Financial habits I am keeping (or adding) for 2021

2020 has been a crazy year, and the pandemic forced us to do many things differently. For some of those things, I can’t wait to get back to normal, but some of my new habits I hope to keep forever. Here are the keepers:

  1. Cooking at home. I never liked eating out. Not just because it is expensive, but I really don’t like people touching my food, eating meals that I don’t really know the ingredients of, and socializing with the servers. Meals out with people are sometimes part of my job, but I plan to continue to avoid them whenever they are avoidable.
  2. Bringing my lunches to work. I always planned to bring my lunches to work but rarely did. Most of the time, I bought burritos from Chipotle. For me, this doesn’t have most of the negatives of eating out – I know pretty much exactly what is in my burrito, and I can see the people cooking the food. Nonetheless, it is expensive. A $7 burrito each workday adds up to $140 a month or $1680 a year. And that doesn’t count the drink I often got to go with my burrito. I have gotten pretty good at preparing food over the weekend for the whole week, and when I return to the office, I will plan to have five lunches for my wife and me ready in the freezer each Sunday night.
  3. Only buying and eating whole foods. No Snacks September had quite an impact on my eating habits. We have continued to buy very little processed food, and it has been wonderful both for my physical and mental health. I am not sure there are direct savings, but this is definitely a habit I want to keep.
  4. Using grocery curb pick-up. I love Misfit Foods (Want to try it? 25% off code for your first box: COOKWME-IE2AJH). Fresh organic fruits and veggies arrive at my doorstep every week. I have compared with my local organic options, and the food is cheaper and much better at Misfit. I plan to keep those deliveries for the foreseeable future. There is also a lot to be said about grocery pick-up. My only complaint about curb pick-up is that I don’t always like the produce they select, but as most of my produce now comes from Misfit, that is much less of a problem. I believe I am saving a significant amount of money by not being tempted to throw random stuff in my cart, and I save at least an hour. Once it is safe, I would be happy to go grocery shopping once in a while, but I don’t think that will be the norm for my family.
  5. Not spending money on transportation. My office is 3.5 miles from my house, so driving is a minimal expense in terms of gas. Parking, however, is about $10 a day! Between that and my lunches, I was spending about $4000 a year to go to work. If it feels safe, there is a bus which is close to free. If that doesn’t feel safe, I have identified free parking 1.3 miles from my office. I think a 2.6-mile daily walk will do me good:0)
  6. Not spending money on gyms. I have had gym memberships off and on for years. I really don’t like gyms – I’d much rather be outside. I don’t plan to sign up for a gym even when that becomes safe.
  7. Not spending money on the weekend. Before the pandemic, we sometimes ended up at the mall on the weekend. Mostly, we hung out at the bookstore and didn’t buy much, but it still involved mall food and occasional purchases. After the pandemic, I would like to spend more time with friends doing non-mall things like hiking or exploring the surrounding towns

There are some things that I would be happy to start spending money on again. Dancing and 5Ks are very high on my list…..Actually, those might be the only things on my list:0)

What habits did you pick up during the pandemic that you want to keep?