We may not know what the future holds for any of us but after listening to the news outlets yesterday, sitting still and doing nothing doesn’t make me feel any more secure. Despite being told to look at the corona virus prospectively, truth is that more and more people are contracting the virus and dying. Comparing the few deaths we have now to the massive deaths from the simple flu doesn’t make me feel any bit better. Just knowing that there is a new virus running rampant globally certainly gives a person pause.
What to do?
Well the first thing I am doing is NOT playing the blame game. This is NO time to start pointing fingers (and that means YOU China!) and complaining about our government, the people in charge and how much or how little the authorities are doing. This is NO time for criticism. There’s a problem and we need to find solutions. We also must all stick together. Unfortunately, I don’t think we are doing that. I think we, collectively, might be guilty of “every man, woman and child are out for themselves”.
Our local hospitals here are stating that they have been broken into and most of their masks have been stolen. People are posting on our local Facebook page that they have food, water and guns and will shoot anyone who tries to steal their supplies.
Really, guys? The pandemic hasn’t even started. What are you going to do when we really are in a health crisis? Why don’t we all just calm down, take a deep breath, prepare for an upcoming crisis as best as we can and also take into account that we are all in this together and we need to stick together. We need each other. We don’t have to breathe each others breath but we need to concentrate on what’s important, what really matters and gosh darn it, we need to be kind to each other. KINDNESS is needed.
We all know the media is overreacting and making a mountain out of a molehill. We also know that this is a political season right now and pundits are going to say and do whatever they can to manipulate us. Don’t fall for it. Don’t let them do it to us. Let’s be better. Let’s do better.
I think we can believe the CDC and World Health Organization. They have set up some guidelines we need to follow. We can find the CDC guidelines by clicking here. And we can find the latest updates from WHO by clicking here.
Personally, I have done two things: got my house and supplies in order (within reason, I did NOT hoard……we need to think of the next person in line!) The next thing I did was get my finances in order. This is a good time to get your cash together. There’s nothing I can do about my holdings invested with Wall Street. Thankfully, those funds only sum up to less than 10% of my total holdings. I did, however, have a substantial amount of money invested in a Money Market being held in a Wall Street brokerage house. That money is NOT insured and can go down in value. I immediately pulled all those funds out and transferred them to an FDIC Money Market account earning 1.7%. BUT with the Feds now lowering the interest rates down by .50%, who knows how long my money will earn even that?
The next thing I did was look over my expenses. I was going to pay cash for two recent expensive purchases I made but changed my mind. I think this is a good time to hold onto cash for as long as possible. So, I put those two charged items under my zero interest loans and will have 14 months interest free to pay them off. In the interim, I already was paying off two other no interest loans (for a mattress and new tires for the tow vehicle). Those remaining balances were super low so I paid them off, thus making room in my budget for the new recent zero interest loan I just opened.
Again, these steps I am taking are what’s good for ME and MY bottom line. I have no idea what is good or right for you. Look over your own finances and see if there is anything you can do to get your budget in line. As for MY budget, the only thing left to cut was our cable/satellite bill. Since most of what we currently watch on TV is streamed, there was no more reason to pay our sorta-expensive cable/satellite bill. I cancelled it yesterday and then all hell broke loose in my house. My husband was furious he could no longer get his car shows. I told him to suck it up, find an alternative and move on. I redirected our satellite bill money towards our new, zero interest card with a little bit of cash left over as a buffer.
Right now, where we live, New York State is facing a severe budget crisis (click here). How, why and who is responsible for this is immaterial. The problem for us is that our governor, in order to get the state’s budget to balance, is cutting services. That’s going to affect us! Governor Cuomo has eliminated many parts of the current property tax relief programs which means hubs and I are going to get hit with a double whammy. The state has taken away some of our annual rebate check policy which then opened up a Pandora’s box for our local government to raise property taxes since Cuomo’s policies are now moot. Our local town government just had all our property values reassessed and now without Cuomo’s 2% cap on annual property tax increases, it’s anybody’s fair game now. Cuomo is also going to cut the state health insurance policy guidelines. So, in essence, we’re going to get hit with a triple whammy as hubs health insurance is sponsored by New York State. UGH!
One of the main reasons why hubs and I have been so steadfast in continuing to live in upstate New York was because our property taxes were super low AND we got good, low cost health insurance for hubby. When I added up all the expenses it takes to maintain this home (property taxes, insurance, electricity, maintenance, heating) the total monthly bill only came to $575 a month. Where can you go and live for only $575 a month? Exactly. That’s why we stay here. BUT that may change and it may change rapidly.
Lastly, hubby and I have to seriously, seriously reduce our monthly grocery bill. Period. We spend too much money on food. Period. I think (and have proven) that if we switch to food shopping at Wal Mart our food budget would come down. Hubby loves Aldi and so many of their products that he just won’t budge. We got home from Florida on Sunday. Early Monday morning we made our way to our local Aldi (to food shop AND restock since we were gone for over two months) only to find some empty shelves. We spoke to the Aldi manager and he said people were coming in droves and buying cases of water, canned goods (especially beans), rice, tuna, bleach, hand sanitizer, baby wipes and some other essential staples. The thing that ticked me off was that ALL my favorite Jasmine rice was gone, gone, gone. All that was left was just some par-boiled, instant cheap rice. Ugh!
Again, I’m not going to partake in the blame game. We can’t point fingers all day long. That won’t solve anything. I have to believe our government has our best interests at heart. No one wants to see anyone suffer. Those who try to politicize our current dilemma or embrace fear mongering just to increase media bottom lines will pay a price for their unsavory ways. Hopefully, We The People will keep a cool head, follow the guidelines, prepare as recommended and hopefully, just hopefully we won’t hoard.
Lastly, I just want to say….no, I implore….please be kind to one another. We all need a bit of personal kindness and we all need to be kind to one another. Life is tough enough. Let’s not panic. I know the temptation to freak out is strong but let’s not go there. If you see someone struggling, maybe they need a hug or a smile. Let’s share. It’s OK to think of ourselves first but please let’s think about the next guy too. There’s enough to go around. Let’s not think ahead too much and let our imaginations go rampant. Despite what we may think, they got this! America’s top medical teams are working on a solution. Please don’t rob and steal from our hospitals. The medical teams need their supplies so they can help us, take care of us should we get sick and they need to find a way out of our current situation.
Stay safe, my friends. My email is always open if you need to talk (PhotosByCindi (at) yahoo (dot) com