Money Diaries in a Lockdown
I decided not to post monthly money diaries early this year because I wanted The Purple Cotton to be a place for real solutions. But writing money diaries post is close to my heart. So, here’s an episode of the return of Money Diaries: Lockdown Edition.
Lockdown was not easy at the start. I was affected by anxiety at the beginning, I follow the news too closely, reading about people falling sick at 3 pm and 3 am. My life timing was a mess, and working from home doesn’t feel real. I have to deal with my flickering mind and food binge eating. Add onto the equation is a new manager who is perhaps trying to prove himself and thereby putting me in a furnace.
There is no right solution; I set boundaries for my time. I drink only plain water or coke zero when I feel like munching something. It helps thus far. In work, I will report what I do but not explain what I do. I leave it to the manager to find out himself if I made the right decision.
On my flickering mind, I push all my thoughts to a digital journal. I take time to work on things that I procrastinate in the past. I organize online meet so that life is not isolated.
How does my spending look like during an MCO?
Zero spends on transportation. I drive two kilometers to a Grocer, once a week and the petrol tank is still full.
Clothes – RM0
Zero spends on clothes. I proudly wear comfy pajamas all day long and did not check out any of the online clothing deals. Would this backfire when I need to go back to work? Like, do I need a Baju Raya?
Products – RM35
Zero spend on beauty products. I did buy some medication and pads. I have always known that the bottles of cream and mask I have can last me for another year. It was just hard to stop experimenting when you see something new on sales.
I am happy to see the products I bought in the past get used up or toss if it does not fit my skin. My routine is also simplified now, with only face wash, face cream, and sunscreen.
While I stop buying physical goods, I am paying more for digital things: Apple New+, Web Hosting, Masterclass. I spend my time watching season 4 & 5 of Madam Secretary in Netflix and Cooking Techniques. I am aiming to spend zero on digital for the next quarter.
My breakfasts are plain oats or omelet with toast. For lunch or dinner, I’ll try to cook something fancy like a hotpot feast, tandoori, or cured salmon. I learned three types of scramble eggs and making curry at home. On the days where I am busy, I’ll pour hot water over instant noodle.
I buy the cheaper cuts whenever possible, which is why my groceries cost are high but still not outrages for 1.5 people. I have a housemate, and I will make sure that she gets to eat what I eat.
Initially, I feel really guilty of eating well for a lockdown. Lately, my brother shares the pictures of the NGO he volunteers with; they included fresh crabs, salmon, and steak in their food package. It gave me great comfort that, at least in parts of Malaysia, the virus is a great equalizer.
When this is over, I want to start indoor gardening for kitchen staples. Buying fresh produce is not sustainable and I suck at keeping the food in good condition.
More giving as everyone is fundraising and the ground sentiment is generally “the cost is death in starvation.” I don’t do guilty giving, if anyone sends a demanding message, I’ll ignore it. All my giving is to friends that run food banks or deliver groceries themselves to those who lost their job, refugees, etc. I don’t trust that our official donation will reach the people in need. None of my giving is tax-deductible.
Utilities & Rent -RM1569
While I did not save up in April, konon-nya the best time to save, I am happier with the impact of the money spent, as opposed to the usual unavoidable transportation and clothing cost. Cost-wise, I want to work from home forever.