How we can create our new “normal”

Katie Fischer, CFP®

Over the past few months, most of us have been spending the majority of our time at home, cooking our own meals, figuring out how to work remotely, finding new forms of entertainment, or picking up new hobbies. These unprecedented times (how many times have we heard that now?) have left us with an unprecedented opportunity as we prepare to move forward – the opportunity to rebuild how we spend our time and how we spend our money.

Shifts in Spending & Time

While staying at home, many people have likely noticed some shifts in their spending. For example, we immediately canceled our gym membership, which we kept primarily for the pool in the summer. We have eaten very few meals not cooked at home, the kids are no longer eating lunch and snacks at daycare, and I no longer get my fancy coffee once per week. While these items are relatively small expenses, they have made an impact on our monthly budget.

We have also shifted how we spend our time. Evenings and weekends are no longer scheduled in advance with meetings and social gatherings. We are able to be outside when the weather is nice, or inside when we have an unseasonably cold May day. I have walked every street in our neighborhood multiple times, and family bike rides have been a highlight of our weekends.

What Do We Want to Do?

Now, as we see steps being taken to reopen businesses and allow people to start doing the things they haven’t in the past few months the question is, “What do we want to do?” What expenses do we want to add back to our lives? How do we want to spend our time, now that we know what it feels like to not be allowed to explore the world freely?

Our family has been regularly saving money to improve our home. Our house was built in the early 1950s, and while we are only the third owners, there have been additions and remodels over the years that have led to a layout that is not always ideal. Spending so much time at home has highlighted the areas that need to be prioritized versus the areas that would be fine with a few cosmetic improvements. For example, our kitchen is spacious, but with the increased snacking going on our pantry needs to be changed to allow a more organized and accessible storage space – we are moving that up the list of priorities.

What We’re Leaving in The Past

An expense that will not be returning to our budget anytime soon is a gym membership. While we enjoy physical activity and using the pool on nice days, we have found alternative options that are working for us right now. I have been doing daily workouts at home using an app while my husband prefers outdoor workouts. We also decided to invest in a small above ground pool for outdoor summer entertainment for the kids which eliminates the main reason we had the gym membership in the first place. The total cost of the change is less than 4 months of membership and we have no intention of adding it back anytime soon.

What We Miss

With two small children, we have greatly missed The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. It’s an easy place for our family to find a few hours of entertainment on slow weekends. When it reopens and we feel comfortable doing so, we will be returning for the exhibits, education, and socialization that it adds to our family’s life.

While we have had our fair share of family time over the course of the lockdown, we don’t want to lose all of it just because things are back to the “normal” that we knew a few months ago. We will take small steps back into the things we used to fill our time with, and if we find we miss some of our lockdown life, we can eliminate the unnecessary.

An Opportunity

At this time, we are presented with a unique opportunity that allows us to add items back into our lives and our budgets. Reducing things from our lives has been a challenge for many, but we now have an opportunity to be intentional about what we do, and do not, want to add back. Not all of the spending and busyness in our lives prior to this disruption actually provided happiness and value to us.

I urge you to be intentional about transitioning back to “normal” and take some time to deeply consider the things that you really want to add back, those that you’re happy leaving in the past, and the new habits that you’ve formed during social distancing that you’d like to carry with you into the future.

Subscribe to Our Blog

Sign-up for our blog notifications below to stay up-to-date on the latest from Market Street Wealth Management Advisors. 

Sign Up

Wondering what a "new normal" in your personal finances may look like? Give me a call today to talk about your personal financial situation!

Katie Fischer, CFP®
Partner | Senior Financial Planner | Chief Compliance Officer


Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Market Street Wealth Management Advisors, LLC [“MSWMA”]), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from MSWMA. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. MSWMA is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the MSWMA’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request or at Please Note: MSWMA does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to MSWMA’s web site or blog or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. Please Remember: If you are a MSWMA client, please contact MSWMA, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services. Unless, and until, you notify us, in writing, to the contrary, we shall continue to provide services as we do currently. Please Also Remember to advise us if you have not been receiving account statements (at least quarterly) from the account custodian.