Why I’m Thankful For Frugality in 2020
There has been a lot to be thankful for in the Spath family this year. We have bought our forever home and continued on our financial plan despite all of the challenges brought by COVID. Both Josh and I started new jobs as planned, right in the midst of the COVID disruption. Despite working on the frontline of this pandemic since March, my family and I have been lucky enough to not contract SARS CoV-2, yet (despite a couple of scares). And, thanks to you, our readers, this blog has continued to grow and flourish.
We did have our challenges, though. Early on, there was a lot of uncertainty and fear about what would happen if one of us contracted COVID. I have no idea how I would survive psychologically if I had to quarantine away from my kids for 2 weeks (this remains a constant threat, of course). There was also a lot of uncertainty with the house purchase and starting new jobs in the midst of all of this- what would happen if we bought a house and one of our jobs fell through? Then, our plans to cash out refi for the rental property to expand our rental portfolio got put on hold because for a period from March to mid-summer, no banks I spoke to were doing cash-out refinances at all. Thankfully, they got back at it mid-summer and we got it done before the new Fannie and Freddie fee kicked in.
At work, I have cried with my patients more than I ever have in my whole career. I have cried with mothers who have lost one of their children to COVID and with patients in the hospital who are facing the ominous specter of death alone. Now, my colleagues and I are exhausted from the emotional toll of all this while facing the virus every day at work and fearing bringing it home to our families. All the while, I see some people being flippant about the virus and mitigation measures, heartened by their ignorance (“It’s just a mild virus) and the positive results of our hard work on the frontlines (“I know a lot of people that have gotten it and no one has died”).
But, through all the uncertainty and the heartache, there is one thing I am especially thankful for this year- that the disruption to our lives by the pandemic has been limited by our frugal habits.
Why I'm Thankful For Frugality
Even prior to the pandemic, we weren’t eating out much because we like to cook at home for health and financial reasons. I remember back in October of 2018, I was trying to tell people about how awesome grocery pickup was- now everyone is doing it. We have always gotten our eggs and dairy from local farms, so that supply was unaffected when grocery stores ran out of these essentials back in March. Thankfully, I was already cutting the kids’ hair at home even prior to the pandemic, so the home haircut situation didn’t really change for us. So overall, our routines have stayed pretty much the same.
Having good financial systems in place has helped us get through without taking huge losses. I’m thankful we had a written financial plan prior to COVID hitting. When the market dipped in March, I reminded me and you to stick to your financial plan and not make any hasty moves. That has paid off well so far. Keeping a written budget and having monthly money dates has helped us feel secure during uncertain times.
The pandemic has also pushed us further towards making frugal and environmentally friendly substitutions in our daily lives. Because paper towels and toilet paper got wiped out early in the shut down in NY, I was finally able to convince Josh to get on board with me to switch to cloth napkins. We also got some frugal bidets for the bathrooms in case we can’t get toilet paper. Not only are these changes frugal and sustainable, but they also feel more luxurious than using paper.
As the light at the end of the tunnel approaches in the form of effective vaccines, I pray and hope we can continue to avoid getting the virus and if we do, we make a speedy recovery. I pray and hope the same for all of you, as well.
Stay frugal, ya’ll!
Standard Disclaimer: Not meant as individualized financial or medical advice. This post contains affiliate links.