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Debt-Free Journey Monthly Summary

Mar 2020 | The New Reality in The Face of Coronavirus Pandemic

Our Financial Summary of March 2020

At first, I thought I share our financial summary of the past month but it is almost impossible not to comment on life after lockdown due to the pandemic. 

Since 19th of March, we have been both working from home – I have my „home office” set up in our bedroom while Mr L somehow managed to find a safe sheltered under the stairs. The nursery Mr Little One attends had been shut on the 23rd of March so since then we have been trying (without much success) not to go crazy with childcare and full-time work all at the same time. Not sure if you remember this video of a dad being live on BBC? Well, this was my new reality until I was showed how to block the video and press the mute button during the video conference calls! Zoom – thank you for making my life „almost” normal. I can still „see” other people. 

The other thing which really surprised me was how little I eat when I work from home. Surely, it is not because there are food shortages in London (recently even toilet paper made U-turn on the market shelves as opposed to still existing shortages in gold bars). The truth is I am simply less hungry. I barely reach 10,000 steps a day which requires less fuel. But there is another reason, slightly less obvious: childcare. My coping strategy in managing both childcare and working from home is to pretend that I am a ghost. And going into an open space kitchen (the room without the door), opening the fridge and making a sandwich is a guaranteed policy of being caught up by the little one! Yes, I am in hiding almost all the time. Not to mention the negotiation techniques (would you like another candy?) with the 3.5 years old one as this could be seen as unresponsible. So I shall leave it at that! 

Transport users in London are down by 95% and for the first time, it feels like the entire city has taken annual leave with 80% of the salary capped at £2,500. These are one of many economic measures announced by the government to tackle the growing financial consequences of the pandemic. So if you are an employee of a business who cannot operate due to coronavirus, the government will pay you 80% of your salary but no more than £2,500 (which I believe is the median salary in the UK). This way the business can keep you on their books (instead of firing) and you will become so-called „furloughed worker”. You will not work but still get paid, at least some of your salary. It will be then down to the individual employer to decide whether to top up your salary with 20% or not. 

This was the case with the nursery Mr Little One attends. They had to close. I must admit it was somehow heartbreaking to read the email about the nursery closure. Not only because I was terrified with the prospect of working from home and looking after Mr Little One all at the same time. But because it is a really nice place for all the children there, mums are so cool (WeChat group number 4) teachers are fun and most importantly it is a great environment where kids can develop, play and learn. And yes, they also taught them how to flip (dress) the jacket.

Among other things, Mon-Fri feels like one day only with a few short breaks in between to eat and sleep. Fresh air is somehow more refreshing than a chilled glass of prosecco & going to get a newspaper on Saturday morning feels like a real fun. 

Except for the above, our life continues as normal (thank God!). Maybe except the cancelled trip to SPA the coming weekend, seeing friends and playing tennis. If life changed so could the household finances. Let’s see how did the coronavirus affected our budget so far:

The truth is it did not impact dramatically until the end of March but we will see what the future will bring. Until now:

Financial Update

  • I received £29.10 refund of my travel card. In case you have a season ticket you can apply for a refund online. Very easy. 
  • Although the nursery closed on the 23rd of March, it will be unlikely that we will receive a refund for these 7 working days (estimated at around £320). I am yet to read the Terms and Conditions to explore such possibility. For some reason, it just does not feel right for me to fight for it during these times, if I am honest with you. 
  • I spend less money on snacks/lunches and take away coffees! London moving is London spending
  • Spent more on newspapers than I did before coronavirus. FT is my alternative to BBC news which became monothematic. Plus I cannot listen to it anymore. FT is pricy but worth it, in my opinion anyway. 

How Much Money Did I Save This Month?

How Much Debt Did I Pay Off This Month?

these two questions alone are a very good first steps

Having checked our finances at the end of March against our goals for this year we recorded savings of £3,223.59. When coronavirus is over this will then go towards paying off debt. If you wonder why we do not pay debt straight away? It is because when there is a storm (like coronavirus) you hold on to what you have got (cash) and pause any other financial goals for a short period. At least this is the advice true to our current financial situation. So far we do not plan to alter any of our financial goals for this year although we did change how we redistribute money (more on this maybe later). That said, if we had to we would absolutely do whatever is necessary to make sure our basic needs are covered: food, utilities and shelter. 

I hope you and your family stay safe during these challenging times! 

Until next time,

Agata 

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