprouting all over it – just sayin’…
        hugs. Oh sorry I mean, ‘BLugs’
        😎

  15. As someone who went out daily on an errand, I never thought I would be so happy to simply go to Home Depot after 3 weeks of staying home when this all started, Janis. I finally broke down and ordered a case of TP from Costco…it took a month to receive it! Online ordering is great but shipping is delayed even for Amazon prime members.
    I work mostly from home, but I loved being able to go anywhere without worrying about a mask, or having sanitizing spray and wipes in my purse. I am grateful to live in our state where our governor has a smart plan for reopening…although my patience is wearing thin. The CSUs announced yesterday that Fall classes are to be taught online. I will continue to teach the two that can be online, but I won’t teach the other one that requires field trips and group projects. Sad way to end my last semester. But, despite all of this, I remain grateful for employment and my health.

    1. I hadn’t heard that about CSU’s fall classes. I feel sorry for both the teachers and the students. But, like you said, it’s good to be employed during this crisis.

      Ordering online has been an interesting experience. Often we have found – after going through the whole ordering process – that the product isn’t available. We are very fortunate to have what we need so I am not complaining (ok, maybe a little bit) but it’s obvious that our normal supply network has been impacted.

  16. Janis, I’ve been limiting myself to grocery shopping once every 2 weeks, which has forced me to do more meal-planning. What I will keep going forward – planning to cook specific recipes, especially trying new ones. But I miss the old days of casual shopping… right now it’s very stressful with half the folks not wearing masks! A friend recommended a different store chain that insists on folks wearing masks…. the chain I avoid because prices are high. And yeah, I know I should consider delivery. But I do miss shopping – even clothes shopping. One or 2 new items a season is all I ever did – no, my closet doesn’t need them either – but it lifted my spirits. And chatting with retail clerks – I miss that even. I’m still in a grieving mode for things lost… and those that will continued to be lost for the foreseeable future…live theater, arts & crafts festivals, dining out. I don’t see them coming back (into my life anyway – both hubby & I have “underling conditions” that make us more vulnerable) until we have a vaccine.

    1. So much that we took for granted is no longer available or it’s much more complicated. I think we all are still grieving and, as things close or get cancelled, that sadness begins anew. I’m surprised that you see people in grocery stores without masks. Here, they are required for anywhere maintaining a 6-foot distance is difficult. I’m glad that you and your husband are staying safe. I keep hoping for a quick, miracle vaccine but it will probably be a while.

  17. Some interesting ideas you’ve raised here, Janis. For me, I’m finding the credit card statements are another example of how I’m losing track of time, with my short-term memory becoming less dependable. I was surprised to see a balance of $200 for one card; I stared at all the transaction and recognized none of them. I thought it was fraud until my wife went over each one with me, and explained each purchase. One of them was for an oil change for my car — you’d think I’d have remembered that one! – Marty

  18. Hi Janis!

    Marvelous reflections. 🙂 I always wondered why people jumped into their car so often and easily when only needing one thing, that possibly couldn’t be that essential. Maybe it’s my laziness. Or aversion to driving and dealing with traffic, other drivers, and parking. If I could walk, that might be different.

    I embrace the fact that people are more aware of their behaviors and will be able to prioritize more on the important stuff in the future. As for myself – I’ve always loved a simple life and that will continue. We only shop for what we need (I regretfully have to report we DO need some new socks and undies after years of no clothes shopping) and, strangely, we actually go to the grocery store more now than before, because our in-laws need help with that once a week.

    Not that we did it often before, but I do miss eating out as well. Mostly, I miss not being around friends or family, as that is usually the reason we are here in MA. The cold weather doesn’t making sheltering in place, inside, any easier…

    1. I agree about eating out. I usually prefer the food we cook at home, but going out with friends (and having someone else cook and clean up) can be such a great way to spend a few hours. We’ve had a few “driveway happy hours” but it’s not quite the same as breaking bread with friends.

      I’m a little surprised that you find it harder to shelter inside when it is cold. I think I’d just want to stay under a blanket with a good book. Best wishes for warmer weather soon!

      1. It is easy to shelter inside when it’s cold, true, but because it has been cold for one month and we’ve been stuck inside the entire time, we are getting fed up with that – the “cocooning” (plenty to do on my computer, I wish I had more time, or priorities to read a book), but mostly, the fact we can’t sit outside. 😦

    1. I have had quite a few great wine deals come across my social media pages. So many local wineries that normally sell mostly to restaurants have seen that revenue stream dry up. We have gotten some great deals with free shipping. I do look forward to the day when we can actually visit the wineries. I won’t mind paying full price at all!

  19. Janis – How carefree we were about everything we purchased before and now everywhere we go, or whatever we buy, we must ponder over it first. I did have a lot of pantry items in the house but now will have to make a personal trip to the grocery store eventually for perishables in the next week or so. In the interim, I did a little what I’ll call “gap shopping” from Amazon to take me from my last grocery shopping on March 1st to today. I found it a lot easier to do too and now you can track deliveries right to your neighborhood which is great. I tried the offer of a one-month subscription to Amazon Prime – going to think on whether I will keep it or not. The last order the box was heavy and I emptied it outside on the porch – an okay idea but when it is nicer weather, that many door openings will invite flies in the house … so I’ll likely have to retrieve the items in a heavy box by running around the side of the house multiple times – not so great on a work day and weekends I like to go for long walks, and we have loads of porch pirates. Other than that, I think it is a win-win and you sure know why Amazon has cornered the market all the way along. It has not only mowed over the smaller online merchants but continues to dismantle the brick-and-mortar stores as well.

    1. I am so conflicted about Amazon. They are evil… but so convenient. We try to shop online elsewhere but sometimes they are the only choice. I can just picture you trying to empty a heavy box a bit at a time. I’m grateful my husband took care of bringing the wine inside – it was really heavy! I’m sorry that you have porch pirates. We haven’t had any boxes stolen yet, but I know they are out there. Be careful when you go grocery shopping… does everyone have to wear masks in stores there?

      1. Janis – I have been using Amazon for non-food items for a few years and like the convenience, but the last items I ordered, I took advantage of the one month free Prime. Before that even though I’m home during the day as I work from home, I would pay extra $ to pinpoint the time of day they’d deliver and I liked that you could track when they were in the neighborhood. Being a Prime trial member I had that feature too so I liked that. Also for planning like weather – we had a drenching rain today and will tomorrow as well. You could order and get a delivery on such a day and my front porch has no overhang.

        I had ordered from Amazon about 3 weeks ago and they gave me tracking info and the two items (small packages – one box, one package) arrived a day early. I never checked the tracking info once they said the time of day and next day. They were out on the porch overnight (miraculously still there but I was shocked). I have a few weeks to decide on the Prime membership or not. I don’t want to open the front door due to flies. If I ever get them in the house, it is opening the front door for the mail. I close the cellarway door whenever I go grocery shopping in the Summer to avoid them and bring everything in and then open the door.

        As to Amazon, they just opened a facility nearby and there was an article about someone filing an OSHA complaint with regard to COVID-19 and that they would alert authorities nationwide about the problem as it no doubt existed in other Amazon order fulfillment centers. I hate making Bezos richer but they are convenient as you say. You don’t worry about credit card info being out there. I heard today that at the rate of Amazon sales, Bezos will be a trillionaire by 2026. I don’t doubt it.

        As to the grocery stores – I still have not been but my supplies are now dwindling and I’ve not bought perishables since March 1st, but those items, mostly dairy had long shelf lives. I have to get paper towels soon – maybe too unwieldy to deal with as to Amazon. In our grocery stores you are supposed to wear a mask but I understand that not everyone wears one. They have special hours for seniors 6:00 – 8:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Now that it is lighter in the morning, I might try that as they classify seniors as over 60. I did not want to go out in the dark – not safe around here, especially in store parking lots.

        I do worry about bringing virus germs in the house. Anything from Amazon, I take right downstairs and then have not used it for 4-5 days. As to the refrigerated items – do you leave them for several days without using them? A fellow blogger had a heart attack last December. He wrote a post saying he wipes down everything with a spray bottle of water with 10% bleach in it. I don’t know anyone else doing that. I listen to the news too much and am becoming a bit paranoid.

        1. When we were in Mexico for extended visits, we got used to washing our fruits and veggies in a solution before eating or putting them away. Now we do the same, in a water/bleach bath. We also wipe down food packages with hydrogen peroxide. As far as non-food deliveries, we do the same as you do: put them aside for several days.

          Your flies sound horrible. I can’t imagine worrying about them every time you open the door. You should get one of those air curtains that restaurants use.

          1. OK, maybe I have to do that too Janis. I did not know if Tom was doing it just because of recovering from the heart attack. I don’t have peroxide, just alcohol right now. at the house, though I do have bleach. Interesting about washing the fruits and veggies in the bleach, but you would need to due all the lettuce issses. I have not bought romaine lettuce now for years. I would have to buy some peroxide if I go to the store. But that would not be helpful if bought at the same time. I don’t know where the flies are coming from. They are houseflies and I think people are not cleaning up after their dogs when walking then, though I don’t see anything in my front yard, yet I always have flies near the front door and soon I will not open it except to snake my arm out to get the mail. I had one of those curtains in the cellarway and it worked well, but I don’t open up the screen door for any air anymore, so took it down. Our City never had crime before the recession then a lot of people just abandoned houses, the City went down as to property value, etc. So then the crime started. I don’t take any chances at all.

  20. Our credit card statement looks a lot different these days too. Credits for some canceled events and trips, just like you, and no restaurant charges. Most of the charges this month are from the grocery store. Boring!

  21. I anticipate that we’ll not be going out to eat or getting carry out food often in the future. We did that too much before all of this and now that we’ve lived two months cooking for ourselves, I like it. Feel better. Have more money in the bank because of it. I also anticipate that we’ll be doing more of our own yard work in the future, instead of hiring services to do it. We like getting out in the yard, both of us having forgotten this, and because there’s no rush now, it’s fun.

    1. I imagine a lot of people have discovered (or rediscovered) things they enjoy doing now that they are home more.Puzzles, baking bread, crafts, etc. I love getting out in the yard too. So far, it’s mostly to weed after all of our rain, but I’d like to put in a few tomato plants and other vegetables. We haven’t had a vegetable garden for many years since we were often traveling during the growing season, but not this year 🙂

  22. I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I had thought, and have had a lot of time for introspection as I figure out why I’m having the emotions I’m having. After this is over (the main reaction, as all indications are the virus isn’t going anywhere, ever.) I do think some of my habits will have changed, and hopefully for the better.

    1. I think that it is so important to sit with your feelings… not always, but try to understand why you are having a strong emotional reaction to something (or someone). You are smart not to dismiss being scared, uncomfortable, sad… whatever it is. I tend to pretend that everything is fine when it might not be. I’m not surprised at all that you have found yourself to be strong.

  23. What a great, thought-provoking post, Janis. I, too, believe there is good to come from these circumstances, except, of course, the tragic loss of lives and all the numerous awful effects. But sheltering-in-place does make us pause and create more time with family which I love. I used to go to the grocery store in a flash, not anymore. I only go once a week, if that. I do miss having lunch out. We’ve been using take-out/delivery for our favorite restaurants and that’s been fine. But we love to go for drives on the country roads and then stop for a lunch. So, doing that has been missed.
    What makes my heart ache is not being able to travel to visit our daughter in TN. Our son (25) lives at home post college graduation and has been working at home. All is good. So, it’s been nice to have hubby and son at home. I’m not alone; I have family to chat with and hug and I’m grateful. But I miss my daughter, even though we talk all the time. Other than this, we have no complaints. We have our health and jobs. One day at a time. Oh, and I learned how to Zoom. 🙂 Anyway, thanks for a great post! Take care, Lauren

    1. It must be so hard not to be able to see your daughter. We see friends and family members using Zoom, but it’s really not the same. I don’t know what your area allows but maybe you could go on those drives in the country and take along a picnic lunch. We’ve been on a few long drives and they feel so freeing. Now that the temps are warming up, I imagine more and more people will be getting out… and hopefully staying safe.

      1. She and I talked this morning, and even though we both became emotional because of the circumstances, it’s all good. As long as she’s safe and healthy, that’s what matters the most. Our shelter is on until end of this month, so hopefully next month we can venture out. 🙂

  24. Thanks for the thought-provoking read, Janis. In the 58 days since we returned home from South America, we have prepared and eaten every meal at home. I think that this is because we used to go out for the social interactions more than the food. I have to admit that I am getting a little bit tired of repeating the same recipes. I think it is either time to do some experimenting in the kitchen or break down and call Dominos!

    1. Hi Joe! Since we’ve started to get our CSA box, we’ve been challenged to come up with recipes that use some of the veggies that we don’t ordinarily have around. I’ve gotten pretty good at using the googles to find recipes that use “X and Y.” I do admit to one or two pizza deliveries over the last month. It just makes us feel more normal.

  25. Janis, This is such a thought provoking blog. I can’t believe I overlooked it in my in-box! My statement looks the same as yours. The same old merchants over and over, and much fewer charges without the travel. When safe, I plan to do more local sight seeing and travel. There are so many neat things to do close to one’s home as long as we don’t take them for granted. This time has made more appreciative of all the local parks, waterways, museums, etc. I miss them.

    1. I guess that it’s typical to ignore (or forget about) local attractions unless we have visitors in town. Since travel won’t be on our agenda for quite a while, I also am looking forward to enjoying what our local area has to offer. I imagine tourism will be down so maybe we locals can actually find parking and not have to wait in long ticket lines.

  26. Like you, Janis, I have spent way too much money (and calories) on counter-style food. During the shut down, I’ve paid a good deal more per meal to order one really fine meal from a local restaurant one a week or 10 days. I’m probably spending on that meal, what I might have spent on fast food for 5 or 6 meals, but I’m healthier for the money and I feel that the dollars are helping this mom and pop businesses weather the storm.

    I don’t usually buy a lot of gasoline, but I haven’t filled my gas tank since the lock down went into effect in March. It has been an interesting time. But this weekend, things are opening up (prematurely, I believe). I can hear the level of traffic ramping up. 😦

    1. I have such mixed feelings about the opening up of so many cities and towns. My fingers and toes are crossed that they can do that safely. I imagine my husband and I will continue to stay as close to home as possible. We don’t need to hurry things and we have plenty of projects and activities to keep us busy.

      I have an electric car so I do all my “fueling” in my garage… but I haven’t had to plug in for many weeks. I would like to take a long drive one of these days, though… we’d stay in the car but it would be nice to see other vistas outside our home and neighborhood.

      1. Ooh!!! Which electric car do you have? That was on my agenda for this spring, but I put it on hold. Unfortunately, the car that would work the best for me (Subaru Outback) does not provide a hybrid. Maybe if I wait long enough they’ll come to their senses.

        1. I have a Hyundai Kona. I bought a Nissan Leaf when they first came out and really liked it… until someone running a red light t-boned me in an intersection. I went to the dark side and bought a gasoline car after that… why? I have no idea. Anyway, I hated it and started looking for another electric after a few years. The Kona has received excellent reviews and has about the same range (280 miles/charge) as the much more expensive Tesla does. Anyway, I’d love it if Subaru came out with an electric Outback and/or Forester. The more electric car choices, the merrier!

  27. I do not doubt that the wisdom you have gained from the pandemic, and this walkthrough your credit card statements will have a lasting impact on how you live life going forward. Seize the opportunities while you can and leave here without regret. It was the wisdom I gained from my friend Mary’s death from cancer. She taught me to enjoy the moments and pursue a dream while I was able.

    When I lived in NYC, I shopped for clothes as a sport. Cashmere was my Achilles’ heel ;-). But there was little room on the boat for a wardrobe, so I took what little I needed, gave away the rest to charity, and never looked back. Now it is all about the experience.

    1. It’s amazing how few clothes one really needs, isn’t it? I like adding something new now and then, but I think it is just for that quick and fleeting “high” we get… I really don’t need anything else. Experiences are so much better and the memories last so much longer.

      I’m so sorry about your friend. She sounds very wise – and you were equally wise to learn that important lesson. You are the poster child for seizing opportunities and living with few regrets.

  28. Interestingly, our credit card bills have been higher during the pandemic, mainly due to two things. I’ve always preferred to pay cash for groceries; it’s easier for me to stay within our budget that way since I shop at several different stores. Now that COVID-19 has changed my attitude toward cash, all the grocery purchases go on the card. And, since Alan started a major retaining wall project after the holidays, there are numerous charges for drainage pipe, block and other necessities. It’s a sad, sorry state of affairs when a three hour round trip outing to the block dealer is the highlight of the week!

    1. House projects can be a tremendous drain on finances… one purchase at a time. Retaining walls are a big deal, is your husband doing the work himself? We recently had to drive to a home improvement store several miles away because they were the only one who had what we needed in stock. I can’t tell you how exciting it was to see a different neighborhood… what a thrill!

      1. Yes, all the work himself – what a guy! Drew up the plan, excavated with his small loader/backhoe, is setting the block and back filling. I’m just the hired help – raking gravel and dirt, and cleaning off the block to prep for the next row. Definitely hard, but rewarding, work – and we’ll be happy when it’s all done!

  29. I love the display of boxes, supported of course by an appropriately sized wine box! Do tell, did you use your stimulus check to buy extra? That’s a valid use of it for sure! I have noticed a decrease in our gas tank fill-ups, and less other stuff being ordered online. Amazon Prime isn’t refunding the fee we paid for the service and even medical supplies aren’t coming the next day. I had been practicing early in January to see how long the items I had on my list really lasted before I HAD to go get something. Then the lockdown hit, and well, the rest is history. I don’t really need the mascara after all. LOL. I do notice that all the fun clothes that I finally splurged to buy my empty nest self last fall just hang there in the closet looking quite lost compared to my one outfit a week that has been tossed in the clothes basket ready to be washed. I may need to go out of the house just to wear one of them to revive the energy they gave to the closet originally. I think you hit it on the desire to socialize as being key. If you can’t do that, why go out? I sure miss seeing my girlfriends and chatting over a glass of wine. How about you?

    1. Before the shut down, I had thought that the speed of Amazon deliveries was a bit creepy. It seemed at times we’d order in the morning and receive it that afternoon (probably not that fast, but it felt that way). That always seemed so wasteful… did we really need whatever we ordered that fast? Anyway, I guess it’s gone the other way and we have to wait weeks, if we even get the item at all.

      I have a few newish, sadly ignored pieces of clothing in my closet too. I know that some people make it a priority to dress up every day… it just makes them feel better. I tend to gravitate towards comfort. I haven’t worn makeup in quite a while. I put some on for a Zoom session once, but then realized that no one could tell 🙂 And, yes, I miss my girlfriends so much. Phone calls, texts, and Zooming isn’t the same by a long shot.

      1. I agree with you on the creepy factor of Amazon next day delivery. It especially got me when our order seemed like so many unrelatable items, how did they get them all in one package so quickly? The mail service now seems ‘normal’ in a way.
        Glad to read I’m not the only one about the ignored clothing and the lack of wearing makeup. That’s funny about Zoom. I haven’t been able to make my camera work with it yet? It’s a nice excuse to not have to worry about make-up or if the hair looks okay? Sometimes I wonder if that’s the case when I catch a glance in the mirror?
        I do look forward to a girlfriend gathering again some day! You’re right technology is okay, but definitely falls short of the fun in person gatherings provide.

        1. Interesting about your camera not working in Zoom. I usually use my iPad but I have also used my laptop and even my phone successfully. Do you use a separate camera? Maybe you could google your problem. If you are having issues, chances are pretty good others have had it too. Good luck!

          1. It’s the weirdest thing. I can use the camera just fine with Skype and SLACK, but not Zoom or GOTO. I’m waiting for an opportune time to ask my in-house IT man to fix it. He set it all up originally and he has to be in the bestest of moods to tackle navigating around all the wires, (and my piles of WIP’s) to fix things. Thank you for the idea to google it, wouldn’t that be funny if I fixed it myself? 😉

  30. Hi Janis! I really should change my notifications for your posts because I just got this this morning (Monday) and I feel like I’m late to the party!!! Still, I agree that looking at our CC bills can sure tell us what we are spending money on and in many cases–what we value. Was that a case of wine being delivered in the photo??? 🙂 I’m like you in the fact that the last two months my CC bill has had a BUNCH of travel credits on it for the big trip to Spain/Portugal that we had planned for now. I’ve been able to recapture most of what we’ve spent as well as get vouchers for when we can travel again so I’m happy about that…but still disappointed. And I agree that there is that underlying emotion of loss of time. Hopefully we both have TONS more time to replace what we are experiencing right now…but one never knows. Thanks goodness for for our connections and being able to express that, right? ~Kathy

    1. Why, yes, that was a case of wine. A local winery had a great deal with free delivery… we couldn’t pass it up 🙂 I’m sorry you missed your spring trip to Spain and Portugal. I hope that all the planning you put into your itinerary will be put to good use soon(ish). I am so very thankful for my connections too. Not everyone is experiencing the current situation in the same way but reaching out to others and talking about what is happening in our lives makes me feel less like my husband and I are living on an island. I look forward to the time when those connections can include face-to-face talks and hugs again.

  31. Janis, interesting to look at one’s spend to understand one’s true behavior. And interesting observations you made about your own spending pattern and the changes. It is hard to extrapolate what tomorrow’s reality will be but it seems pretty inevitable that we are not going back to the same normal, there will be a “new normal”.

    On our side, the drastic observable behavior pattern change has to do with two things: one a great reduction in restaurant spending and two we usually schedule weekly massages, this while we were living in Asia and such luxuries start to feel more like necessities given the low price tag (in comparison with Europe or the U.S.)

    Love the idea of museums and parks instead of shopping!

    Peta

    1. Restaurants and massages… two things I dream about 🙂 It’s hard to imagine what our new normal will look like. I know that many are anxious to get back to their “normal life” but I think they might be in for a shock. It’s not like someone will flick on a lightswitch and we all will resume our lives. In California there is talk about phasing in the easing of restrictions… my husband and I will be much more wary (and we are grateful that we have that option available to us). I do look forward to visiting our local parks and museums; I hope I won’t have to wait too long.

  32. What I noticed about our recent credit card statement was how small it was. Not going anywhere certainly cuts down on expenses! I’d like to keep it that way, although I do notice a little more shopping due to things we simply put off during lockdown. It was interesting to see how little you really need to get by.

  33. Hi Janis. Something I’m grateful that I didn’t put off is international travel. Since retiring less that three years ago, I’ve had a trip to Portugal and London, one to Germany, one to the Chicago area, one to Crete, and one to Maui. I love international travel, but won’t be doing much of it in the next couple of years. A change I regret is that some of my efforts to be environmentally conscious have changed. I’m once again using household cleansers with disinfectant properties rather than environmentally sustainable products, I’m using a lot more water washing, washing, washing, and I’m using more hot water rather than cold. I’ve put off buying an electric car as I wait for my investments to recover.

    Jude

    1. I’m also grateful for traveling when we could. Hopefully that ability will return (and before we are no longer physically able to travel) but, aside from a few bucket list destinations we didn’t get to, I’m happy seeing what we did. And, yes, the environmental costs… yikes! Yes there are fewer cars and planes (yay!) but I’ve been using more of what you listed plus plastic (bags, etc.). Fortunately, I purchased my (second) electric car last year – but there it sits in our garage for the most part.

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