The world is a scary place right now. Spain, Italy and France are on lock down. Other countries have all but closed their borders. Most Americans are under a travel ban. Schools are closing down, businesses are shuttering for at least the next month, professional sports have all been halted, many of us are working from home, friends are under self-quarantine and the world as we know it is under siege.
But we frugal folks are better prepared than most for this and here’s why:
- We are prepared. Most of us have supplies already stocked for an emergency. Granted, I personally always thought it would be an earthquake, not a pandemic, but we already have a couple of months of papergoods and food, all bought on special and at very low prices.
- We know not to respond to price gouging. No, $50 bottles of hand sanitizer for us. I had several giant bottles I’d bought some time ago and am well stocked without giving into price gouging.
- When we see empty shelves at the grocery store, with staples like bread and milk snapped up by frantic shoppers, we don’t panic. One, we know shelf stable milk is what to buy and two, we know we can — and do — make our own bread. Plenty of flour to be found in the baking aisle and shelf stable milk in cartons still easy to find.
- We have cash in the bank should be be laid off or lose our jobs. We can wait this out financially if need be.
- We know how to hunker down. Being self quarantined or nearly so may be difficult socially for more out-going types but hunkering down financially, eating at home, using up what we have on hand, that’s a frugal person’s jam. We got this.
- We know how to take advantage of down time like this. Stuck at home, we see this down time as an opportunity to spring clean, catch up on DYI projects, clear out the garden for spring planting, etc.
- Frugal folks embrace the benefits of delayed gratification. We can wait to bring in a contractor or a landscaper. We can wait until a movie comes out on pay per view instead of bemoaning that we cannot go to the theatre.
- We don’t get, or indulge in, panic buying. I happen to stop by a neighborhood Walmart the other day and was shocked by how people were nearly rioting over toilet paper. I even raised my voice and told everyone to act humanely, we were all in this together. It worked and everyone behaved but I also didn’t fill my cart with six months’ worth of toilet paper. I already have plenty, thanks.
- Frugal friends have patience. I am baking homemade French bread today. It takes nothing more than salt, yeast, water and flour but it also takes pretty much all day. But I’m home anyway. Time to save and make my own.
- The dollar store is still frugal types go-to supplier for many items. Granted, my local dollar store has been cleaned out of most cheap cleaning supplies (I don’t usually buy mine there anyway) but rice, pasta, noodles, and other basic staples I found in the usual amounts. I stocked up a little more than usual but again, I didn’t panic buy.
- On some level, we saw this coming. Or rather, I listened to what the CDC said and I got my masks and surgical level disinfectant wipes before the prices started going through the roof. We already had a good supply of disposable gloves and basic cleaning supplies. So we were prepared as much as we could be.
Now, the wait begins.