While the negatives to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will forever far outweigh the positives, this current shutdown in life as we know it continues to spark a few positive changes that will benefit us long into the future. That's provided, for course, we don't revert to our old bad habits as soon as we think it is reasonably safe to do so.
One of these positive changes — washing our hands more frequently and thoroughly — I wrote about earlier but today I want to stress some changes the pandemic has spurred in us old-timers who are so used to doing things the same old way. We have resisted changes that clearly are beneficial.
Here's another one: I now am paying most of my bills online.
I know many people — including just about everyone under the age of 50 — have been doing this for years, but I resisted the change and continued to pay my bills by check and send them in by snail mail.
However, it wasn't the pandemic that sparked this change in me, although it has sped up the process. It was the latest increase in the price of stamps. You don't have to be a financial genius with an MBA to realize you can save a lot of money each month by paying your bills online in writing checks and depending on the U.S. Postage Service to deliver the payments in a timely fashion. Online is the faster, cheaper way to pay your bills and I am writing far fewer checks than I ever have, another savings.
One reason I resisted this change is because I feared my bills would be paid automatically even if I did not have sufficient funds in my checking account. However, this was already happening because of automatic withdrawals in recurring expenses like loan payments and insurance.
That's why I have automatic overdraft protection on my checking account. Our household income from social security, our two pensions, my wife's pay for substitute teaching, etc., are more than enough to cover our routine monthly expenses, but sometimes I have cash flow problems that cause temporary bouts of red ink. The first thing I do when I receive my Social Security check each month is pay off my overdraft.
I have even started paying church online, which eliminates writing checks and filling out my pledge envelope. I started doing this because the pandemic has my wife and me sitting in the car in the church parking lot with our dog and dozens of other worshippers in their cars.
Our dog Colt attends because he loves to ride with us wherever we go, but watching the service in our cars is better than I ever thought it would be. I am anxious to be again be worshipping in the church singing in the choir and teaching my Sunday school class, but I may continue to pay my tithe, etc., online. It is just easier.
I also hope broadcasting the services live on Facebook will continue. It is a great way to reach shut-ins and those who are out of town or working.
These are just a few of the changes I have been forced to make reluctantly that I now wonder what was holding me back.
Reach JOHN CANNON at email@example.com.