Lockdown These Expenses – April 2020

For the first few weeks of April, Mr. Mechanic is working a night shift. He comes home just as I wake up, falling into bed after a 14-hour shift. I work quietly in another room as he sleeps, and when I log off, he’s already in his scrubs, popping in to kiss me goodbye before heading off to hospital once again. The month felt like it lasted an age, and a 30 Rock quote suddenly becomes intensely relatable:

A Death in the Family

A few weeks in, my grandmother has a stroke, but I can’t visit her during the lockdown. I’m only two degrees separated from known Covid-positive patients and could be a potential carrier of the virus. Luckily, my aunt and cousins can be there for her. She dies two days later. We have her memorial over Zoom, an efficient but substandard way for my partner to finally meet my extended family. It’s a sad time, making me reflective and in some ways grateful, too.

Gratitude in Uncertain Times

Mr. Mechanic and I are thankful for a lot of things. We recognize the struggle of so many parents trying to juggle work full-time as well as taking care of their children, and we’re thankful we don’t have that stressor too (we salute all you parents out there making it work!). Next, we’re glad that even if unemployment comes sniffing at my door, Mr. Mechanic has job security. On a smaller scale, we’re also grateful that we procrastinated booking our trip to Cuba, which means we don’t have to worry about cancellations and refunds. Gratitude is a sweet antidote to the uncertainty of the times.

Work and Imposter Syndrome

I worked hard this month after transferring to a new team. My new task is tackling large, complex technical problems that have stymied other teams. Some days I feel in over my head. I’ve been bitten by imposter syndrome—not a new feeling in this profession, but I’m feeling it even more keenly this month. I fight it back by working longer hours and sometimes reminding myself that my peers, who are insanely smart, also have at least 5-8 years more experience than I do.

Gratitude is a sweet antidote to the uncertainty of the times.Click To Tweet

On the weekends, we hike.

The trails are empty, a timely distraction from a world gone mad.

Recipe Disasters

We spent most of our money on groceries this month, although we often finish work too tired to cook our usual assortment of recipes. The batch of homemade cookies we make are dry and bloated with too much flour. I ruin the black bean, corn, and tomato salsa with too much red onion. We forget the timer for our biscuits, watching an entire episode of Parks and Rec before we realize. Our minds are splintered by work and late nights.

April Expenses

That said, we are hopeful for May. Better weather lifts our spirits and spurs us to enjoy the last couple of months we have up here in the northeast. I’m interested in looking back on April’s expenses to see how we fared during lockdown.

Note: This is the spending for just me. I report expenses when I pay them, so you may not see insurance or other bills until the month that I pay them.

ItemAmountMechanic Musings
Rent$500We’ve been looking at housing at Santa Barbara and this line item will likely triple soon 🙁
Groceries$154Groceries were a big line item this month, but I’m hoping that in May and June we will spend less because we need to eat through most of our food before we move!
Cabin in the woods$142We booked a couple days to stay in a cabin in the woods up in the Adirondacks.
Donation$100My aunt is a lawyer, and when she talked about retirement, it was in terms of how she could aid non-profits that serve immigrants. Inspired by her, I made my donation this month to the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, a “non-profit dedicated to serving the legal needs of low income immigrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, victims of crime, and families seeking reunification.”

If you want to help, here are a few other organizations that could use your help.

Restaurant$17We ordered takeaway from our favorite local restaurant.
Gift$23It’s a secret, shh!
Skincare$15#treatyoself to some facemasks
Fuel$10We did some driving to hikes in the area, but otherwise haven’t used the car much at all. We filled up once this month.



I squeaked in just under $1k for the month. Not bad! 
Taking MechaniCat for a walk in the sun.

What About You?

How was your month of April?

What does your barebudget look like?

Did you have to reschedule any trips?

Share in the comments below!

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  1. Congrats on getting below $1,000! Ever since the lockdown started I went from spending roughly $1,600 a month to $1,100. Seems as though I found my actual bare bones budget 🙂

    I was planning on traveling to South East Asia in May. Will not happen obviously. I’m hoping towards November international travel will pick up again.

    P.S – I struggled with the impostor syndrome for a very long time. It took me years to get over it so don’t get too worked up about it. Happens to a lot of people.

    Cheers and stay safe!

    1. That’s a healthy chunk of savings! I’m surprised that even while on what I would consider ‘barebones’, we still ordered in from a restaurant, booked a couple nights away, made a donation, and bought gifts for others and ourselves. There’s still a lot we could cut down on, but I’m happy to be able to make those little splurges still.

      I’m so sorry you can’t go to South East Asia, that’s a dream destination for us whenever we can get enough time off. Looking forward to reading about your adventures when international travel picks up again!

  2. Wow, that’s great spending. Still moving to SB, I see. Good luck find a nice place! I love that town.
    We canceled our local roadtrip, camping trip, and a Thailand trip to see my parents. It’s tough because my mom has dementia. The longer we wait the worse she gets. Hopefully, I can go later this year, but who knows. I’m ready for the lockdown to ease up a bit.

    1. Yep the move is still on! Hospitals aren’t in lockdown like the rest of the country, but it will make some parts of moving a bit interesting. Not being able to go see your mother is a big bummer, I hope there will be safe international travel opening up so you can see her. My grandma had similar issues near the end.

  3. With all that is going on, you’re doing great! I can imagine it’s hard to be transferred to another team, sounds like you’re kicking imposter sydrome’s a$$ and you’re being very deliberate with the work that you put in.

    I love how you explicitly list the giving you have done that month, that may lead other people to think about giving as well. I always put it in my general categories but I may borrow this idea from you for my next monthly report!

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