Prior to my international flights, I had to make arrangements to self-quarantine when I arrived. While these rules are not strictly enforced in the United States, I chose to follow international standards and self-isolate. I was fortunate to have help from family and friends, but two weeks of isolation requires thorough preparation. Here is what I learned and how much I spent for the quarantine budget.
Transportation and Accommodations for Quarantine
The most pressing concern I had was where I would spend two weeks in quarantine. This meant no contact with the outside world for 14 days. There were really only two options: pay for a hotel or find someone to stay with also willing to quarantine with me.
I must admit, the idea of staying in a hotel and being waited on hand and foot was appealing. I would be able to have food delivered to my door, laundry and housekeeping services, and unlimited cable access. However, I quickly changed my mind when I saw the total cost. Accommodations ranged from $80-100 per night for a mid-range facility. At my preferred hotel, the final tally was $1,297 for the two weeks. Even with a free meal included daily, this was way outside my quarantine budget.
Since many family members have pre-existing conditions and weakened immune systems, finding a place to stay became complicated. Fortunately, I had other options available. My best friend has been working from home and had plenty of space for me. Not only did she save me a hefty hotel bill, but she even offered me a ride home from the airport.
The Budget for Groceries and Supplies
Once I had a place to stay, the next step was to buy enough food and supplies to last two weeks. The goal was to have enough on hand without needing food delivery or personal drop-offs. Luckily, my friend had a membership with a discount buying club so we could buy in bulk.
Before her shopping trip, we spent some time meal planning to determine just how much food we would need. She suggested we stick to recipes that used cheaper ingredients and local produce that was in season. We incorporated recipes that used both fresh produce and dry goods like rice, beans, and pasta. We also bought plenty of meat and frozen vegetables to thaw as needed. It was important to both of us the spend our money wisely and not waste any food.
The total damage was just under $500 dollars. This included everything we would need for two people for two weeks. This was not only for groceries, but also toiletries and cleaning supplies as well. When compared to the cost of food deliveries for two weeks, this was a huge savings.
The Entertainment Budget
The last consideration for our quarantine budget was entertainment expenses. Neither of us have any exorbitant hobbies or expensive tastes, so this figure was very low. Beyond the cost of a Netflix subscription, art supplies and enough wine for two weeks, we spent virtually nothing.
Lucky for me, I have several interests to fill my free time while in self-isolation that are absolutely free. I ensured I had plenty of reading material, music, and exercise routines to last the entire time. The only additional costs to my regular budget were for some new art supplies and sketch pads to help me make the most of my time in quarantine.
Final Taxes and Totals
The added cost of self-isolation causes many people to re-think their travel plans. Thanks to help from friends and family, my total quarantine budget was very low. I had to make very few changes beyond meal planning. However, if it had not been for my friend, I would have been way outside my monthly budget. The cost of accommodations alone would have set my savings goals back a few months. Fortunately, I had support to help me limit spending and stay within the quarantine budget.
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