Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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unclescrooge
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Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by unclescrooge » Sat May 23, 2020 10:27 am

Since the pandemic erupted, and the kids have been home alone with me while my wife goes off to work, I find I'm drinking more and spending more time shopping online.

In the past month, I've spent a ridiculous amount of money replacing a tree that had been bothering me since we moved into the house. It was a Chinese camphor that was planted 10 ft from the house. Provided great shade in the patio but super messy and needs to be trimmed every other year to keep it under 30 ft tall. We mulched it and replaced it with a 12ft Crepe Myrtle. The expense to do this was shocking.

We also spent $3k on a painting that I saw 2 years ago on vacation, and a similar amount on a new leather sectional from Costco.

Plus I find myself eating chips and ice cream on a regular basis, something I haven't done in 35 years.

This lack of self control is bothersome.

Has anyone else seen their personal expenses go up and their health habits slip?

jebmke
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by jebmke » Sat May 23, 2020 10:33 am

We don't allow junk food in the house. But that might be tricky for you with kids in the house.
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livesoft
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by livesoft » Sat May 23, 2020 10:35 am

Going to a Crepe Myrtle is an interesting choice as that tree is super super super messy.

I have found that I am spending less. I no longer buy ice cream, nor chips, nor other salty snacks.
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terran
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by terran » Sat May 23, 2020 10:40 am

jebmke wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:33 am
We don't allow junk food in the house. But that might be tricky for you with kids in the house.
Agreed. The best way to avoid eating chips and ice cream is to not buy chips and ice cream.

OP, I wonder if there are any positive stress relief habits you could try to replace these negative stress relief habits with? Exercise? Meditation?

sailaway
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by sailaway » Sat May 23, 2020 10:41 am

You sound depressed, frankly. Have you sought professional support for that?

Other than that, all you can do is make a concerted effort to have a healthy routine. Good, yummy foods at the table, regular movement. Those feel good routines can even help with impulse control.

You don't say what age the kids are, but if y'all spend the time in the kitchen making new recipes, everyone will gain new skills and you will have less time to spend e shopping. I wouldn't suggest taking up baking just now, as the basics can be hard to find...

jebmke
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by jebmke » Sat May 23, 2020 10:41 am

Spending is way down, even with higher charitable spend. July is going to be a blockbuster though. 2019 tax payment, Q1-2 2020 tax payments and property tax bill all in one month.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

InMyDreams
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by InMyDreams » Sat May 23, 2020 10:48 am

I'm buying a few things for myself, and my diet is straying a bit (but not yet going to the "Covid-15").

But I've been giving money. I've given away all the stimulus money (my income level hasn't changed). Some more to other charities. Bought sandwiches in the grocery store for the man and child at the edge of the parking lot. And last night I gave cash to a family on the edge of another parking lot. I never give cash. I'm contemplating setting up grocery bags of non-perishables in my trunk so that I have a non-cash choice in these situations. Crazy times - and crazy-making times.

quadog
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by quadog » Sat May 23, 2020 10:50 am

Just start setting limits. I’ve been drinking every day too … but I keep it to one craft cocktail. I’ve been spending more money on home improvement too … but I stick to a budget. I’ve been eating more junk food too … but I’ve also been exercising like mad so it hasn’t had any effect. Just moderate this stuff and you’ll be ok.

runner3081
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by runner3081 » Sat May 23, 2020 10:56 am

Spending is down, health is better.

Chuck107
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by Chuck107 » Sat May 23, 2020 10:58 am

livesoft wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:35 am
Going to a Crepe Myrtle is an interesting choice as that tree is super super super messy.

Agreed, I have a few, seed pods everywhere, flower blooms look like summer snow falling in a breeze. And if it gets infested with aphids... talk about a sticky mess underneath. A systemic poison will take care of that however.

I have found that I am spending less. I no longer buy ice cream, nor chips, nor other salty snacks.

I have yet to figure out exactly why we are spending less, although I haven't spent too much time researching a gift horse :wink:

Da5id
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by Da5id » Sat May 23, 2020 11:01 am

Overall expenditures are less. Both my kids are living at home (instead of at college) so utilities and food are way up. But without travel or entertainment costs, and with no dining out (occasional takeout), my monthly spending is way down.

sandan
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by sandan » Sat May 23, 2020 11:13 am

I'm spending more on hobby/fitness related goods, but that pretty much has replaced the money I spend when I get lunch with co-workers and my gym membership not being charged.

Initially I quit going to the store and I bought a lot of frozen stuff including ice cream / candy. I eventually had a stomach attack from this change in diet. I shifted back to regular fresh grocery shopping immediately. I normally buy a lot fruit instead of candy/ice cream.

My alcohol consumption has also gone to zero. Covid-19 has allowed me to be extremely regimented with my fitness. Consequently I'm up early and am doing a lot of endurance work. Everyone's body is different, but I know if I have alcohol the night before any intense fitness day, I might pull a muscle and be in rehab for months.
Last edited by sandan on Sat May 23, 2020 11:18 am, edited 4 times in total.

desiderium
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by desiderium » Sat May 23, 2020 11:15 am

Ennui--a feeling of being bored and mentally tired caused by having nothing interesting or exciting to do. (Cambridge English Dictionary)

This is a pervasive consequence of the current situation. Eating badly and spending are stimulating, and drinking more is also common. Melancholia is another description of the state many feel, and that can get in the way of more productive occupations, like exercise. I have pushed myself to do home chores and run. It is working out ok. I am spending significantly less, because travel and eating out frequently are things we used to do.

kjvmartin
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by kjvmartin » Sat May 23, 2020 11:18 am

I was on my way to the "Quarantine 15". I'm not a runner (knees) and don't have room for an indoor bike/elliptical. Gym remains closed and probably won't go back after they open. I decided to re-calibrate my Apple Watch fitness goals and I'm somewhere between sedentary and active by taking a 30 minute walk each day to close my rings.

I can't stress how much of a difference the goal of closing your rings can have. It forces you to get up and move at least once an hour, exercise at least 30 minutes, and burn a certain number of calories each day. I find that once I've completed those goals, I'm less likely to "throw all the work away" by snacking heavily/bad choices in the evening. I've been making coconut oil popcorn on the stove and snacking on that lately along with some Kirkland frozen blueberries.

anakinskywalker
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by anakinskywalker » Sat May 23, 2020 11:21 am

unclescrooge wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:27 am
Since the pandemic erupted, and the kids have been home alone with me while my wife goes off to work, I find I'm drinking more and spending more time shopping online.

In the past month, I've spent a ridiculous amount of money replacing a tree that had been bothering me since we moved into the house. It was a Chinese camphor that was planted 10 ft from the house. Provided great shade in the patio but super messy and needs to be trimmed every other year to keep it under 30 ft tall. We mulched it and replaced it with a 12ft Crepe Myrtle. The expense to do this was shocking.

We also spent $3k on a painting that I saw 2 years ago on vacation, and a similar amount on a new leather sectional from Costco.

Plus I find myself eating chips and ice cream on a regular basis, something I haven't done in 35 years.

This lack of self control is bothersome.

Has anyone else seen their personal expenses go up and their health habits slip?
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H-Town
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by H-Town » Sat May 23, 2020 11:24 am

unclescrooge wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:27 am
Since the pandemic erupted, and the kids have been home alone with me while my wife goes off to work, I find I'm drinking more and spending more time shopping online.

In the past month, I've spent a ridiculous amount of money replacing a tree that had been bothering me since we moved into the house. It was a Chinese camphor that was planted 10 ft from the house. Provided great shade in the patio but super messy and needs to be trimmed every other year to keep it under 30 ft tall. We mulched it and replaced it with a 12ft Crepe Myrtle. The expense to do this was shocking.

We also spent $3k on a painting that I saw 2 years ago on vacation, and a similar amount on a new leather sectional from Costco.

Plus I find myself eating chips and ice cream on a regular basis, something I haven't done in 35 years.

This lack of self control is bothersome.

Has anyone else seen their personal expenses go up and their health habits slip?
First step solving the issue is to recognize that there is an issue. Good job there.

Let your action define who you are. Try to find out if you can be discipline or find a way to be discipline. It's the genesis of everything else: moderation in diet and healthy eating, moderation in exercise and physical activities, moderation in saving and spending. You should be able to set goals, make plans to achieve your goal, and stick to your plans.

Most of the times, when you develop a good habit, it will stick. Same for bad habits if you continue letting bad habits occur.

jjface
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by jjface » Sat May 23, 2020 11:31 am

Well it is good of you to admit what is going on that is the first step. I don't quite believe all the perfectly healthy, happy bogleheads on here. Apparently everyone is a pro athlete, have $4 million, expert market timers and perfect buy and hold investors at the same time, have perfect lawns that they didn't use any chemicals on, eat the most healthy foods, are super great parents with plenty of time to spare for themselves, work 80 hours a week but have 80 hours of leisure time too and still somehow get 8 hours of sleep a day etc etc.

Me, I'm drooling for a pack of chips as I type this. Expenses have gone up primarily because I am ordering online and everyone seems to be marking up everything from groceries to toilet paper. I am probably exercising more. Though I need to get my soda habit in check.

You just have to work on self control. Get off the computer if you find yourself buying stuff. Find something better to do with your time if you are buying online a lot. INstead of grabbing a snack do some exercise. Do 20 push ups before you are allowed a snack etc. Pass all buying decisions by your wife before you are allowed to spend etc. Just have a 2 week break from spending and it will probably free you from the urges. No spending on anything for 2 weeks other than essential groceries and toiletries. Try selling some stuff on ebay instead of buying.

stoptothink
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by stoptothink » Sat May 23, 2020 11:40 am

unclescrooge wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:27 am
I find I'm drinking more...
A recent newspaper article stated that sales of alcohol in my area are up about 60% since the beginning of March. Living about a mile from a state liquor store, based upon the parking lot and lines to get inside the store, I would not be surprised if it is even more than that.

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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by DesertDiva » Sat May 23, 2020 11:45 am

jjface wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 11:31 am
.:.expert market timers and perfect buy and hold investors at the same time...
:oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:

BerkeleyChris
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by BerkeleyChris » Sat May 23, 2020 11:48 am

I would talk with your wife about how you feel and see if you can make a pact on zero purchases of processed foods, sugary foods, and especially alcohol for a while. It's going to take both of you staying strong at the grocery store. If you have any left at home, get it all out of there today. Don't worry about the waste.

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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sat May 23, 2020 11:59 am

Complete opposite.

I'm still working, but from home. This allows me to take my phone with me and take a walk to get some exercise anytime a webex isn't scheduled.

We can't go eat out. Cut takeout/eat out from probably 8 meals a week each to twice a week total.

Wife just started a full time job so can't shop or eat out anywhere near as much. She's helping both of us to eat better.

Instead of buying a part for our cars, I've made my own. Made a "flipped" steering stabilizer for the Jeep. Saved $45 plus shipping.

Lots of yard work and firewood work getting done along with clearing storm damaged trees and insect damaged ones that need to come down (I forest manage some of my property)

The only big spending has been annual insurance payments and college graduation presents for DS#1. One of these was a fitbit and he's doing steps and I'm joining him in challenging ourselves.

In short, the Covid shut in has been a big change for the better for us. None of us drink alcohol, so that becoming a problem isn't in the picture.
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by manatee2005 » Sat May 23, 2020 12:44 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:27 am
Since the pandemic erupted, and the kids have been home alone with me while my wife goes off to work, I find I'm drinking more and spending more time shopping online.

In the past month, I've spent a ridiculous amount of money replacing a tree that had been bothering me since we moved into the house. It was a Chinese camphor that was planted 10 ft from the house. Provided great shade in the patio but super messy and needs to be trimmed every other year to keep it under 30 ft tall. We mulched it and replaced it with a 12ft Crepe Myrtle. The expense to do this was shocking.

We also spent $3k on a painting that I saw 2 years ago on vacation, and a similar amount on a new leather sectional from Costco.

Plus I find myself eating chips and ice cream on a regular basis, something I haven't done in 35 years.

This lack of self control is bothersome.

Has anyone else seen their personal expenses go up and their health habits slip?
They call it covid 19 because everyone will gain 19 pounds during the quarantine.

I found I was eating a lot of junk too, so I threw it all out in the garbage and told my wife not to buy anymore. I am now limited to pumpkin seeds only for a snack. I’m also thinking of putting a lock on the fridge because when I work from home I’m 6 feet from the fridge and very tempted to open it every 10 minutes.

Also I found the best way to cut down on shopping and eating is to not be in the house. I’ve been driving around and going for walks a lot. Hoping that fixes the weight issue too.

stan1
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by stan1 » Sat May 23, 2020 12:59 pm

How old are the kids? I have co-workers who are trying to juggle professional work duties with caring for multiple children under the age of 6. They are frazzled and burning the candle at both ends. I empathize as best I can but to be honest I don't have much to offer them in the way of suggestions other than trying to be flexible. Unfortunately I've seen some managers who are doing a deep dive into Covey's Quadrant 3 (making unimportant things urgent) during their work from home.

I'd add make sure you are taking at least 5-10 minutes each day to chat with your wife when you aren't busy doing other things. Maybe there are some household administrative things you need to take care of (like what to buy at the grocery store) but more importantly you are each other's first line of support.

protagonist
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by protagonist » Sat May 23, 2020 1:02 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:27 am
Since the pandemic erupted, and the kids have been home alone with me while my wife goes off to work, I find I'm drinking more and spending more time shopping online.

In the past month, I've spent a ridiculous amount of money replacing a tree that had been bothering me since we moved into the house. It was a Chinese camphor that was planted 10 ft from the house. Provided great shade in the patio but super messy and needs to be trimmed every other year to keep it under 30 ft tall. We mulched it and replaced it with a 12ft Crepe Myrtle. The expense to do this was shocking.

We also spent $3k on a painting that I saw 2 years ago on vacation, and a similar amount on a new leather sectional from Costco.

Plus I find myself eating chips and ice cream on a regular basis, something I haven't done in 35 years.

This lack of self control is bothersome.

Has anyone else seen their personal expenses go up and their health habits slip?
Health habits have def. not slipped. Biking, hiking, etc. more than ever.
It sounds like you have been buying things you have put off for a long time, perhaps because you were much busier, like replacing the tree that bothers you. If you can afford to do so, and it makes you happy, that's hardly a bad thing. I have done much the same...spent more money on things that would brighten my life- home projects for example, since I am home so much more. That said, I have also saved money on eating out, gas, etc.
The drinking and binge eating that you describe is another thing entirely. That does seem very unhealthy.

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Kenkat
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by Kenkat » Sat May 23, 2020 1:05 pm

You Need A Budget. Not the software, you need an actual budget. Set spending limits and when the money is spent for the month, that’s it. Eat noodle bowls, drink water, whatever.

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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by 2Goldens1Cat » Sat May 23, 2020 1:12 pm

For me, spending shifted to a lot of house projects. Discretionary things like eating out and movies obviously got chopped, but helped fuel said projects. A lot of people (I’ve seen) getting things done to their homes during the lockdown.
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by canadianbacon » Sat May 23, 2020 1:21 pm

sailaway wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:41 am
You sound depressed, frankly. Have you sought professional support for that?
Yes, when I have gotten in patterns like this, it is usually because my overall mental health and stress levels are not good... which would certainly be understandable during a pandemic! I agree with those who say forcing more activity into your daily routine will help.
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by johnegonpdx » Sat May 23, 2020 1:33 pm

March-May 2019 vs 2020 for me.

Changes made
-Engaged in intermittent fasting (18:6 plan).
-Weighed myself weekly.
-Took over more of the cooking and grocery shopping responsibilities.
-Used a meal diary to monitor caloric intake.
-Held regular and frequent discussions about our net cash reserves, recent & upcoming expenditures.

Results achieved
-Weight down 12%.
-Food & drink spending down 45%.
-Home decor spending down 42%.
-Hobby spending down 58%.
-Cash reserves up 30% purely through savings.

Just apply a little more discipline and focus on honest self-monitoring and you can turn your behaviors around.

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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by Mudpuppy » Sat May 23, 2020 1:33 pm

For me, the only budget category that has gone up is groceries. I have a high-risk individual in my household, so we've been using purely curbside pickup or delivery and that is more expensive. Also, I've been adding more pantry staples to each order (pasta, beans, lentils, etc.), just to be stocked up, although we rarely get those in the order.

But I've always been good with fiscal discipline, so this all just reflects me. I don't particularly care for shopping, so I don't see that as a recreational activity. It's a requirement of life to me, not fun.

Since the stay-at-home order, I have spent more time on the evenings and weekends playing a computer game that I consider to be fun, and I did spend $20 on some DLC for that game because I knew that minor expense would give me more enjoyment. So maybe the OP can do the same, look for free experiences or experiences that would only have minor expenses that would give more enjoyment.

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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by Angst » Sat May 23, 2020 1:35 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:35 am
Going to a Crepe Myrtle is an interesting choice as that tree is super super super messy.
Sorry, but this doesn't bode well. :shock:
Crape Myrtle Characteristics wrote:Be prepared for plenty of raking and clean-up.
The alcohol issue is similar to what I've seen with a number of friends. I wonder if there isn't a forced excess of routine in their lives right now, i.e. too much of the same thing every evening after the next. Need to find a way to shake things up!

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unclescrooge
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by unclescrooge » Sat May 23, 2020 1:42 pm

terran wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:40 am
jebmke wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:33 am
We don't allow junk food in the house. But that might be tricky for you with kids in the house.
Agreed. The best way to avoid eating chips and ice cream is to not buy chips and ice cream.

OP, I wonder if there are any positive stress relief habits you could try to replace these negative stress relief habits with? Exercise? Meditation?
Hard to not buy junk food when you have young kids.

At least I still refuse to eat pizza!

I used to go to the gym 3 days a week. But I find it hard to get motivated to workout at home. I have been spending 15 mins on the elliptical before I go to bed 4 days a week. Barely sufficient level of exercise just so I hit 5k steps a day.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by unclescrooge » Sat May 23, 2020 1:52 pm

sailaway wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:41 am
You sound depressed, frankly. Have you sought professional support for that?

Other than that, all you can do is make a concerted effort to have a healthy routine. Good, yummy foods at the table, regular movement. Those feel good routines can even help with impulse control.

You don't say what age the kids are, but if y'all spend the time in the kitchen making new recipes, everyone will gain new skills and you will have less time to spend e shopping. I wouldn't suggest taking up baking just now, as the basics can be hard to find...
I think I was depressed for a few weeks. Two months with 2 kids aged 3 and 5, while my wife was working 7 days a week was really getting to me.

But wife's work load has subsided, and things are getting somewhat back to normal.

Daycare is affiliated with hospital where wife works, so we finally relented and put the kids back in day 10 days ago. I figured it's the same level of exposure that my wife is exposed to anyway.

Unfortunately, wife is a phenomenal cook and I told her before we got married that she's not allowed to bake -unless she wants me to weigh 400lbs. All that went out the window with the kids being home and we're constantly baking. Luckily, I've developed a severe gluten allergy so I haven't started eating any baked goods yet.

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PalmQueen
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by PalmQueen » Sat May 23, 2020 2:01 pm

Yes, at first my exercise routine went out the window, then I started baking treats and ate them all, ordered groceries online with associated upcharges, delivery fees and tips.

Then one day, I just decided I'd had enough of that. I'm guessing today is that day for you.

Things I find helpful that may or may not appeal to you -
  • Take 2-1/5+ mile walks - at least once a day
  • Do an online exercise video - at least once a day
  • Mentally associate ice cream with clogged arteries
  • Swap out nuts for chips when craving salty treats
  • Swap out sparkling water mixed with fruit juice for adult beverages
  • Set out bowls of fruit on the counter
  • Place carrot sticks in the front of the fridge for easy access
  • Move the sugary/salty snacks to the backs of the cupboards requiring work to reach them
It sounds to me like the spending will resolve itself. If you want to make one "last" online purchase, maybe a bit of basic workout equipment. A couple sizes of free weights and exercise bands should do it. You can find lots of free videos online with routines to use them.

You'll be fine.

EDITED TO ADD: I just saw your post that you've been home with a 3 and 5-year old. It's very challenging to get any exercise tending to 2 children that age. More power to you!
Last edited by PalmQueen on Sat May 23, 2020 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

terran
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by terran » Sat May 23, 2020 2:05 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:42 pm
terran wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:40 am
jebmke wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:33 am
We don't allow junk food in the house. But that might be tricky for you with kids in the house.
Agreed. The best way to avoid eating chips and ice cream is to not buy chips and ice cream.

OP, I wonder if there are any positive stress relief habits you could try to replace these negative stress relief habits with? Exercise? Meditation?
Hard to not buy junk food when you have young kids.

At least I still refuse to eat pizza!

I used to go to the gym 3 days a week. But I find it hard to get motivated to workout at home. I have been spending 15 mins on the elliptical before I go to bed 4 days a week. Barely sufficient level of exercise just so I hit 5k steps a day.
No kids, so I can't authoritatively speak to that, but I wonder if it's a habit you can break your kids of too? We didn't regularly have things like that when I was a kid -- it was a treat. Of course, maybe that's why I can't control myself when they're in the house now.

How about outdoor exercise? Even just a walk or bike ride. Kids can be a part of it too. I see plenty of kids being pulled behind bikes in various contraptions or being pushed in strollers when I'm out for my daily (weather permitting) constitutional (I'm really not as old as I sound). When routines change we develop all kinds of new habits, and it sounds like you're not happy with yours.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by unclescrooge » Sat May 23, 2020 2:20 pm

quadog wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:50 am
Just start setting limits. I’ve been drinking every day too … but I keep it to one craft cocktail. I’ve been spending more money on home improvement too … but I stick to a budget. I’ve been eating more junk food too … but I’ve also been exercising like mad so it hasn’t had any effect. Just moderate this stuff and you’ll be ok.
How many oz of alcohol in each cocktail?

Luckily that phase seems to tapering off for me.

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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by jebmke » Sat May 23, 2020 2:25 pm

We have been under stay-at-home since mid-March. The first month was the toughest. My volunteer tax work came to a screeching halt and it was too early in the spring for much of my outdoor activity. And it rained a lot. It took me a while to get into a new routine.
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by unclescrooge » Sat May 23, 2020 2:27 pm

desiderium wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 11:15 am
Ennui--a feeling of being bored and mentally tired caused by having nothing interesting or exciting to do. (Cambridge English Dictionary)

This is a pervasive consequence of the current situation. Eating badly and spending are stimulating, and drinking more is also common. Melancholia is another description of the state many feel, and that can get in the way of more productive occupations, like exercise. I have pushed myself to do home chores and run. It is working out ok. I am spending significantly less, because travel and eating out frequently are things we used to do.
Makes sense.

We had a 5 day trip to Vegas planned in 3 weeks that we canceled. That will save us money. But I am assuming it will just be pushed back a few months, and the rebound spending will be all the more vicious.

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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by abuss368 » Sat May 23, 2020 2:28 pm

For us, quite the opposite. We have barely spent and have actually paid down debt and increased savings & investing.

Clothing, gas, eating out, and other items are all down.

Our credit card transactions are a couple a week if that.

If this is a good prelude to retirement, I am feeling a lot better.
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by unclescrooge » Sat May 23, 2020 2:35 pm

kjvmartin wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 11:18 am
I was on my way to the "Quarantine 15". I'm not a runner (knees) and don't have room for an indoor bike/elliptical. Gym remains closed and probably won't go back after they open. I decided to re-calibrate my Apple Watch fitness goals and I'm somewhere between sedentary and active by taking a 30 minute walk each day to close my rings.

I can't stress how much of a difference the goal of closing your rings can have. It forces you to get up and move at least once an hour, exercise at least 30 minutes, and burn a certain number of calories each day. I find that once I've completed those goals, I'm less likely to "throw all the work away" by snacking heavily/bad choices in the evening. I've been making coconut oil popcorn on the stove and snacking on that lately along with some Kirkland frozen blueberries.
Can you explain closing rings please?

I've maintained my weight, probably due to eating only within an 8 hour window, and my breakfast shake that consists of 40 grams of low carb protein powder, 4oz spinach, 1 oz blue berries and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.

I will try snacking of frozen blue berries instead of chips.

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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by unclescrooge » Sat May 23, 2020 2:36 pm

anakinskywalker wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 11:21 am
unclescrooge wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:27 am
Since the pandemic erupted, and the kids have been home alone with me while my wife goes off to work, I find I'm drinking more and spending more time shopping online.

In the past month, I've spent a ridiculous amount of money replacing a tree that had been bothering me since we moved into the house. It was a Chinese camphor that was planted 10 ft from the house. Provided great shade in the patio but super messy and needs to be trimmed every other year to keep it under 30 ft tall. We mulched it and replaced it with a 12ft Crepe Myrtle. The expense to do this was shocking.

We also spent $3k on a painting that I saw 2 years ago on vacation, and a similar amount on a new leather sectional from Costco.

Plus I find myself eating chips and ice cream on a regular basis, something I haven't done in 35 years.

This lack of self control is bothersome.

Has anyone else seen their personal expenses go up and their health habits slip?
Did you see any ghosts or start listening to religious music?

Anakin
Thankfully not. However, I did get Disney plus and just finished all 9 start wars movies.

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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by unclescrooge » Sat May 23, 2020 2:52 pm

jjface wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 11:31 am
Well it is good of you to admit what is going on that is the first step. I don't quite believe all the perfectly healthy, happy bogleheads on here. Apparently everyone is a pro athlete, have $4 million, expert market timers and perfect buy and hold investors at the same time, have perfect lawns that they didn't use any chemicals on, eat the most healthy foods, are super great parents with plenty of time to spare for themselves, work 80 hours a week but have 80 hours of leisure time too and still somehow get 8 hours of sleep a day etc etc.
That was funny!

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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by unclescrooge » Sat May 23, 2020 2:54 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 11:40 am
unclescrooge wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:27 am
I find I'm drinking more...
A recent newspaper article stated that sales of alcohol in my area are up about 60% since the beginning of March. Living about a mile from a state liquor store, based upon the parking lot and lines to get inside the store, I would not be surprised if it is even more than that.
I drove past a liquor store a few weeks ago and there were more people in line than there were for Trader Joe's, a few blocks away.

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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by unclescrooge » Sat May 23, 2020 3:00 pm

manatee2005 wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 12:44 pm

They call it covid 19 because everyone will gain 19 pounds during the quarantine.

I found I was eating a lot of junk too, so I threw it all out in the garbage and told my wife not to buy anymore. I am now limited to pumpkin seeds only for a snack. I’m also thinking of putting a lock on the fridge because when I work from home I’m 6 feet from the fridge and very tempted to open it every 10 minutes.

Also I found the best way to cut down on shopping and eating is to not be in the house. I’ve been driving around and going for walks a lot. Hoping that fixes the weight issue too.
LOL, I haven't put on weight but my waist is definitely growing.

If I opened the fridge I would probably would find a lot of healthy options. Unfortunately on my way to the fridge I pass by the pantry and grab the ghost pepper chips instead!

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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by unclescrooge » Sat May 23, 2020 3:03 pm

stan1 wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 12:59 pm
How old are the kids? I have co-workers who are trying to juggle professional work duties with caring for multiple children under the age of 6. They are frazzled and burning the candle at both ends. I empathize as best I can but to be honest I don't have much to offer them in the way of suggestions other than trying to be flexible. Unfortunately I've seen some managers who are doing a deep dive into Covey's Quadrant 3 (making unimportant things urgent) during their work from home.

I'd add make sure you are taking at least 5-10 minutes each day to chat with your wife when you aren't busy doing other things. Maybe there are some household administrative things you need to take care of (like what to buy at the grocery store) but more importantly you are each other's first line of support.
Kids are 3 and 5. Now that they are back at day care things are definitely less stressful around the house.

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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by zlandar » Sat May 23, 2020 3:04 pm

Crepe Myrtle is a weed disguised as a tree. Hate the buggers.

If I was going to plant anything it would be a Japanese Maple. Have one in the yard and it takes care of itself.

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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by unclescrooge » Sat May 23, 2020 3:09 pm

Angst wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:35 pm
livesoft wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:35 am
Going to a Crepe Myrtle is an interesting choice as that tree is super super super messy.
Sorry, but this doesn't bode well. :shock:
Crape Myrtle Characteristics wrote:Be prepared for plenty of raking and clean-up.
I have two jacarandas in the front yard and I'm okay with that level of mess. If you think a crepe myrtle is messy, you've never dealt with a Chinese camphor tree. :mrgreen:

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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by ResearchMed » Sat May 23, 2020 3:14 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:27 am
Since the pandemic erupted, and the kids have been home alone with me while my wife goes off to work, I find I'm drinking more and spending more time shopping online.

In the past month, I've spent a ridiculous amount of money replacing a tree that had been bothering me since we moved into the house. It was a Chinese camphor that was planted 10 ft from the house. Provided great shade in the patio but super messy and needs to be trimmed every other year to keep it under 30 ft tall. We mulched it and replaced it with a 12ft Crepe Myrtle. The expense to do this was shocking.

We also spent $3k on a painting that I saw 2 years ago on vacation, and a similar amount on a new leather sectional from Costco.

Plus I find myself eating chips and ice cream on a regular basis, something I haven't done in 35 years.

This lack of self control is bothersome.

Has anyone else seen their personal expenses go up and their health habits slip?
I agree about the emotional aspect of this.
Only you know whether a therapist might be helpful at this time; your wife may have some suggestions/insight about this...?

But as an aside, don't be too hard on yourself. These ARE odd and difficult times; that's the reality nowadays.
And having to care for young children, although there may be wonderful, magical moments... that alone can be stressful even during the best of times.
(IF you do send the back to day care, consider planning ahead how to handle your extra "free" time, so you don't keep ordering big trees and big sofas.)
Is there an old hobby you can return to? A new one you've considered giving a try?

Might it help for you to focus on avoiding most of the behaviors you want to avoid, but cut yourself some slack on at least one of the others. Or perhaps taper, rather than trying to change it all at once?

We've decided that we are going to "allow ourselves" more snacking than in the past. We are trying to include (alternate) some more healthful snacks like nuts (yes, high fat, but healthy fat) along with some "chips type" snacks (currently, Popcorners - "thanks", JetBlue for introducing us to these :annoyed ). Oh, and chocolate pudding.
But we are also splurging on some wonderful fresh blueberries. LOTS of wonderful fresh blueberries, currently. They also go well with, say, pecans. We figure the cost of these is a bargain, in the scheme of things these days.

As for the specific spending issue, our main problem is the cost of groceries.
We are having all groceries delivered, which does cost more, sometimes a really noticeable amount more. The number of missing items (understandable, if the store is simply "out") and the wrong things (less understandable) is really annoying. Yes, we do ask for refunds, and someday, assuming the plague ends before we do, we'll have quite a selection of items for a homeless shelter we've sometimes support.
We've also signed up for several premium, for-pay, TV services, and are trying to include more "entertainment" (especially some of the great - in our minds - British mysteries/police procedurals), although this isn't a huge expense in the scheme of things.
This also is a great substitute for the news, and then more news, and then yet more (of the *same*) news...

But in general, we are probably spending less. Don't need clothing for work, or for anywhere, actually, as we are isolating almost religiously.
And pants aren't needed for Zoom meetings; just remember to keep the camera aimed *properly*! :D
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/da ... twbuzzfeed :shock:

Hope you find a way to deal with this, and feel better (same wish for many of us, of course).

RM
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by jebmke » Sat May 23, 2020 3:27 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 3:03 pm
Kids are 3 and 5.
Surprised they like ghost pepper chips.
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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by FeesR-BullNotBullish » Sat May 23, 2020 3:30 pm

We are putting off some home improvements due to the uncertainty of our employment situation. We've been spending more on groceries and less on eating out. I enjoy being outside, so I am spending more on gardening. I'm indulging baking. Overall I let my diet slip. I'm trying to combat that by buying a bounty of veggies and challenging myself to eat them before they go bad. Boundaries also help. I only eat in the kitchen and the dining room. Oh and in front of the pantry :oops: But never on the couch or in bed.

I'll take a devil's advocate view regarding your post. Are you being too hard on yourself? How does your normal level of self discipline compare to others? Sometimes we hold ourselves to unrealistically high standards that only make stress worse in a time like this. It's ok to give yourself permission to be less than perfect yet it's paramount to be aware of your behaviors so you can take note of what you'd like to change.

Sometimes it's nice to spend on things like landscaping, furniture, and art. These kind of expenditures can be immensely enjoyable as long as you're financially ok. As far as the drinking, it's not the point of the forum to tell you if this is bad or terrible. But quantities matter. Going from three drinks on the weekend to seven drinks through the week is different than throwing back a case of beer each week.

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Re: Personal spending out of control after Covid-19

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sat May 23, 2020 3:34 pm

Wife came home yesterday with a few six-packs of Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, as it was BOGO at Publix. I mean, she had to buy them! Very refreshing in these hot days.

I am finishing up the liter bottle of Bacardi Gold rum one of my aides got me for Christmas. It seems to have developed a hole in the bottle as the contents are slipping away.

A couple of nice things about drinking at home is you aren't out endangering others, and it is so much cheaper.

We aren't eating out much more than we used to, we have been ordering delivery take-out, but without alcohol our spending is less than we used to spend at our restaurants. Booze is much cheaper at home.

I like salty snacks, but I prefer pretzels and nuts.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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