What 19 Things Were in My COVID-19 Shopping Cart?
I’m referring to those things in which I invested money and time over the past 144 days or so.
Given our current economic situation and the roller coaster of being an independent contractor, I’ve learned to live reasonably modestly and squirrel away a reserve. (The last recession taught me that lesson.)
Plus, I don’t want to hoard “stuff,” and after a few years of downsizing my life, I try not to accumulate loads of useless crap that I (or someone else) will need to move or sift through one day.
But…keeping things positive…my spending philosophy is much like my time-usage philosophy:
If I’m not helping someone else, learning something new, innovating, making money, getting healthier (physically and/or mentally), or having fun, why do it?
So, I took a look at where some of my money and time went since March. Of course, taxes, insurance, rent, and a trademark (plus hand sanitizer and toilet paper) were the necessities, but here’s a summary of my discretionary spending.
- Health & Wellness: One way to deal with a pandemic (besides “following the rules”) is to boost your immune system.
- Technology and Other Work/Life Gadgetry: They should always have a human benefit — making tasks more manageable, saving time, saving money, or socially connecting us.
- Entertainment: Because if you’re miserable, what good are you to anyone else?
- Marketing & Branding: I’m not just saying it because I’m in the business. Downtime is a great time to understand your customers better and invest wisely in letting them know how you are uniquely qualified to solve their problems. That can lead to more business, which reduces stress, which leads to health and wellness. You get the idea!
- Gifts: For others AND myself. We all need a reward sometimes.
So, here’s the actual list:
- Vitamins and healthy food.
- Masks and a pair of gloves. My fave mask fashion comes from Heroine Sport and Natural Life, and you don’t need to take off these errand gloves to check your phone.
- Dental work and an MRI (all necessary…I am cautious.)
- Work-outs with a trainer in the park and my building — distanced, of course!
- A new bicycle (gift, gadgets, AND health!). Love my Thousand helmet!
- WFH computer stand
- New Android S20 — great camera too — tech, entertainment, and gift
- Monday.com and upgraded Grammarly and Canva subscriptions
- Video equipment and training. (The gadgets were bought with my long-dormant Amex points)
- New headshots (plus hair and nail grooming). Good for my brand and for my soul.
- A new PowerPoint template. I’m not out on the circuit, but I’m teaching webinars these days.
- Things to amuse me in solitude, like books and movies. Yay Kindle, Audible, and Netflix! Thank you, Dean, for recommending Narcos Mexico, my new guilty pleasure. I started a new needlepoint, knitted a hat for a friend’s baby, and experimented with some new recipes too. This is clearly the era of handcrafts. I didn’t need jigsaw puzzles because I have a stash from the past.
- Gel pens and notebooks (for when I write old-school)
- Doordash (supporting local restaurants who are struggling) and Peapod
- A Memorial Day weekend staycation.
- A couple of new bathing suits. All we seem to wear in AZ are gym clothes and next-to-nothing in 110-degree weather.
- A long-awaited trip (with mask and self-quarantine) to see my family
- Stickers and little toys for my grandcritters and StitchFix for my daughters
- Charitable donations
These things don’t cost a thing.
Giving your time and energy to mentoring (which I’ve done a lot of this summer) and volunteering is always one of the best gifts you can provide.
I also used the downtime to connect with friends from my past and sift through memorabilia.
Feeling political? Get involved in a campaign. Feeling social? Write kind and supportive things on LinkedIn and Facebook posts.
Barter, with the right people, comes back ten-fold. Jill Kirsh and I, for example, have a colorful relationship going.
What did YOU invest in during the pandemic?
Even if you can’t get up to a list of 19, think about how you spent your time and money during this weird era. It’ll be going on for a while longer, I suspect, so consider those investments that will pay off — long after the last person tests positive.
Stay healthy. And remember…the best things in life are still free!
You’re welcome to post your own COVID-19 investments (money and time) in the comments!