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Lockdown, month #2

by Apr 25, 2020Uncategorized

It’s week 6 of our lockdown, and a month has already passed since I wrote about it last time. When are we going to get out? Strangely, I was more positive about governments finding a solution then, than now.

Nonetheless, it has been an interesting month, with quite a few changes.

Homeschooling fatigue

After the initial success of home schooling, the kids seem less interested in their lessons now, and get distracted more often. While we still try to bring them back on track, we accept this is not a normal situation. So, provided they can focus on something that requires concentration and builds some skills (eg. a puzzle, a craft etc) we are happy to ‘flex’ the homeschooling routine and let them do what they want (within reason!).

Kids are coping very well

I read the news around the world and there seems to be a big focus on kids, and how much damage the prolonged quarantine would do to them. I look around and I think our kids are doing remarkably well. Yes, they do have the odd tantrum, but nothing more than the ordinary. Except for what I said about home schooling, they keep themselves busy and play together well. They haven’t complained too much about not being able to go out, despite thanks to the constant presence of their lovely parents. 😉

We are coping well (but less than the kids)

We probably have more desire than the kids to go out, and back to our normal life. Having relocated very recently, we haven’t really established a strong routine yet, and almost two months at home make us feel a bit unsettled. We want to go out to continue building that routine. It feels like we had made ten steps forward and now eight backwards. Nothing too serious, of course, and definitely fixable when we are able to get out again!

Our summer plans are very uncertain

This was going to be our first summer as ‘Early Retirees’ and we were looking forward to a very long holiday – almost three months! Instead, we are now wondering what will happen with our summer. At the moment, we have no idea whether borders will be open in the summer, and even if they were, whether it would be a good idea to travel anyway. For now, my prediction is that we’ll stay here.

New hobbies…

In my last post I mentioned we had taken up Yoga, using an app, and I’m happy (and surprised!) to report that we have been sticking to it. It’s now a daily routine we enjoy very much.

… and new skills

It seems that we human beings do love to learn new things even when we are trapped at home. In my case, evening after evening, I have learned and perfected a new skill, and I can now confidently say I master it: I have reached Ninja level at loading the dishwasher!
Tell me about skills for life! Now I can fill every single cubic inch with plates.  
(@mum and dad: see? All that time spent playing Tetris when I was little is paying back!🤓)

Jokes aside, we are now running the dishwasher every 3 or 4 days, instead of every day or two, which wastes less money.

Market recovery

The loss on our portfolio has narrowed. We are now about 2% below where we were before the pandemic. We made a couple of small purchases in the meantime, but we are pretty much in the same position as before, with around 70% in cash. While the market seems to have forgotten COVID-19, I am not sure this is over yet, so I don’t plan to invest much more in the next few weeks.

In the long term this crisis will be hopefully just a blip, so we need to be patient. After the initial concerns, we are now much more at ease with the situation. Our emergency fund covers two year, and probably even longer at the current run rate, because (cue next paragraph..)

Our expenses have gone down

One of the benefits of the lockdown is that we’re spending way less than before. We track our expenses and based on what I can see so far in April, the total for the month will be half our average. 👍

Overall

Everything considered, our experience with lockdown is still positive, and our family is coping well. This is good, as while we can’t wait to get back to normality, it doesn’t look like it will happen soon. My current prediction is that schools won’t reopen before September, and that we’ll end up spending the summer here.

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