Money Diary: A 28-Year-Old Library Assistant With Long COVID On 12k

·19-min read

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking a cross-section of women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period – and we're tracking every last penny.

This week: "I'm 28 years old and currently work as a library assistant in Leeds. I was brought up by my mum in a low-wage, single-parent, working-class household. My mum's side of the family is from Jamaica and Birmingham, my dad's family is from west London, where I grew up in a cooperative block of flats with cheap rent for the area. I went to Leeds University and got a BA but while undertaking my MA I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. Since then, I have only been able to work part-time, freelance, zero-hour or short-term contracted roles.

I currently live in a small flat with my partner. He moved to the UK from Romania a couple of years ago after we met on OkCupid in 2019. He gave up his job so we could move in together during the pandemic but I contracted COVID-19 a few days later and he had to spend the first month taking care of me. Since then, he's been on Universal Credit and is living off his savings while resurrecting a YouTube channel he used to make some money from and job searching. I have had pretty bad long COVID since August 2020 and I'm still waiting for NHS treatment. Luckily, my jobs are flexible and I can work from home fairly often. I don't feel able to go for a better paid position or take on more hours just yet because I am still a bit limited by my health. Before the pandemic I did have vague ideas about moving abroad but this would rely on my writing projects bearing financial fruit and sadly I haven't been able to make much progress on them because of the long COVID brain fog."

Occupation: Library assistant
Industry: Education
Age: 28
Location: Leeds
Salary: Just over £12,000
Paycheque amount: It ranges from £900 to £1,200 depending on the time of year (I work fewer hours in the summer).
Number of housemates: One, my partner R.

Monthly Expenses

Housing costs: £262.50 covers half the rent of our one-bedroom flat.
Utilities: £60 council tax, £12.50 Wi-Fi and £50 for bills.
Loan payments: None. Although I have a student loan, I’m not earning enough to pay it back.
Savings? Around £10,000 in a current account and something ridiculous like £30 in an ISA.
Pension status: I pay a defined contribution into a 'People’s Pension' plan, which is 3% of my salary.
All other monthly expenses: My phone bill is £20 and laptop insurance is £3.99.

Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I went to private school (I obtained a fully paid bursary place) and it was drummed into me that university was the logical next step. I was able to afford it without too much trouble due to a life-threatening accident I had, which resulted in getting £14,000 compensation. It paid me through uni and meant I didn't have to work much while I was studying or worry about how much I was spending on going out.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
Conversations about money were often sad, stressful disagreements. My mum was a single parent from when I was seven (although my dad did contribute to our expenses). My mum was often struggling for money, worrying about it and figuring out how to make ends meet. My sister and I would get upset when we couldn’t do or buy the same things as our friends. When I started private school, I was suddenly surrounded by people who never thought about or discussed money or the price of things because they were comfortably off, meaning I felt very out of place at times.

If you have, when did you move out of your parents' or guardians' house?
I briefly left home for a few months at 17, living in a friend's guesthouse and then at my grandparents'. I fully left at 18, when I went to university.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
At 18 I finally had access to my compensation money so I was able to budget to buy my own food, pay my uni rent, etc. When I became unwell in my early 20s and was too ill to work for weeks or even months at a time, my ex-partner paid some of the rent for a bit and covered some of my necessary expenses here and there. My dad is also currently paying for me to have a few weeks of low-cost counselling (£12.50 per session).

What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was working as a proofreader for a friend of a friend’s business. I got it as I was running through my compensation money quickly and I also wanted more work experience to put on my CV.

Do you worry about money now?
No, I don’t allow myself to anymore. The endless pursuit of having as much money as possible makes people unhappy and after all the horrendous mental health crises I’ve been through, I try not to stress over anything. Even though I’m not earning as much as I have the potential to, I have enough to live on and for that I’m grateful. I live a very self-contained, simple life and as long as I have what I need to pay rent and eat well, I’m happy.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
No.

<strong>Day One</strong><br><br>9am: I wake up, put marula oil on my skin and hair and massage my face. I then get up, drink some water and do a few simple stretches (R usually sleeps in until 12pm).<br><br>10am: I water the plants, finish off my book (<em>Lucy </em>by Jamaica Kincaid) and call my family. Afterwards I sit down and eat my daily muesli by the window before taking my blood oxygen levels to keep track of my long COVID symptoms. I then fill in my fatigue diary, take a peak flow meter reading and take all my supplements and prescription vitamin D. <br><br>11am: I have a bath, get dressed and take a slow walk to the library for work. I take a homemade sandwich for lunch which I wrap in plastic-free clingfilm.<br><br>6pm: Home time. I walk back, trying to breathe deeply as I go. I’m always trying to find time for breathing exercises to increase my lung capacity. My partner, R, is busy working on his YouTube channel, which he’s bringing back from the dead and trying to make a living from again. He mostly stays home and takes care of the house, particularly when my fatigue is bad. All of his friends either live in Sheffield or Romania, meaning he doesn't go out that much.<br><br>7pm: I have some dark chocolate-covered Brazil nuts, my only current sweet treat as I’m on a low sugar diet. For dinner we have quiche, steamed veggies, brie, chorizo and a simple salad. <br><br>8pm: I do some reading and writing and tidy up a bit. We decide to watch <em>Coded Bias</em> on Netflix (my friend gave me her password) and we chat for a little bit about AI ethics afterwards (these kinds of chats are always interesting as he’s a gamer while I’m a budding neo-Luddite). Afterwards we watch <em>Naruto</em>.<br><br>12am: I go to bed with a book, aiming to be asleep by midnight. R stays up late working on his YouTube videos and comes to sleep around 3am.<br><br><strong>Total: £0</strong>
Day One

9am: I wake up, put marula oil on my skin and hair and massage my face. I then get up, drink some water and do a few simple stretches (R usually sleeps in until 12pm).

10am: I water the plants, finish off my book (Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid) and call my family. Afterwards I sit down and eat my daily muesli by the window before taking my blood oxygen levels to keep track of my long COVID symptoms. I then fill in my fatigue diary, take a peak flow meter reading and take all my supplements and prescription vitamin D.

11am: I have a bath, get dressed and take a slow walk to the library for work. I take a homemade sandwich for lunch which I wrap in plastic-free clingfilm.

6pm: Home time. I walk back, trying to breathe deeply as I go. I’m always trying to find time for breathing exercises to increase my lung capacity. My partner, R, is busy working on his YouTube channel, which he’s bringing back from the dead and trying to make a living from again. He mostly stays home and takes care of the house, particularly when my fatigue is bad. All of his friends either live in Sheffield or Romania, meaning he doesn't go out that much.

7pm: I have some dark chocolate-covered Brazil nuts, my only current sweet treat as I’m on a low sugar diet. For dinner we have quiche, steamed veggies, brie, chorizo and a simple salad.

8pm: I do some reading and writing and tidy up a bit. We decide to watch Coded Bias on Netflix (my friend gave me her password) and we chat for a little bit about AI ethics afterwards (these kinds of chats are always interesting as he’s a gamer while I’m a budding neo-Luddite). Afterwards we watch Naruto.

12am: I go to bed with a book, aiming to be asleep by midnight. R stays up late working on his YouTube videos and comes to sleep around 3am.

Total: £0
<strong>Day Two </strong><br><br>9.30am: I wake up and watch a couple of YouTube videos (damn, I usually try to avoid looking at my phone first thing).<br><br>9.45am: I sit down to eat my muesli, do all my symptom tracking, take my vitamins and herbal remedies and have some lemon water. I feed the plants and then massage my face with coconut oil.<br><br>10am: I have a session of telephone counselling today with Leeds Mind. I’ve been having irregular counselling with various providers for a few months now, after a bad depression relapse six months ago. I have a good cry about my frustrations with not being able to see friends and family or take part in all the active hobbies I had before I got sick.<br><br>11am: I read some more of <em>The Age of Surveillance Capitalism</em> (the book that inspired me to reduce my screen time and stop using WhatsApp), do some breathing exercises and then call my mum.<br><br>11.40am: I have a bath with a few drops of lavender oil, get dressed, fix my hair and put on some Benecos eyeliner (the only makeup I wear nowadays). Then I grab my rucksack, put a Stoats bar in it for later and head to work. <br><br>1pm: Work is pretty quiet today. There aren’t many people about. I spend the afternoon answering queries on reception, checking work emails, tidying and shelving books.<br><br>6pm: I get home and cook a mushroom omelette on wholemeal toast for dinner. R tells me he picked up some pecorino cheese I can use so I give him £1.37 for my half.<br><br>7pm: I do a little of my free online aromatherapy course. I’m also taking a course about herbalism. It’s something I’ve become increasingly interested in over the pandemic as I have a community garden and some woods near my flat so even when I couldn’t walk far or it wasn’t safe to be indoors with others, I could always go out and identify some plants, or pick some herbs and fruit.<br><br>9pm: After reading for a couple of hours I sit on the living room floor with R and talk about life. I’m usually peckish in the evenings so I make some Weetabix and we watch a couple of <em>Naruto </em>episodes.<br><br>12am: Off to bed I go. As usual, R doesn’t come to bed until I’ve been asleep for a few hours, after a busy night editing.<br><br><strong>Total:</strong> <strong>£1.37</strong>
Day Two

9.30am: I wake up and watch a couple of YouTube videos (damn, I usually try to avoid looking at my phone first thing).

9.45am: I sit down to eat my muesli, do all my symptom tracking, take my vitamins and herbal remedies and have some lemon water. I feed the plants and then massage my face with coconut oil.

10am: I have a session of telephone counselling today with Leeds Mind. I’ve been having irregular counselling with various providers for a few months now, after a bad depression relapse six months ago. I have a good cry about my frustrations with not being able to see friends and family or take part in all the active hobbies I had before I got sick.

11am: I read some more of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism (the book that inspired me to reduce my screen time and stop using WhatsApp), do some breathing exercises and then call my mum.

11.40am: I have a bath with a few drops of lavender oil, get dressed, fix my hair and put on some Benecos eyeliner (the only makeup I wear nowadays). Then I grab my rucksack, put a Stoats bar in it for later and head to work.

1pm: Work is pretty quiet today. There aren’t many people about. I spend the afternoon answering queries on reception, checking work emails, tidying and shelving books.

6pm: I get home and cook a mushroom omelette on wholemeal toast for dinner. R tells me he picked up some pecorino cheese I can use so I give him £1.37 for my half.

7pm: I do a little of my free online aromatherapy course. I’m also taking a course about herbalism. It’s something I’ve become increasingly interested in over the pandemic as I have a community garden and some woods near my flat so even when I couldn’t walk far or it wasn’t safe to be indoors with others, I could always go out and identify some plants, or pick some herbs and fruit.

9pm: After reading for a couple of hours I sit on the living room floor with R and talk about life. I’m usually peckish in the evenings so I make some Weetabix and we watch a couple of Naruto episodes.

12am: Off to bed I go. As usual, R doesn’t come to bed until I’ve been asleep for a few hours, after a busy night editing.

Total: £1.37
<strong>Day Three</strong><br><br>10.30am: I get up and have natural peanut butter on brown seedy toast. Then comes the usual lemon water and supplements. I sit down and fill in my fatigue journal and blow into my peak flow meter. As usual, my scores align with an asthmatic. I was very physically active before COVID and now I can’t exercise as my resting heart rate is a lot higher and I get out of breath easily. <br><br>11am: I read some more of my book and water the plants. Then I have a quick bath, wash my face (with my usual Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser), get dressed and do my hair.<br><br>12.30pm: I begin my slow saunter to work (pacing and resting is a really important part of managing post-COVID fatigue syndrome). It’s quiet at work so I take a break and have a banana while I’m there.<br><br>6pm: When I get home, R is screen recording gameplay for his YouTube channel so I sit down to read until he’s done. Afterwards he cooks us broccoli pasta from a recipe we found on YouTube (he’s done the majority of the cooking and cleaning since I got sick last year). <br><br>7pm: I oil my hair and brush it out (I usually try to manipulate it as little as possible).<br><br>8pm: I read while R finishes uploading his video and then do a bit of Spanish practice. I’m trying to tune up my rusty language skills for future trips to Spanish-speaking countries. I use Memrise, a couple of study books and some old notes I have, as well as reading a bilingual book called <em>First Spanish Reader: A Beginner’s Dual-Language Book</em>.<br><br>10pm: I read out loud to R from <em>The Secret History of the World</em> by Jonathan Black. After that I text a few friends and then hop on my laptop and buy a 'kinky blow-out' weave from Natural Girl Wigs. I’ve been researching which one to buy for weeks and as this is my first non-synthetic bundle, it’s not cheap. The total comes to £108.55 including shipping (and that’s with a 15% off discount code) but I’m really excited to try it out.<br><br>1.30am: I go to bed after applying moisturiser (I’m often too tired to do any kind of PM skincare routine so this is as good as it gets) and plaiting up my hair.<br><br><strong>Total: £108.55</strong>
Day Three

10.30am: I get up and have natural peanut butter on brown seedy toast. Then comes the usual lemon water and supplements. I sit down and fill in my fatigue journal and blow into my peak flow meter. As usual, my scores align with an asthmatic. I was very physically active before COVID and now I can’t exercise as my resting heart rate is a lot higher and I get out of breath easily.

11am: I read some more of my book and water the plants. Then I have a quick bath, wash my face (with my usual Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser), get dressed and do my hair.

12.30pm: I begin my slow saunter to work (pacing and resting is a really important part of managing post-COVID fatigue syndrome). It’s quiet at work so I take a break and have a banana while I’m there.

6pm: When I get home, R is screen recording gameplay for his YouTube channel so I sit down to read until he’s done. Afterwards he cooks us broccoli pasta from a recipe we found on YouTube (he’s done the majority of the cooking and cleaning since I got sick last year).

7pm: I oil my hair and brush it out (I usually try to manipulate it as little as possible).

8pm: I read while R finishes uploading his video and then do a bit of Spanish practice. I’m trying to tune up my rusty language skills for future trips to Spanish-speaking countries. I use Memrise, a couple of study books and some old notes I have, as well as reading a bilingual book called First Spanish Reader: A Beginner’s Dual-Language Book.

10pm: I read out loud to R from The Secret History of the World by Jonathan Black. After that I text a few friends and then hop on my laptop and buy a 'kinky blow-out' weave from Natural Girl Wigs. I’ve been researching which one to buy for weeks and as this is my first non-synthetic bundle, it’s not cheap. The total comes to £108.55 including shipping (and that’s with a 15% off discount code) but I’m really excited to try it out.

1.30am: I go to bed after applying moisturiser (I’m often too tired to do any kind of PM skincare routine so this is as good as it gets) and plaiting up my hair.

Total: £108.55
<strong>Day Four </strong><br><br>9.30am: I wake up and put a cold spoon from the fridge over my eyelids to soothe the puffiness before massaging my face with coconut oil. <br><br>9.45am: I take my vitals, check my emails on my phone and have a quick look at R’s YouTube channel to see how his numbers are doing. After that I follow my usual routine of watering the plants, breakfast (Weetabix today) and taking supplements.<br> <br>10am: My chest doesn’t feel too good so I do some breathing exercises and make ginseng tea with honey, which helps a little.<br><br>10.30am: I read, then have a quick wash (including my very easy, two-step face care routine) and head to work.<br><br>5.30pm: R cooks me some mashed potatoes with carrots and boiled eggs for dinner. I get the feeling that a long COVID symptom flare-up is coming on so I decide to get into bed and rest.<br><br>7pm: I feel a bit better and I don't want to waste the energy so I drag R to Sainsbury's. This is a rare outing for us as we usually get our food delivered as we’re both super wary about being around crowds. I buy some eggs, quiche and dark chocolate. £4.50<br> <br>8pm: I read to R from <em>The Secret History of the World</em> while he lies on the sofa, occasionally interjecting with a comment or two.<br><br>10pm: I send an email to the long COVID clinic asking for an update on my physio before heading to sleep.<br><br><strong>Total: £4.50</strong>
Day Four

9.30am: I wake up and put a cold spoon from the fridge over my eyelids to soothe the puffiness before massaging my face with coconut oil.

9.45am: I take my vitals, check my emails on my phone and have a quick look at R’s YouTube channel to see how his numbers are doing. After that I follow my usual routine of watering the plants, breakfast (Weetabix today) and taking supplements.

10am: My chest doesn’t feel too good so I do some breathing exercises and make ginseng tea with honey, which helps a little.

10.30am: I read, then have a quick wash (including my very easy, two-step face care routine) and head to work.

5.30pm: R cooks me some mashed potatoes with carrots and boiled eggs for dinner. I get the feeling that a long COVID symptom flare-up is coming on so I decide to get into bed and rest.

7pm: I feel a bit better and I don't want to waste the energy so I drag R to Sainsbury's. This is a rare outing for us as we usually get our food delivered as we’re both super wary about being around crowds. I buy some eggs, quiche and dark chocolate. £4.50

8pm: I read to R from The Secret History of the World while he lies on the sofa, occasionally interjecting with a comment or two.

10pm: I send an email to the long COVID clinic asking for an update on my physio before heading to sleep.

Total: £4.50
<strong> Day Five</strong><br><br>4.30am: I can’t sleep as my body is sore and my chest doesn’t feel right; it's really tight and I’m having heart palpitations, which makes it hard to take deep breaths. I eventually fall into a restless slumber at an unusually late hour for me. <br><br>11.30am: I wake up later than usual so no time for my daily routine. I eat some rye bread and hummus, have a very quick basic sink bath, then douse myself in Salt of the Earth deodorant and perfume. I do the best I can with my hair. <br><br>12pm: R finally rises and we water the plants together (we’re growing tomatoes, Swiss chard, coriander, parsley, basil and tarragon in our flat) before I set off for work.<br><br>1pm: I eat some very dark chocolate that I grabbed as I made my way out of the door. Mercifully, work isn’t busy. I’m able to do what needs to be done without exhausting myself too much, although I feel a bit achy.<br><br>6pm: R cooks me more broccoli pasta while I record all the vitals I forgot to do this morning. I write in my fatigue journal, which I plan to show to the doctors once I start treatment for long COVID. <br><br>8pm: I watch a bit of YouTube with R (despite my burgeoning neo-Luddism, I make concessions so I can share in my partner's interests).<br><br>9pm: I lie on the sofa and read a little from <em>Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace by </em>Angel Williams<em>.</em> Eventually it becomes too exhausting to concentrate or hold the book up so I just lie there. R puts on some music while he starts making another YouTube video so I sit and listen.<br><br>11pm: I get into bed and message a few friends on Signal before heading to sleep.<br><br><strong>Total: £0</strong>
Day Five

4.30am: I can’t sleep as my body is sore and my chest doesn’t feel right; it's really tight and I’m having heart palpitations, which makes it hard to take deep breaths. I eventually fall into a restless slumber at an unusually late hour for me.

11.30am: I wake up later than usual so no time for my daily routine. I eat some rye bread and hummus, have a very quick basic sink bath, then douse myself in Salt of the Earth deodorant and perfume. I do the best I can with my hair.

12pm: R finally rises and we water the plants together (we’re growing tomatoes, Swiss chard, coriander, parsley, basil and tarragon in our flat) before I set off for work.

1pm: I eat some very dark chocolate that I grabbed as I made my way out of the door. Mercifully, work isn’t busy. I’m able to do what needs to be done without exhausting myself too much, although I feel a bit achy.

6pm: R cooks me more broccoli pasta while I record all the vitals I forgot to do this morning. I write in my fatigue journal, which I plan to show to the doctors once I start treatment for long COVID.

8pm: I watch a bit of YouTube with R (despite my burgeoning neo-Luddism, I make concessions so I can share in my partner's interests).

9pm: I lie on the sofa and read a little from Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace by Angel Williams. Eventually it becomes too exhausting to concentrate or hold the book up so I just lie there. R puts on some music while he starts making another YouTube video so I sit and listen.

11pm: I get into bed and message a few friends on Signal before heading to sleep.

Total: £0
<strong>Day Six</strong><br><br>7.30am: I’m up earlier today for work as I have longer shifts every other weekend. I eat some muesli and get dressed in a zombie-like state. <br><br>8.30am: I leave for work and take lunch with me (rye bread with hummus and sliced boiled eggs).<br><br>6pm: I’m knackered when I get back so decide to chill and call my mum. <br><br>7pm: Dinner tonight is a couple of packaged toasties that I got for free from work. This is a rare treat as we haven’t been eating out or getting takeaway food since May last year. It’s so nice not to have to cook. <br><br>7.30pm: I water the plants and write in my gratitude journal before reading for a bit.<br><br>8pm: I buy some stuff from Real Plastic Free. My share is garlic, a lemon, Stoats bars and 1kg of muesli. £7.99<br><br>8.30pm: I read aloud to R, which he finds very relaxing. I didn’t talk much or very loudly a few months ago when the depression and long COVID were hitting me hard so I like to think reading out loud helps my lungs a bit. <br><br>9.30pm: R watches YouTube while I eat Weetabix and glance over every so often.<br><br>12am: Bedtime.<br><br><strong>Total:</strong> <strong>£7.99</strong>
Day Six

7.30am: I’m up earlier today for work as I have longer shifts every other weekend. I eat some muesli and get dressed in a zombie-like state.

8.30am: I leave for work and take lunch with me (rye bread with hummus and sliced boiled eggs).

6pm: I’m knackered when I get back so decide to chill and call my mum.

7pm: Dinner tonight is a couple of packaged toasties that I got for free from work. This is a rare treat as we haven’t been eating out or getting takeaway food since May last year. It’s so nice not to have to cook.

7.30pm: I water the plants and write in my gratitude journal before reading for a bit.

8pm: I buy some stuff from Real Plastic Free. My share is garlic, a lemon, Stoats bars and 1kg of muesli. £7.99

8.30pm: I read aloud to R, which he finds very relaxing. I didn’t talk much or very loudly a few months ago when the depression and long COVID were hitting me hard so I like to think reading out loud helps my lungs a bit.

9.30pm: R watches YouTube while I eat Weetabix and glance over every so often.

12am: Bedtime.

Total: £7.99
<strong>Day Seven</strong><br><br>9am: No work today. I massage coconut oil onto my face, take my supplements, note down how my body is doing and water the plants. <br><br>10am: I sit down with a lemon water and read before making to-do lists for the following week.<br><br>10.30am: I make myself some rye bread and peanut butter.<br><br>11.30am: I read some more and write in my journal. I then message some people on Signal and call the bank.<br><br>2pm: I cook myself some scrambled eggs and eat them with the last of the hummus. We really need to do a shop soon, our meals are getting repetitive as we are running out of food. I’m missing rice and meat, plus the potato- and noodle-based dishes we typically eat. I usually eat a lot of lentils too, so I need to stock up. We typically do a big online shop every 14-18 days so I need to book this in ASAP. <br><br>2.20pm: R goes out for a walk so I take the time to ring a few friends. None of them lives in the same city as me and my health plus COVID restrictions mean I haven’t seen any of them IRL for close to two years.<br><br>3pm: I do a bit of Spanish practice before doing some writing. I’m working on an ever-growing list of side projects that are begging to be finished and submitted somewhere. In time, I'm also looking to revive my Upwork profile and get back into copywriting and proofreading, which I’ve done in the past.<br><br>6.30pm: R makes us broccoli pasta.<br><br>8pm: We settle down and watch <em>Vampires vs. the Bronx</em>. <br><br>9pm: I reflect on a very typical week. Next week I’ll be working from home (I usually do this one week out of every three). During those weeks I have more time to rest, to catch up on things I didn’t have the spoons to do during an ‘onsite week’ and spend a bit more time on breathing exercises. My mum and aunt are also due to visit so that’s exciting. Two of my close friends are also coming up from London and I’m planning lots of outdoor activities like walks and foraging (fingers crossed for good weather). I'm really happy to be doing more social things again. It has definitely been a struggle at times to have to forfeit frequent weekend trips and regular physical activity for the sake of this strange, under-researched illness.<br><br>10pm: I get an early night, leaving R to game online with his friends.<br><br><strong>Total: £0</strong>
Day Seven

9am: No work today. I massage coconut oil onto my face, take my supplements, note down how my body is doing and water the plants.

10am: I sit down with a lemon water and read before making to-do lists for the following week.

10.30am: I make myself some rye bread and peanut butter.

11.30am: I read some more and write in my journal. I then message some people on Signal and call the bank.

2pm: I cook myself some scrambled eggs and eat them with the last of the hummus. We really need to do a shop soon, our meals are getting repetitive as we are running out of food. I’m missing rice and meat, plus the potato- and noodle-based dishes we typically eat. I usually eat a lot of lentils too, so I need to stock up. We typically do a big online shop every 14-18 days so I need to book this in ASAP.

2.20pm: R goes out for a walk so I take the time to ring a few friends. None of them lives in the same city as me and my health plus COVID restrictions mean I haven’t seen any of them IRL for close to two years.

3pm: I do a bit of Spanish practice before doing some writing. I’m working on an ever-growing list of side projects that are begging to be finished and submitted somewhere. In time, I'm also looking to revive my Upwork profile and get back into copywriting and proofreading, which I’ve done in the past.

6.30pm: R makes us broccoli pasta.

8pm: We settle down and watch Vampires vs. the Bronx.

9pm: I reflect on a very typical week. Next week I’ll be working from home (I usually do this one week out of every three). During those weeks I have more time to rest, to catch up on things I didn’t have the spoons to do during an ‘onsite week’ and spend a bit more time on breathing exercises. My mum and aunt are also due to visit so that’s exciting. Two of my close friends are also coming up from London and I’m planning lots of outdoor activities like walks and foraging (fingers crossed for good weather). I'm really happy to be doing more social things again. It has definitely been a struggle at times to have to forfeit frequent weekend trips and regular physical activity for the sake of this strange, under-researched illness.

10pm: I get an early night, leaving R to game online with his friends.

Total: £0
<strong>The Breakdown</strong><br><br>Food & Drink: £13.86<br>Entertainment: £0<br>Clothes & Beauty: £108.55<br>Home & Health: £0<br>Travel: £0<br>Other: £0<br><br><strong>Total:</strong> <strong>£122.41</strong><br><br><strong>Conclusion</strong><br><br>"This is a very typical week for me – fairly monotonous and mostly spent at home resting. The pandemic has reduced the amount I spend on certain things as I haven’t been able to travel abroad or go out partying. After lockdown I stayed in the habit of not taking public transport and not going into the city centre, which has reduced the temptation to pop into a store and go window-shopping. I would say that over the past year, aside from bills and essentials, most of my money has gone on food and gifts for friends and family. Other than that, I just replace my toiletries when they run out, clothes when they break (although I try to darn and repurpose what I can) and any homeware stuff that’s needed is usually bought secondhand and split between R and me. I do allow myself some luxuries, which could be special food or drink for an occasion, things for my hair, seeds, some herbal remedies, vitamins or essential oils, the odd book, zine or blank journal (although I mostly just take books out of the library where I work). I also donate to charity when I can. I’m okay with where I’m at spending-wise, although I know that as I start visiting friends and family again my spending will increase as I will buy train tickets. I also need to keep an eye on how much I buy online. I would like to be saving more money than I am so I hope that when my health is better under control, I will get a full-time job that will allow me to do that."
The Breakdown

Food & Drink: £13.86
Entertainment: £0
Clothes & Beauty: £108.55
Home & Health: £0
Travel: £0
Other: £0

Total: £122.41

Conclusion

"This is a very typical week for me – fairly monotonous and mostly spent at home resting. The pandemic has reduced the amount I spend on certain things as I haven’t been able to travel abroad or go out partying. After lockdown I stayed in the habit of not taking public transport and not going into the city centre, which has reduced the temptation to pop into a store and go window-shopping. I would say that over the past year, aside from bills and essentials, most of my money has gone on food and gifts for friends and family. Other than that, I just replace my toiletries when they run out, clothes when they break (although I try to darn and repurpose what I can) and any homeware stuff that’s needed is usually bought secondhand and split between R and me. I do allow myself some luxuries, which could be special food or drink for an occasion, things for my hair, seeds, some herbal remedies, vitamins or essential oils, the odd book, zine or blank journal (although I mostly just take books out of the library where I work). I also donate to charity when I can. I’m okay with where I’m at spending-wise, although I know that as I start visiting friends and family again my spending will increase as I will buy train tickets. I also need to keep an eye on how much I buy online. I would like to be saving more money than I am so I hope that when my health is better under control, I will get a full-time job that will allow me to do that."

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