This week, we started going back into the office two days a week. It does put us on the path of returning to ‘normal’ again, but I must say I like the balance right now of having a few days from home and a few days in the office.

The downside is having to commute to work again. To avoid public transport, I’ve been alternating cycling and running in (it’s about 7km). Both have been great in the mornings, but I haven’t quite figured out what to do at night. I’m a bit of a wuss and don’t like cycling in the dark. So most evenings, I end up wheeling my bike onto the train, just so I don’t have to ride home in the dark.

So it’s been three months of working from home in a COVID-19 environment. I thought I would do a reflections post on how it has / hasn’t impacted our lives so far..

Jobs and employment

We’ve been really lucky to not have lost our jobs or have our hours reduced. COVID-19 has meant working from home for me, but business as usual for my husband who is in health. For a while, it was extra hectic having a toddler at home..but we survived (thank god) and childcares are back to normal again.

Zoom meetings with a Toddler

Spending

At the end of April when I did our month end expenses I was BLOWN AWAY. We had spent way less than our budget – which rarely happens. Sure groceries were up (and no, we weren’t even hoarding toilet paper), but there were no more coffees, no eating out, zero entertainment and no public transport. It’s funny reflecting on spending habits throughout the outbreak:

Phase 1: Initial Panic – masks, hand sanitisers and disinfecting wipes

Phase 2: Hoarding: toilet paper, flour, rice, pasta and longlife milks

Phase 3: Iso: Home office, fitness equipment, webcams, home crafts (sewing machines were selling out at Big W)

Thankfully everything has returned to normal now. We’re no longer rationing toilet paper or trying multiple supermarkets for soy milk (our little one has a dairy allergy)

Finances

What a wild, rollercoaster ride it has been. The share markets bottomed out on March 23rd and at the time of writing they have rebounded almost 30%.

There was a lot of panic selling at the time, but I’m not a believer of timing the market. We tried not to check our account balances and ride it out.

Is it over yet?

Our long term goals remain the same, even during a pandemic and recession – a small allocation into ETF’s every month, paying down our mortgages and remaining frugal in our spending.

It has made me appreciate the importance of having an Emergency Fund. While we didn’t use need it, it gave us a great sense of security knowing that should one of us lose our jobs or we lose rental income, we have enough there to keep going.

It now looks like the economy is slowly opening up, even if there are still some restrictions still in place. It certainly feels like we’re past the worst of it all, barring any second wave which might send us all into lockdown again.