Life as I know it in Australia changed so dramatically in the past 2 weeks.
We have gone from normal, everyday life going to and from work, going out for drinks at a bar with friends and dinner for dates, to being in lockdown in our homes, businesses forcibly shut down, hundreds of thousands of people out of a job and neighbours who were once friendly to each other now approaching the other with suspicion.
Supermarket shelves have been stripped bare, police are issuing fines to those who don’t socially distance and beaches have been closed down. This is a first in my lifetime and big reality check on my spending and lifestyle. It’s just a matter of time until I lose my office job as the business may be shut down by the government at any minute, or cease to operate because there is no one going out and spending money.
I had a breakdown the other day as the reality finally sunk in that the company I work for may cease to operate, like thousands of others already have, and my job and financial stability will go with it. I feel like my colleagues and I are hanging on by a thread and fighting for our dear lives to keep the business afloat. I’m much more fearful of the economic recession that is coming after the pandemic is long gone.
However, after a big cry to friends and family, I started to realise that I am incredibly lucky in these circumstances because this personal finance community put financial security and stability at the centre of conversation and prepared its readers for a (personal or global) crisis like this. There are so many things we can be grateful for, especially in the time of crisis, so I’ve decided to share a few personal ones with you.
I am grateful for:
- This personal finance community.
This community has put personal finance, saving for an emergency, reducing debt and practicing frugality at the centre of conversation and I’m so grateful to everyone who has put their voice out there and helped pass on advice. Without this community, I’d be much less prepared for this economic disaster that I didn’t see coming.
- I’m grateful for having my job, SO grateful for this.
I’m not a religious person but I am praying that the business keeps going so we can all survive financially.
- Having a roof over my head, food on the table and clothes on my back.
Some of my friends have lost their jobs, their businesses, their livelihood to the point of having no backup and going on government welfare. I’m so grateful for having a safe place to live, the ability to afford food and have more than enough clothes to put on my back.
- Having a $10k emergency fund which has enough cash in it to cover 3 months of expenses if I lose my job.
This emergency fund was originally $20k but I was feeling spendy when the economy first dipped and I took some out to buy international index funds with Vanguard. In retrospect, I wish I had not taken $10k out to put into the EFTs but there’s not much I can do now except to grow it as fast as I can until I get back there. Lesson learned – don’t touch the emergency fund.
- My physical and mental health.
I was speaking to my parents who both grew up in war times and natural disasters and it put into perspective that despite an economic disaster we are in, we are all physically safe and healthy. I’ve been practicing gratitude, meditation and yoga at home to remind myself to keep a cool head under pressure and that everything will be okay. It could be much worse.
- The perspective on life that this pandemic and economic crisis has given me.
This was a rude and sudden wake-up call for me. For years I have been trying to be intentional with my spending but in reality the lifestyle creep has definitely crept in without me realising. In preparation for self-quarantining, I removed my nails at the nail salon, stopped going out to bars and restaurants, stopped buying take-away coffee, cooked at home more, and took a long-hard critical look at my lifestyle. The only things that matter are health, family, friends, relationships and financial stability. All else – consumerism, status, image, shiny new objects – is just noise.
How are you going? What are you grateful for in these times of crisis? I’d love to hear your perspective so comment below!
xx Miss Piggy