Coronavirus has most of the US locked down for this month of April. Even if some states aren’t requiring their citizens to stay at home, the recommendation from the CDC is that people stay home to help stop the spread of this virus.
Many people aren’t used to staying home. They are bored and don’t know what to do. Here are some things that you can work on during this time at home.
Even if you lost your job during this time, you still need to budget each month. Budget whatever money you have coming in and work on reducing your expenses.
Hopefully, you have already eliminated your debt and saved your emergency fund. This makes the month an inconvenience and not something to stress over. Keep working your budget. Your income source just changed from income from a job to your emergency fund. Once this passes, work on replenishing your emergency fund.
If you weren’t prepared for this disaster, there is no better time to start handling your finances correctly! Start budgeting. Quit adding to your debt and pay it off when things are back to normal. Get on a plan for your financial life.
If you don’t have a will create one. If you have a will, you should review it. Make sure your kids are going to be taken care of by someone you trust.
Review your insurances. Review your life, homeowners, renters, auto, and umbrella liability policies to make sure the coverage is adequate. If you lost your job and had your life insurance benefits through your employer, you need to get another policy in place to protect your family. Don’t wait to do this!
Do you have financial goals? If not, discuss with your spouse what you want your future to be. What do you want your retirement to look like? Know how much you need to save each month to reach those goals. This will help you determine how much you want to spend each month on other expenses.
Learn New Skills
Instead of using this time to spend hours and hours watching Netflix, increase your skills. Learn something! Make yourself more valuable to your employer when you start working again or make yourself more valuable in the marketplace when businesses start hiring again.
I found that Pluralsight is offering a free account for the month of April. Most of the courses are for learning IT subjects, so if that interests you, get your free account and start learning.
You can still order food from restaurants and have it delivered or go pick it up, but why spend that extra money when you could use your time at home to learn to cook. If you are on baby steps 1, 2, or 3, you shouldn’t be eating out. You should be paying off your debt and saving an emergency fund so that you can weather the next storm that comes. Learn to cook and eat more meals at home.
Fun with the Kids
Have fun with your kids while you are spending extra time at home this month. Play games, spend time outside, and help them learn.
My wife and I have young kids—all under five years old. We have been putting puzzles together and playing Uno, Dominoes, and card games. We did all these things before everyone was told to stay home, but our kids haven’t gotten bored of playing the same games over and over. Our family rotates the games and puzzles. Our two boys help us with our 3000 piece puzzle now.
We spend a lot of time outside with our kids. After breakfast, I get my 2-4 mile walk in. I push my daughter in the stroller while my two boys ride their bikes. We used to stop for breaks so that the boys could have a rest, but now I have to run to catch up to them!
After our walk and bike ride, my wife plays with the kids outside for another hour. When they aren’t swinging, building with some scrap wood, or digging in the dirt, they get to learn how to take care of a garden and pick up tree branches to put into the compost area I built a few weeks ago. It’s all fun for them, and my yard is clean!
My wife has always thought about homeschooling our kids even before this coronavirus shut down all the schools. After our preschool closed for the month, she started homeschooling. After they come in from outside, she continues with inside learning and fun.
No matter if you homeschool your kids or help them with their remote learning, if you play games or go for a walk with them, you can always teach your children something. Don’t waste this time that you have with them. Once the economy opens back up, most of us will have less time with our kids. Take advantage of this time.
Did you notice all these things are free? Maybe a few of them had some initial costs like the games and bikes, but we are not spending any extra money having fun with our kids.
What things are you doing at home during this time? I hope you are taking care of all areas of your life. Do some of the things mentioned above and add some more to your list. Don’t waste this time and be bored sitting on the couch.