(In case you were wondering, I stopped blogging for a while so the robo boomer haters would stop commenting. Life is stressful enough without reading such garbage. BUT, this is my happy place, where I can talk about all things money and I wanted to continue to document my journey to retirement, financially speaking. Besides. There are way more nice commenters than mean, so I’m back. 😉 )
There are many ways the present pandemic has changed my life, but none so significant as the way I look at money. After all these years, I thought I had it down. I didn’t. I’m still learning.
After my husband’s salary took a 10% pay cut, and many employees were furloughed, I started to realize that we may have to retire earlier than we’d like. It changed how we looked at our preparation for retirement, and how we would change the way we handled our money going forward.
We wanted to save money….FAST. And we did. $45,000 in six months.
How did we save $45,000 in six months?
Here is my breakdown by categories:
The pandemic cancelled our Anniversary trip. We had prepaid all of the trip, so all of the money that has been returned to us went straight into savings. Unfortunately, the airlines decided they needed our money more than we did, so they kept $3000 for future flights (to be used by December, 2021). The cruise lines had no choice but to refund the money on trips they cancelled.
Our anniversary trip was expensive. We had hotels, airfare, cruise, etc. Our total refunds for that trip totalled $9,000.
Because cruising has taken a huge hit during this pandemic, and the unlikely chance our Disney cruise would be “normal” by May, 2021, I decided to cancel our family cruise. I received our deposit back in the amount of $2,942.00. It, too, went straight into savings.
CAR REPAYMENT ($12,000.00)
We purchased a car for my son while he was in college with the assumption that he would pay us back as soon as he started working. I’m proud to say he is now gainfully employed as an Ensign in the Navy. And I am equally proud to say he paid us back every penny (in record time, I might add). We deposited that $12,000 directly to savings.
MONTHLY SAVINGS. ($15,000.00)
I’ve been able to save $2,500 monthly based on salary and expenses. (the 10% pay cut didn’t occur until May.)
OTHER SAVINGS ($6,000.00)
The rest of the money came from saving on our usual spending categories:
- gas (my husband has been working from home)
- ez pass (no commuter fees)
- parking (no parking fees)
- utility bills (our efforts on this part were HUGE)
- personal spending
- personal care (nails, haircuts, etc.)
- restaurants, dining out
There have been monthly expenses that have increased. Food for instance. The cost has been ridiculous. But by saving in other areas, it has not busted my budget, thankfully.
We also did a few home projects totaling $1,500.00. In fact, I’m typing this blog in my new ‘yoga/office room’. 🙂 I’ll write about these projects in another post.
$45,000 added to our other savings gives us almost a years’ worth of expenses. We are comfortable with this. However, we will be very selective of how we will spend future money. Our plan is to send most of the extra money to pay down our mortgage, leaving us some for fun.
Although we still have the travel bug, we will start up again with small, weekend trips. Cruising is no longer appealing as long as they have ‘pandemic’ procedures in place. I mean really, who wants to have their temperature taken every day and wear masks on a cruise ship? Really?
Anyway, that’s how we did it. How did the way you handle money change during the pandemic? Please share!