Prior to the COVID-19 global pandemic, life was simple. I lived a simple routine that included work, school, spending time with friends and family, and occasionally treating myself. And by treating myself I mean placing several Amazon orders (of things I don’t really need), buying drinks at bars, going out to eat and buying video games. 

Eduardo Rangel | The Poly Post

As a contract worker, working at a country club has never felt slow or put me in a position where I was desperate for more hours. As long as the sun was shining, there were consistent weddings, corporate events or parties going on. The hours, flexibility and pay were exactly what I needed to sustain my simple lifestyle and schoolwork.

That was before COVID-19.

Once social distancing orders were put into place, the work stopped. All events were canceled to remain compliant with the state ordinance. My coworkers and I were left without gigs and for some of us, without income. It has been over a month since my last paycheck, and I was not eligible for a stimulus check.

Given the circumstances and the severity of COVID-19, I see the bigger picture and understand the reasons social distancing orders have been put in place, but I have come to realize that even my simple lifestyle wasn’t sustainable at the rate I spent money back then.

After being home for some weeks now, I realized I could and should have been saving a large chunk of my paychecks. I was in a position (thankfully) where saving money would have not lessened my quality of life or health, yet I still failed to realize how important it is to be smart with money. 

The COVID-19 outbreak has taught me how to live a minimalistic lifestyle and save all my pennies.

The majority of my spending happened at dine-in and drive-thru restaurants. Whether it was pizza several times a week, burgers, steak or seafood, I realized most of my checks went to food. I’ve learned over the past weeks that I can make the majority of food that I pay for at home for a fraction of the cost. 

As the stay-at-home orders continue, I am learning new ways to save money and make do with what I have. The world changed, and I wasn’t ready. I learned it is never too late to start saving, and it is important to save money, especially for those who can do so very easily. 

Stay safe, healthy and save your money.

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