So, obviously nothing is going to make any of this sincerely easier beyond the discovery of a vaccine, which I truly hope one of you cracks (we have a Nobel Peace Prize winner in Fug Nation, I know ONE of you is working on this vaccine!) but it seemed like this might be a good time for Fug Nation to exchange any tips and tricks we’ve stumbled on in the last few weeks and months about staying safe, saving money, and not losing our minds during this pandemic. As a sidebar: Living through a massive historical event that unravels the very fabric of global society sucks, and I hate it!

Anyway, I thought this could just be a free-for-all of potential usefulness, and I know a lot of you will have smart and helpful things to add. On my end, my tips (such as they are) are:

a) if you’re not driving into the office anymore, call your car insurance company because they will probably lower your rates.

b) here is a good tutorials on making homemade masks from Vox, if you need one. (The CDC is now recommending face coverings in the United States as delineated in that post.) You can also make one out of an old sock, if it comes to it.

c) Your local library is still a great resource, even though you can’t go in. A LOT of major ones are allowing you to sign up for library cards online right now, if you don’t already have one. You do not need a Kindle to read most library e-books — you can read on your computer or phone. Check out the website for the library of the major city closest to you. (If there is a library allowing non-residents to sign up now, please let us know in the comments.)

d) If you are buying books right now, please consider ordering them from, which aids indie bookstores, which will be in desperate need of any help we can spare. (We have an affiliate page there, that I’ve been using to build up my list of Books About Rich Mostly British People Having Romantical Problems During Wartimes, a personal favorite genre.)

e) you can make your own yeast if you want to or need to bake bread. (I haven’t tried this yet because a friend was good enough to give me some of her yeast, but I am going to — I have some old dried apricots that might work.)

f) I AM regrowing veggies from kitchen scraps and so far it’s going quite well. I will literally never buy a green onion again.

g) Related! If you’re making a recipe but you don’t have everything (and obviously can’t run out to the market for like a lemon), Food Subs will tell you what you can substitute. If you’re wondering if the stuff you’ve stocked up on has gone bad, StillTasty will tell you how long things last. (I’ve used these websites since well before The Inside Times, but they’re extra useful now.)

h) I know Facebook is problematic for a lot of reasons, but my local Buy Nothing group has been active and helpful lately — trading all kinds of stuff, generally, via contactless drop-off. My city also has a good and robust area Coronavirus Assistance Network, which is primarily crowdsourcing which stores have TP, info about food banks and testing, recommendations for cafes that have transformed into markets, etc.  I’m sure the qualities of these vary widely, but if you are on Facebook, it’s worth a look into what your community is doing on that platform.

Stay safe and healthy out there.