Berlin’s life changed a lot in the recent two weeks. And so probably also your life, at least it should. Here are some simple and cheap preparations you can make yourself.
This list mostly contains ideas that do not cost much (besides time) but can help a lot in case you need them.
1. Check your healthcare status
In a pandemic, where your chance of getting sick is higher than usual you definitely want to have healthcare insurance. BerlinCheap has a whole article on this – if you want some counselling, check
- Clearingstelle (free advice for people w/o healthcare)
- Popsure expat health insurance* (English speaking insurance broker)
- Ottonova expats insurance* (English speaking private insurance)
2. Check your food supplies
Even in “normal times”, the German government recommends to have enough food
and water at home for 10-14 days.
Why is that useful especially now? First, you want to minimize time outside your apartment, especially in crowded supermarkets. And second, in case you get sick you want to stay at home – because you won’t feel like getting out, and you also should not, in order to not infect others.
So no, you likely don’t need more toilet paper (calculate it here), but water can be very useful. And, as my friend Steve put it:
You can use water instead of toilet paper, but not vice versa.
So water should definitely have more priority than toilet paper. Besides getting enough water for 14 days, I’ve made a list of food that I eat anyway and that is non-perishable and just bought more of it. For me, that was:
- rice, noodles
- crispbread (Knäckebrot)
- olive oil
- frozen & canned vegetables
- canned fish, canned soups (e.g. all discounters have a pretty tasty, canned tomato soup for only 0.69€)
All of these things I like to eat anyway, so in case I won’t be quarantined, I can still eat it later. No losses will be made.
Again, this is just an inspiration. Your list might be very different, depending on what food you like. The basic idea is simply: Don’t experiment, buy what you would eat anyway.
(OK, if you usually eat only fresh food, then DO experiment: Just buy one can of the yet unknown food and check if you like it. Only then buy more of it.)
3. Check your medicine supplies
To keep your immune system in good condition, you already should have a good intake of vitamins – especially vitamine C and D. You get them at drugstores like dm or Rossmann, or also at online pharmacies.
Especially online pharmacies are great, as you can get many drugs much cheaper than usual (for instance painkillers like Tylenol / Paracetamol for ridiculously cheap 0.57€) – and prescriptive ones are even shipped for free. Read here comparison of the cheapest German online pharmacies, including their delivery fees.
4. Check out delivery options
If you still want to buy things while staying at home: There are some grocery delivery services, costing around 5-9 EUR per delivery (depending on how much you order – and also at what daytime they delivery shall arrive):
And for prepared / cooked food, there is of course the well-known Lieferando.
5. Stay clean
- So disinfectant is sold out – but did you know that also dish liquid (Spülmittel) kills the virus? And that’s still available, even cheaper than disinfectant.
- Masks and respirators are sold out too, but Youtube is full of tutorials for making your own mask. Here’s a pretty nice tutorial from the University of Hongkong.
- Paying contactless (with credit cards or Apple/Google pay) avoids dealing with cash, thus touching a lot of surfaces that other people already touched.
- On the other hand, in case you need to pay with cash, it is useful to pay with exact change – so you avoid receiving change. That’s why I usually withdraw cash from ATMs in bills as small as possible. For instance, Volksbank ATMs allow you to select only 5€ bills – and that’s what I usually do. 🙂
5€ notes also come in handy if you need to ask neighbours for a favour when you’re sick (like getting for you something from the pharmacy): Giving them the exact change makes things easier.
6. Stay informed
- All About Berlin has a continuously updated page about the situation and rules in Berlin.
- Berlin’s newspaper Tagesspiegel has an English page with various info, incl. the number of cases per district.
- Deutsche Welle offers news from Germany in 30 languages, incl. 3 Live TV streams: in English, Spanish and Arabic.
- AmalBerlin.de is an Arabic speaking news portal about Berlin.
- Zattoo offers live TV streaming of German and other European TV channels (free with ads). And there’s a trick: If you use a VPN like NordVPN* and then use a server from Switzerland, you can watch even more TV channels for free.
- Abendschau is the daily local TV news show
- There are 3 German news channels, all streaming for free:
7. Stay solvent with mini-loans
As a freelancer, the current situation might hit you hard financially, since many events get cancelled. If you are in need for quick cash, these mini-loan offers might help:
8. Think you had it? Get tested
There basically are different types of Covid19 tests:
- Tests that look for the virus: You get a swab in you nose or throat which is then checked if it contains for the virus. That type of tests works from the very first day of symptoms (maybe even before), and until you are recovered.
- Tests that look for antibodies: You give a drop of blood which is then checked if it contains antibodies against virus. That type of tests works not earlier than 7-10 days after the beginning of symptoms – but also weeks and months after you recovered.
There are now a few private options to get such antibody tests:
- Covid@Home is guide written by a Berlin couple (also in Spanish)
- The Prepared on Covid 19: A very comprehensive guide written by US Americans.
More ideas for simple preparations? Leave them in the comments!
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