Let's talk about money
We're all thinking about it
This week, many of us received our one time $1,200 checks (I’m still waiting for mine). Many of us might have filed for unemployment, checked our bank accounts, or questioned a purchase. On the flip side, many of us are shifting our spending, using money we once spent on coffees and cocktails to support others or save for a rainy day.
Money’s on our mind, which affects how we think about food, support restaurants, and basically everything else.
If you’re in the position to donate some of your stimulus check (It could be a small percentage), you absolutely should. My friend Amber, who has a great investing newsletter, has a great thread with places to donate. If your finances are (relatively) stable, I would urge you to set an amount you feel comfortable donating and then figure out how you want to divide it. In times like these, I like a mix of established charities, plus venmos, and gofundmes for local and more targeted support. Set percentages for each category and then spend some time researching. This story I wrote way back in March (feels like forever ago) is still helpful.
You can also use some of your money to support small businesses and if you want to direct that towards restaurants and restaurant workers, here’s a good list of relief funds and restaurants who are preparing meals for hospital workers. If you want some merch with your donation, check out this shop. In New York, Bed Stuy Strong is a vital mutual aid group (there are many others). You can also use some $$ to support small businesses, like ceramicists, bookstores, fitness studios, and coffee shops. Giving feels really good right now.
While money is always helpful, there are other ways to be generous. In my parent’s neighborhood, people are sharing Fresh Direct orders since it’s so hard to get a slot. You can divide the items once they arrive. Julianne texted me that she was getting lunch from a bakery near me and surprised me with a coffee and a treat. If you have a box of gloves and your neighbor doesn’t have any, leave some in a bag outside their door. My sister and I traded almonds for cashews earlier this week (she was making matzo crackers). The barter system is back!
Everyone’s financial situation is different so you may be using your check to pay rent, pay down debt, or just survive. That’s more than okay.
You might be trying to reduce your food spending. I was listening to Samin Nosrat’s delightful new podcast Home Cooking and they recommended Leanne Brown’s cookbook Good and Cheap, which helps you cook on $4 a day. It was designed in part for people on food stamps and is available for free in both Spanish and English. Budget Bytes is another great resource (she uses a lot of frozen produce, which can be a great deal if your store has it in stock) and I love her sesame tofu with broccoli.
I’m biased because I’ve been a vegetarian for many years, but reducing your meat consumption is an easy way to save money. All of my pantry recipes are vegetarian and many are vegan or easily made vegan. Cookie and Kate is one of my favorite vegetarian recipe blogs and her recipes are generally very affordable (she knows her way around a head of cabbage).
My expenses have certainly gone down since being inside, but my income has as well. I’ve been making small donations here and there and I’m only ordering from restaurants I absolutely love (Lighthouse, Ops, Los Tacos). Decisions about money would, of course, be easier if we knew how long we would be in this situation.
I’m going to be doing a Q+A on Instagram Live with She Spends on April 29th (save the date) about all things money + food and am very excited to talk more about this. She Spends is another great resource during this time (especially the facebook group) so get on their newsletter list!
Call for feedback: In the time we’ve been inside, a lot has changed, so I want to make sure I’m still sharing things that are useful to you. Do you need WFH tips, budget recipes, spots to order groceries when the store is out of flour, ingredient swaps, distractions, etc? What are the food-related things you’re struggling with? What’s making things easier? Are you interested in events or cooking demos, on Zoom or Instagram? Anything else?
I’d love to keep the conversation rolling and so appreciate your support!
I hope you have a safe and dare I say, fun, weekend (the tips for weekends here are very useful). I’ll see you on Monday!