Bad Girl, Good Business

What 19 Things Were in My COVID-19 Shopping Cart?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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:

  1. Vitamins and healthy food.
  2. 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.
  3. Dental work and an MRI (all necessary…I am cautious.)
  4. Work-outs with a trainer in the park and my building — distanced, of course!
  5. A new bicycle (gift, gadgets, AND health!). Love my Thousand helmet!
  6. WFH computer stand
  7. New Android S20 — great camera too — tech, entertainment, and gift
  8. and upgraded Grammarly and Canva subscriptions
  9. Video equipment and training. (The gadgets were bought with my long-dormant Amex points)
  10. New headshots (plus hair and nail grooming). Good for my brand and for my soul.
  11. A new PowerPoint template. I’m not out on the circuit, but I’m teaching webinars these days.
  12. 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.
  13. Gel pens and notebooks (for when I write old-school)
  14. Doordash (supporting local restaurants who are struggling) and Peapod
  15. A Memorial Day weekend staycation.
  16. A couple of new bathing suits. All we seem to wear in AZ are gym clothes and next-to-nothing in 110-degree weather.
  17. A long-awaited trip (with mask and self-quarantine) to see my family
  18. Stickers and little toys for my grandcritters and StitchFix for my daughters
  19. 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!



  1. Love this list which includes many self improvement items and giving back to community through mentorship, buying local and donations.

    I got an Amazon Fire HD10 as my first ever eReader. I love the tactile experience of books but have actually been reading more on the Fire.

    Added listening to podcasts on my AM hikes (substitute for swimming and working out at the JCC and Villages until they reopen). I listen to ones from friends often when they interview other friends!

    Investing stimulus money and all that money saved from gas when working from home in sustainability related companies

    Thanks for these great ideas Nancy!

  2. I invested in my business acumen, figuring out the morass of metadata on my website and different social media options.
    I also started participating in letter writing for Swing Left and Vote Forward. Both are easy letter writing campaigns that aim to make a difference.
    I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries. After watching a 4 hour American Experience about the Suffragist movement, I am even more committed to doing my part for voting rights.
    Finally, I’ve been connecting with old friends, a sweet spot for all involved.


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