Thursday, February 20, 2020

Frugal Living During the Covid-19 Outbreak

This has been quite a month! If you are reading this post, I can say with certainty that you are aware of the current virus outbreak, which has turned our little world upside down. The school where we work has not physically been in session since January 22; currently, the plan is that students will return March 16, but that is subject to change. Teachers are trying their best to keep students busy. Lessons are posted online daily, with weekly (at least) face to face sessions via the internet. 

While the teachers are having to get creative and totally change the way they teach classes, support staff like myself, while having to keep up with certain aspects of our given jobs, have more down time, and I am embracing the change of pace and seeing it as a gift. (My crazy will start when those kiddos come back to school all stressed out about every sneeze and cough!) But for now, with almost all outside activities cancelled (including church, volunteer work and planned travel) and trying to avoid crowded areas, my life is revolving around books, movies, cooking and extra time to pray and reflect. Call us naive, but we really aren't very concerned personally about catching the virus. At this point, there still aren't very many cases in Hong Kong and the city seems to have it under control. Please don't see this as my being dismissive of all the hurt, death and chaos that this virus has dumped on the's just that I need to deal with it in the best way I know how, for me, right now, and that means not worrying and daily rolling with what's right before me. 

Since we were here for Valentine's day, I made Shrimp Scampi (one of my 2020 goals is at least one new recipe a week) and had that with a side of baby green beans.

I also made these delicious Fully Loaded Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars, which I found on one of my favorite blogs. You can get the recipe here. Highly recommended. (I didn't add the raisins and they were still amazing). My husband gave them 2 thumbs up also. 

There are certain items that people seem to be "panic buying," among them, bread, toilet paper and rice. Thankfully, I had all the ingredients for yeast bread on hand and have been making my own. 

I also decided to use this time to finally schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to have a couple of questionable blemishes checked. She said neither were skin cancer (yeah!) and I used my time in the city to take advantage of a Starbucks gift card to get myself a croissant and a cappuccino.  The place was half empty, unheard of on a normal day in Hong Kong. It was nice to chill and people watch for awhile. 

 I remember when I was a kid, my mom collected S&H Green Stamps and redeemed them for various household goods. Always an exciting day when she had saved enough to get what she wanted!

Here in Hong Kong, the grocery store Wellcome (yes, it's spelled that way), has a similar program. I don't usually shop enough to get a "prize," but this time I succeeded. 

I turned in my 50 stickers for a nifty pair of new kitchen sheers and I'm pretty pumped about it! 

The same store also gave out coupon booklets over the Chinese New Year holiday, (coupons aren't much a of a thing here), and I was able to get 10 HKD ($1.30 US) off 50 HKD ($6.40 US) for fresh berries. It's the little wins. 

Today, I went for a walk and stopped at Park n Shop, another local grocer. They had this 6 pack of string cheese for 10 HKD ($1.30 USD). That's crazy super cheap here, so I bought the only 2 packs there. 

I'm also reading several books (I always have more than one going at a time) that were either from the free table at work or free on my kindle. And Mike and I are watching some episodes of Maine Cabin Masters. If you haven't watched it, you should. Well, if you like fixer-uppers, and Maine, and cabins...let's just say we like it!

Have a wonderful day, friends. Embrace whatever season you are in and find the gifts that are there, no matter how hard you have to look to find them.