Can I be honest? This wasn’t the post I was expecting to publish today. In fact, I had another that I really wanted to publish. However, seeing how my little corner of the world has been deeply affected by COVID-19, it only seemed right to publish this. Life looks very different this week for many of us. We’re tired and scared and completely confused.
Wednesday, March 4th is the day that COVID-19 stopped being something “out there” for us here in Woodstock, Georgia. It was found less than a mile from my house at a homeschool co-op. Things quickly went from bad to worse. A week later, schools closed and I and my three children had to fight a mass horde of people inside Aldi just to buy groceries for the next two weeks.
Life looks very different today than it did two weeks ago. I’m now struggling to figure out all the digital learning stuff being emailed by the dozens from the children’s public school. I am also trying to figure out how much/if any money I need to pull from the emergency fund.
So now that I’ve got a personal connection with the COVID-19 happenings, let’s talk about what you need to do if you are not yet affected by COVID-19.
STOP PAYING OFF DEBT
Wait. Did the Queen of Debt-Free just say for you stop paying off debt??? Yes, yes I did. Here’s the thing. There are real people in my community that are truly suffering. They cannot afford to pay their bills because they are now going to miss paychecks. They are scared. They have little or no savings. Paying off debt isn’t going to help them right now. But if they had a fully-funded Emergency Fund, then they’d be okay.
And guess what? The CDC is now saying that we need to keep schools closed and stay home for 8 weeks. Could you survive with the money you have in your savings account for 8 weeks with no pay? That’s not a judgment question – that’s a legitimate reality. COVID-19 is not going away tomorrow. It’s not. So if you don’t yet have an Emergency Fund in place, then right now is the time to build one.
Stop paying off debt and start saving every.single.penny! I mean it. You need to have money to purchase groceries and to pay for expenses. The debt can wait. Save right now.
****If you’ve never created a budget and have no idea where to start (or you have no idea how much you can save from your paycheck) head to this video here:
Ask Questions Now
If you have children that attend school – whether public or private – ask your teachers/school board/principals what is expected from you if the school closes. Here’s the thing. I work online – I kinda live here so technology doesn’t scare me, but oh my word. The program that my kids’ school has for the DLD program is from the 90s and is hard to use. It’s overwhelming the amount of stuff coming in that now I’m expected to help make sure my kids do.
Sure some teachers are way more organized than others but neither one of my boys has a very organized teacher. I have felt very much that I’m teaching them and with a child that has ADHD that’s difficult. As one of my homeschool mom friends said, “everyone keeps saying that y’all are now homeschooling your public school kids, but really you’re not homeschooling because in homeschool the mom gets to pick the curriculum and teach at her own pace. You are all expected to fill in the teacher’s role like a substitute does and you only have a few hours to complete it in.”
I share that with you because if you have visions of this being easy trust me, it’s not that easy. So ask your questions now and get familiar with the system/procedures your school has in place should a closure happen in your area.
If you’re already being affected by COVID-19 here’s what you need to be doing:
For real. I know it sucks. I hate it. I have issues with authority (hello Enneagram 8 problems…) and I don’t like being told what I can and cannot do. But seriously, if we all just suck it up for the two weeks this whole thing will be over with faster. Again, I know it sucks. I literally screamed at my children on Monday. This is hard and no, I do not like it. It’s raining all week here in Georgia and we are so over being stuck inside. I want nothing more than to go to a play place so my kids can unleash their energy, but friend that is not going to help us in this situation. We have to stay at home.
Call all the people
If your job has been affected by the closures and you will not be receiving a paycheck and you do not have a fully-funded Emergency Fund, you need to start calling. Call your utility providers, mortgage holder, and creditors (credit card companies, student loan companies, car loan companies, etc.) and explain to them that you are being affected by COVID-19 closures. Many of these companies already have in place solutions to offer you during this time. In fact, many utility providers are suspending shutting off power/water/natural gas during this time when you don’t pay the bill.
Go Into Survival Mode
If you don’t have a fully-funded Emergency Fund, you need to be in full-on survival mode. Even if your employer is still paying you during this time, you need to pause paying off debt, going out to eat, etc. You need to work on building up that Emergency Fund. If there is one thing that we can all take away from this madness is that we NEED TO BE PREPARED for the unexpected. Period.
If you’re not getting paid during this time, you still need to be in survival mode. You need to hold onto as much of your money as you possibly can by calling your providers (above) and making sure you are stocked up on the essentials. No eating out and no extra crazy expenses. This is not the time to go bored shopping on Amazon – take up a different hobby during this time. Check out my reading list here and borrow what you can from your library (many have the ability to borrow books virtually so you don’t even have to go to the library).
Grace upon Grace
If you’re like me and have found yourself going from getting kids on the bus in the morning to homeschooling them, hugs. For real. This is hard. But we need to give ourselves, our kids, and our spouses grace during this time. It’s scary out there. Someone was stabbed at a local Walmart here in Georgia over a case of water. We need to give everyone more grace and love. That’s the only way any of us will survive this.
Love Thy Neighbor
If you are in a position where you have a fully-funded Emergency Fund and still have an income coming in, I encourage you to think of what you could do for your neighbor or small business. Maybe buy a gift card to a local restaurant to use at a later time. That way the restaurant (or other business) gets the cash now to use. Call up your elderly neighbor and see if they need you to pick up any groceries for them. If you have a loved one or co-worker that lives alone, offer to FaceTime with them once a day.
Anything that we can do in service to others is always the right answer to any craziness happening in the world. I am praying for everyone being impacted by COVID-19 as we band together as a world over these scary times.
What advice can you offer someone during this time?
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