Money Diary: A Charity Worker On 50k Being Made Redundant In Brighton

Anonymous
·28-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 work for a small education charity, with responsibility for holding the relationships with partners, funders and donors. After a blistering six months of stress, worry and long days at a laptop, I am being made redundant from my role as our organisation is sadly closing down due to the impact of COVID-19 on funding and the sector.

After a decade of renting in London, earlier this year I bought my own flat and relocated to the coast (couldn’t be happier about the timing of being by the sea during lockdown). I had financial support from my family and I know I was very fortunate to have some inheritance to enable me to have a deposit to buy on my own. I have progressed in my current organisation to a senior role which meant my salary helped get me the mortgage I needed.

Having always lived with close friends it has been a huge adjustment to solo living. There are many amazing perks to having my own space completely to myself but wow, lockdown was incredibly challenging and I felt very alone and overwhelmed on a daily basis. Fortunately I met some wonderful neighbours during that time, and had two friends within walking distance that I could meet for doorstep coffees.

As of mid-October I will be unemployed and I am very worried financially for my future (job hunting in the charity sector during a recession – yay). I have taken a mortgage holiday for three months, analysed my savings (I have around three months' living costs to fall back on), cleaned out my direct debits and completed a balance transfer from a credit card to a new interest-free one. All in preparation for the worst-case scenario of longer term unemployment than my redundancy pay will cover."

Industry: Charity sector
Age: 34
Location: East Sussex
Salary: £50,000
Paycheque amount: £2,754 after tax, NI, student loan and employee pension scheme
Number of housemates: None

Monthly Expenses

Housing costs: Mortgage is £730 a month, ground rent £150 a year and service charge £1,650 a year.
Loan payments: £100 a month to a credit card that has around £2,000 on (a build-up of purchases from the last two years such as flights, some small furniture for the flat, big food shops etc), £200 a month student loan repayment which comes straight out of my paycheque.
Utilities: Gas/electricity is currently £28 a month with Bulb, this will go up a bit once I cave in and start putting the heating on for winter. Council tax is £114 a month, water £25, internet £17.99, TV licence £12.
Transportation: None. I was commuting four days a week pre-pandemic and it was costing me around £400 a month so that’s been a huge saving. I walk or cycle everywhere that I need to get to where I live.
Phone bill: £37 a month. For years I have been meaning to move to a SIM only contract so I aim to sort this out in the next few months.
Savings? £6,300 in a flexible ISA. I have been able to save around £800 a month since lockdown, mainly due to no travel costs and, of course, no socialising. This is a lifesaver given my impending unemployment but has also opened my eyes to how much I spent on small regular purchases like coffee, lunches and impromptu after-work drinks. I use Monzo for my weekly spending (everything other than bills) and have the round-up pot. I try to live off £100 a week but honestly there is usually at least one £30+ purchase that I use my current account for which is a lazy habit and skews my spending budgets.
Other: Contact lenses £14 a month, Netflix £5.99 (soon to be cancelled, am looking for someone’s account to tag onto please!), Amazon Prime £7.99 (soon to be cancelled), home insurance £20, Spotify £9.99 (debating whether to cancel but I hate adverts and love my downloadable playlists so we will see).

<strong>Day One </strong><br><br>6.15am: Radio alarm goes off. I turn my phone off every night and it’s probably the best habit I have. Am shocked that it’s pitch black (not my usual wake-up time as you can tell). Am going to the gym with a friend, I got a £5 monthly pass for a trial so am trying to test out as many classes as possible to see if I want to commit. I probably won’t due to lack of job soon but exercise is incredibly important to my mental and physical health and I did get a bit of Joe Wicks fatigue during lockdown so am keen to make the most of in-person exercise again. <br> <br>8am: Home and showered, make a coffee and remember it’s payday so do some moving and shaking of finances. Put £730 into my ISA, which would have been my mortgage repayment. My plan is to put away what I would have repaid each month so I have enough available to comfortably pay January, February and March’s amounts. Accessing the holiday will increase my monthly repayments by £10 but for the financial buffer right now it feels worth it on balance. Put £800 also into ISA, which is my savings for the month, move £150 into my Monzo (decided to increase my weekly spend budget to allow for some train travel at the weekend and upcoming friends' birthdays). Pay for four weeks of yoga classes (£60) – have found an amazing class near me which after just a few weeks has started to transform my back, which has not enjoyed six months of working from home at a less than suitable desk set-up.<br> <br>8.30am: Log onto work emails. It’s a very strange time as we are deep into wind-down of the organisation and my last working day is in a week and a half. I have only two emails and no internal messages. I have been through the full cycle of anger, denial, sadness etc. ever since I found out my organisation was shutting down. Having worked without a break during the lockdown period I think I am going to have a lot of processing to do so have taken the plunge and booked my first ever therapy session through my work EAP (employee assistance programme), which I will luckily have access to for a few more months. Decide to make a start on my money diary and have a breakfast of Greek yoghurt, almonds, fruit and seeds.<br> <br>12.30pm: Finished my calls for the morning, wrote up some meeting notes and am taking a long lunch break. Am trying to make sure I still go out for a daily walk to break the day up and take in some fresh air. It looks like the heavens are about to open so dash out before the rain comes. Lunch is a chicken salad made with a lot of leftovers from the weekend. Finish watching <em>The Social Dilemma</em> on Netflix and promptly turn off my WhatsApp notifications.<br> <br>4pm: Slow and quiet afternoon with just one meeting to review our closedown checklists. I cannot get my head around this change from just a month ago when my workload was demanding, intense, challenging and all-consuming. Suddenly remember to pay a friend back for a Deliveroo lunch we had last week, transfer £14.<br> <br>6pm: Had a wave of anxiety hit and suddenly feel quite sad and low for the future. The prospect of an evening alone in the flat feels a bit much so I text my downstairs neighbour, C, and ask her up for dinner. She arrives bearing red wine and all the ingredients for a feast of veggie sausages, kale, mushrooms and cauliflower mash with gravy. We have a good offload to each other, a little cry and lots of laughter. This wonderful woman has been my lifesaver since I moved here and I am so grateful to have an incredible friend on my doorstep.<br> <br>9.30pm: We are both exhausted so C leaves and I head to bed. I don’t fall asleep quickly usually and this is no exception; after reading <em>Stylist</em> magazine I turn off the light and when I do eventually doze off, I wake at midnight to rain lashing against my window. I am a seriously light sleeper but lockdown has given me a new habit of waking up in the middle of the night (usually around 3-4am) so this also happens and it’s just generally a rubbish night of disturbed sleep.<br> <br><strong>Total: £74</strong>
Day One

6.15am: Radio alarm goes off. I turn my phone off every night and it’s probably the best habit I have. Am shocked that it’s pitch black (not my usual wake-up time as you can tell). Am going to the gym with a friend, I got a £5 monthly pass for a trial so am trying to test out as many classes as possible to see if I want to commit. I probably won’t due to lack of job soon but exercise is incredibly important to my mental and physical health and I did get a bit of Joe Wicks fatigue during lockdown so am keen to make the most of in-person exercise again.

8am: Home and showered, make a coffee and remember it’s payday so do some moving and shaking of finances. Put £730 into my ISA, which would have been my mortgage repayment. My plan is to put away what I would have repaid each month so I have enough available to comfortably pay January, February and March’s amounts. Accessing the holiday will increase my monthly repayments by £10 but for the financial buffer right now it feels worth it on balance. Put £800 also into ISA, which is my savings for the month, move £150 into my Monzo (decided to increase my weekly spend budget to allow for some train travel at the weekend and upcoming friends' birthdays). Pay for four weeks of yoga classes (£60) – have found an amazing class near me which after just a few weeks has started to transform my back, which has not enjoyed six months of working from home at a less than suitable desk set-up.

8.30am: Log onto work emails. It’s a very strange time as we are deep into wind-down of the organisation and my last working day is in a week and a half. I have only two emails and no internal messages. I have been through the full cycle of anger, denial, sadness etc. ever since I found out my organisation was shutting down. Having worked without a break during the lockdown period I think I am going to have a lot of processing to do so have taken the plunge and booked my first ever therapy session through my work EAP (employee assistance programme), which I will luckily have access to for a few more months. Decide to make a start on my money diary and have a breakfast of Greek yoghurt, almonds, fruit and seeds.

12.30pm: Finished my calls for the morning, wrote up some meeting notes and am taking a long lunch break. Am trying to make sure I still go out for a daily walk to break the day up and take in some fresh air. It looks like the heavens are about to open so dash out before the rain comes. Lunch is a chicken salad made with a lot of leftovers from the weekend. Finish watching The Social Dilemma on Netflix and promptly turn off my WhatsApp notifications.

4pm: Slow and quiet afternoon with just one meeting to review our closedown checklists. I cannot get my head around this change from just a month ago when my workload was demanding, intense, challenging and all-consuming. Suddenly remember to pay a friend back for a Deliveroo lunch we had last week, transfer £14.

6pm: Had a wave of anxiety hit and suddenly feel quite sad and low for the future. The prospect of an evening alone in the flat feels a bit much so I text my downstairs neighbour, C, and ask her up for dinner. She arrives bearing red wine and all the ingredients for a feast of veggie sausages, kale, mushrooms and cauliflower mash with gravy. We have a good offload to each other, a little cry and lots of laughter. This wonderful woman has been my lifesaver since I moved here and I am so grateful to have an incredible friend on my doorstep.

9.30pm: We are both exhausted so C leaves and I head to bed. I don’t fall asleep quickly usually and this is no exception; after reading Stylist magazine I turn off the light and when I do eventually doze off, I wake at midnight to rain lashing against my window. I am a seriously light sleeper but lockdown has given me a new habit of waking up in the middle of the night (usually around 3-4am) so this also happens and it’s just generally a rubbish night of disturbed sleep.

Total: £74
<strong>Day Two</strong><br> <br>6.40am: Hmm do not need to be awake at this time and yet here I am. Put a podcast on (an episode of <em>SmartLess</em> with Maya Rudolph) and listen for an hour before making a coffee and taking it back into bed. <br> <br>9am: Work through some financials and legal pieces for a few hours, am still in bed and in pyjamas. I promise I haven’t done this level of ‘bed WFH’ the entirety of lockdown so it feels pretty novel. Pause to make a breakfast of poached eggs on toast as am suddenly ravenous. I’ve recently started using the Olio app, people in your local area can list food items they no longer need/want for free collection and several local businesses use it also. In the past week I’ve picked up several loaves of amazing bread from a local bakery, I slice them and freeze so there is a stock of delicious toast to hand. I have also just signed up to a fruit/veg box service, I’ve got some discounts to trial so only paid £2.99 for my first box, which arrives tomorrow – am excited to cook with different ingredients outside of the vegetable rut I find myself in.<br> <br>11.30am: I decide to shower, make a coffee and go for a walk to shake off the cobwebs and reboot a little. Have devoured so many podcasts during walks over the past few months, current favourites are: <em>I Weigh, Griefcast, Armchair Expert</em> and <em>Growing up with gal-dem.</em><br> <br>1pm: Do some file sorting and clearing and prep some handover emails for the colleagues who are remaining in post a little while longer than I am before stopping for lunch. Decide to clean the flat first as I find it hugely therapeutic and am going to be away for the weekend and will appreciate coming back to a clean home. A solid hoover, polish and kitchen/bathroom session and am ready to reheat some chilli I got out the freezer last night. Watch an old episode of <em>Sherlock</em> while eating; am enjoying the opportunity to relive Andrew Scott as Moriarty and now all I want to do is rewatch <em>Fleabag.</em><br> <br>3.30pm: Have final work call of the day and am finished up by 4.30pm. I spend a solid hour researching curtains for my living room. My flat is a Victorian conversion with gigantic sash windows which means the winter is very cold in the flat and I am determined to invest properly in some heating solutions. I have loved the nesting part of buying my own flat and have a long list of things I want to do over the years to make it as cosy and ‘me’ as possible. A lot of these will now take a back seat until I am financially stable again but the curtains are a priority for now.<br> <br>5.45pm: Cycle to yoga, it’s only 10 minutes away and downhill so a pretty pleasant journey. The class is incredibly challenging this week (full moon). I do Iyengar yoga which is vital for my back as I have always had shoulder aches and lower back pain from numerous injuries over the years. Although I continued with yoga classes on Zoom during lockdown, having in-person teaching is just a completely different experience and I can feel my body working hard and improving again. <br> <br>8pm: Home from yoga, it was uphill and raining so get in and make some comforting peanut butter on toast, speak to a friend on the phone and get into bed early doors to watch another episode of <em>Sherlock </em>while the wind and rain batter my windows.<br> <br><strong>Total: £0</strong>
Day Two

6.40am: Hmm do not need to be awake at this time and yet here I am. Put a podcast on (an episode of SmartLess with Maya Rudolph) and listen for an hour before making a coffee and taking it back into bed.

9am: Work through some financials and legal pieces for a few hours, am still in bed and in pyjamas. I promise I haven’t done this level of ‘bed WFH’ the entirety of lockdown so it feels pretty novel. Pause to make a breakfast of poached eggs on toast as am suddenly ravenous. I’ve recently started using the Olio app, people in your local area can list food items they no longer need/want for free collection and several local businesses use it also. In the past week I’ve picked up several loaves of amazing bread from a local bakery, I slice them and freeze so there is a stock of delicious toast to hand. I have also just signed up to a fruit/veg box service, I’ve got some discounts to trial so only paid £2.99 for my first box, which arrives tomorrow – am excited to cook with different ingredients outside of the vegetable rut I find myself in.

11.30am: I decide to shower, make a coffee and go for a walk to shake off the cobwebs and reboot a little. Have devoured so many podcasts during walks over the past few months, current favourites are: I Weigh, Griefcast, Armchair Expert and Growing up with gal-dem.

1pm: Do some file sorting and clearing and prep some handover emails for the colleagues who are remaining in post a little while longer than I am before stopping for lunch. Decide to clean the flat first as I find it hugely therapeutic and am going to be away for the weekend and will appreciate coming back to a clean home. A solid hoover, polish and kitchen/bathroom session and am ready to reheat some chilli I got out the freezer last night. Watch an old episode of Sherlock while eating; am enjoying the opportunity to relive Andrew Scott as Moriarty and now all I want to do is rewatch Fleabag.

3.30pm: Have final work call of the day and am finished up by 4.30pm. I spend a solid hour researching curtains for my living room. My flat is a Victorian conversion with gigantic sash windows which means the winter is very cold in the flat and I am determined to invest properly in some heating solutions. I have loved the nesting part of buying my own flat and have a long list of things I want to do over the years to make it as cosy and ‘me’ as possible. A lot of these will now take a back seat until I am financially stable again but the curtains are a priority for now.

5.45pm: Cycle to yoga, it’s only 10 minutes away and downhill so a pretty pleasant journey. The class is incredibly challenging this week (full moon). I do Iyengar yoga which is vital for my back as I have always had shoulder aches and lower back pain from numerous injuries over the years. Although I continued with yoga classes on Zoom during lockdown, having in-person teaching is just a completely different experience and I can feel my body working hard and improving again.

8pm: Home from yoga, it was uphill and raining so get in and make some comforting peanut butter on toast, speak to a friend on the phone and get into bed early doors to watch another episode of Sherlock while the wind and rain batter my windows.

Total: £0
<strong>Day Three </strong><br> <br>7.30am: Wake up naturally. Am happy to have slept through the night given the noise from the storm outside, it’s likely the combination of yoga and remembering to actually use earplugs. Realise my veg box will have been delivered overnight and picture a sodden, soggy state so run downstairs and open the front door to find it wrapped and safe and sound. Excitedly open it and find kale, broccoli, cabbage, salad leaves, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, tomatoes, satsumas, apples and grapes. Very pleased with this and look forward to trying some new recipes I wouldn’t normally make. Go to make a coffee and realise I have no milk; text my neighbour C and she delivers with a cup of oat milk – this is how incredible she is. We have saved each other on many occasions with emergency coffee/milk/wine over the last few months and it gives me such a warm feeling inside.<br><br>8.30am: I shower and start throwing some things onto my bed to pack for the weekend. Am going to my mum’s house for the first time since January. I have seen my family once since then, when they came down to visit for a day in August, so am really looking forward to it. One of my best friends will be in the same town for the weekend, so should be a lovely weekend of catching up. The only spanner in the works is my mum actually had surgery this week, all last minute, so unlikely she will be out of hospital and of course no visitors at the moment. <br><br>9.30am: Have taken a half day due to getting the train this afternoon so fire off a few emails and wait for a team catch-up call. Otherwise it’s very slow and quiet on the work front so I finish packing and make breakfast of yoghurt, fruit and nuts. Remember to reschedule an eyebrow wax I had booked in for this afternoon before making plans to go home, I last had them done mid March so this is getting pretty dire now. <br><br>11am: I text my friend who lives close by as I have some kitchen items I borrowed recently to return to her. She is on her way back from the park with her toddler so I go to meet her for a quick walk and talk. After, I treat myself to a coffee, it’s £2.90 but Monzo rounds up to £3. Get a message from Mum saying she’s been out of bed and standing up with the physio so making good progress so far.<br><br>12.30pm: Have a very heartwarming yet sad final team call with two colleagues who are finishing today. We mainly reminisce and go through some photos of happier times. It’s yet another weird part of the times we are in that situations like this don’t get the type of closure we would normally experience through leaving drinks/team lunch etc. Given all we have been through together I know we will be keeping in touch but it feels very sad in the moment that our work is ending this way.<br><br>1.30pm: Make a quick lunch of scrambled eggs and avocado as getting the train shortly. Pre-lockdown me would have splurged on a Pret lunch for the train journey; post-lockdown me is channelling frugality plus I know I will be spending a fair amount this weekend. Look up trains and buy open return ticket for £37.<br><br>2.30pm: Walk down to the station, manage to avoid the heavy rain for the short stroll. Don mask as I enter, it feels relatively ‘busy’ but the train has plenty of empty seats. I wonder if it will ever be acceptable to sit next to a stranger on public transport again. Two changes and two hours later and I get to my hometown. My aunt kindly picks me up and we head to the pub for a drink and catch-up.<br><br>6pm: Getting used to new rules about wearing a mask every time you get up from the table in the pub. Part of me is a big fan of table service only and no longer waiting at the bar for a drink but I also feel nostalgic for the days of elbowing your way through a packed crowd, sigh. We have two drinks each and split the cost, £11 for my share. I say goodbye to my aunt and walk down to my best friend's house, am beyond excited to see her and her family properly.<br><br>7.30pm: Several glasses of prosecco and despite the lack of the usual hugs and kisses and being careful with distance it feels like a typical gathering. This is such a boost after the past few months of work. They have cooked an incredible dinner and we move onto red wine, followed by crumble. It’s officially autumn.<br><br>10pm: Still on the red wine, am being a wise woman and drinking copious amounts of water in between as I have developed a fear of hangovers since moving into my 30s. Fall into bed at 11pm and sleep quite deeply (thank you, wine).<br> <br><strong>Total: £51</strong>
Day Three

7.30am: Wake up naturally. Am happy to have slept through the night given the noise from the storm outside, it’s likely the combination of yoga and remembering to actually use earplugs. Realise my veg box will have been delivered overnight and picture a sodden, soggy state so run downstairs and open the front door to find it wrapped and safe and sound. Excitedly open it and find kale, broccoli, cabbage, salad leaves, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, tomatoes, satsumas, apples and grapes. Very pleased with this and look forward to trying some new recipes I wouldn’t normally make. Go to make a coffee and realise I have no milk; text my neighbour C and she delivers with a cup of oat milk – this is how incredible she is. We have saved each other on many occasions with emergency coffee/milk/wine over the last few months and it gives me such a warm feeling inside.

8.30am: I shower and start throwing some things onto my bed to pack for the weekend. Am going to my mum’s house for the first time since January. I have seen my family once since then, when they came down to visit for a day in August, so am really looking forward to it. One of my best friends will be in the same town for the weekend, so should be a lovely weekend of catching up. The only spanner in the works is my mum actually had surgery this week, all last minute, so unlikely she will be out of hospital and of course no visitors at the moment.

9.30am: Have taken a half day due to getting the train this afternoon so fire off a few emails and wait for a team catch-up call. Otherwise it’s very slow and quiet on the work front so I finish packing and make breakfast of yoghurt, fruit and nuts. Remember to reschedule an eyebrow wax I had booked in for this afternoon before making plans to go home, I last had them done mid March so this is getting pretty dire now.

11am: I text my friend who lives close by as I have some kitchen items I borrowed recently to return to her. She is on her way back from the park with her toddler so I go to meet her for a quick walk and talk. After, I treat myself to a coffee, it’s £2.90 but Monzo rounds up to £3. Get a message from Mum saying she’s been out of bed and standing up with the physio so making good progress so far.

12.30pm: Have a very heartwarming yet sad final team call with two colleagues who are finishing today. We mainly reminisce and go through some photos of happier times. It’s yet another weird part of the times we are in that situations like this don’t get the type of closure we would normally experience through leaving drinks/team lunch etc. Given all we have been through together I know we will be keeping in touch but it feels very sad in the moment that our work is ending this way.

1.30pm: Make a quick lunch of scrambled eggs and avocado as getting the train shortly. Pre-lockdown me would have splurged on a Pret lunch for the train journey; post-lockdown me is channelling frugality plus I know I will be spending a fair amount this weekend. Look up trains and buy open return ticket for £37.

2.30pm: Walk down to the station, manage to avoid the heavy rain for the short stroll. Don mask as I enter, it feels relatively ‘busy’ but the train has plenty of empty seats. I wonder if it will ever be acceptable to sit next to a stranger on public transport again. Two changes and two hours later and I get to my hometown. My aunt kindly picks me up and we head to the pub for a drink and catch-up.

6pm: Getting used to new rules about wearing a mask every time you get up from the table in the pub. Part of me is a big fan of table service only and no longer waiting at the bar for a drink but I also feel nostalgic for the days of elbowing your way through a packed crowd, sigh. We have two drinks each and split the cost, £11 for my share. I say goodbye to my aunt and walk down to my best friend's house, am beyond excited to see her and her family properly.

7.30pm: Several glasses of prosecco and despite the lack of the usual hugs and kisses and being careful with distance it feels like a typical gathering. This is such a boost after the past few months of work. They have cooked an incredible dinner and we move onto red wine, followed by crumble. It’s officially autumn.

10pm: Still on the red wine, am being a wise woman and drinking copious amounts of water in between as I have developed a fear of hangovers since moving into my 30s. Fall into bed at 11pm and sleep quite deeply (thank you, wine).

Total: £51
<strong>Day Four </strong><br> <br>9.15am: Wake up and immediately look for signs of a sore head, am in the clear wahoo. Shower and have breakfast of porridge and berries. Am meeting my aunt mid-morning to potter around the local charity shops so take my time getting ready and enjoying the fact it’s the weekend.<br> <br>11.30am: We walk to the local shops, which takes around 20 minutes. The weather is dreadful but it’s so refreshing to be outside and where I grew up is very green and rural so am enjoying the change up from my usual city-by-the-sea environment. Buy a gin-scented hand sanitiser spray from my favourite charity shop (£4). It smells surprisingly nice which is a bonus as my reason for buying it was just that I didn’t see any books I wanted. I absolutely love pharmacies so make a stop in one to browse the cosmetics and buy two Mavala nail polishes, a raspberry colour and a top coat fixer, £11.<br> <br>1.30pm: We are getting hungry so check the local café which is quiet and has plenty of empty tables. Message Mum while we sit to let her know we are in her favourite lunch spot, am sure she will truly appreciate this while she navigates the hospital food over the next few days. Have pea and bacon soup and it’s delicious, plus it comes with the obligatory slabs of bread and butter. My aunt kindly pays as her treat and we slowly walk home.<br> <br>3.30pm: Get back home and decide to do some preparation for when Mum comes out of hospital, this includes cleaning the bathroom and doing a general tidy up. There will be family members around to help when she’s home but I feel a bit better having done something.<br> <br>4.30pm: Put a film on (<em>Death Becomes Her</em>) and get cosy for the rest of the afternoon. Have some messages back and forth from Mum who is making good progress following the operation and will hopefully be discharged early next week. I am grateful she is doing well and while we can’t visit her, this experience is nothing compared to the thousands of people who can’t see family members who are in hospital long-term or seriously ill.<br> <br>6pm: We get peckish, talk turns to dinner options and it’s curry vs pub food vs pizza. Curry wins. Spend ages looking at the menu (this is a place I have ordered from so many times before) and unsurprisingly end up ordering my usual of chicken shashlik, sag paneer and a naan. I volunteer to go and collect it once ready and I pay (£33) but the others will pay me back so is only £11 each.<br> <br>8pm: Feel very full and decamp to the sofa for an evening of TV. Browse Saturday night options and remember why I rarely watch live TV anymore. Revert to Netflix and devour some more <em>Sherlock.</em><br> <br>11pm: Can’t keep my eyes open so head to bed, find some fancy-looking products in the bathroom for my face. I put a podcast on to listen to and set a 15-minute timer. I try to only fall asleep listening to podcasts once or twice a week as otherwise I will quickly depend on it but there’s heavy rain against the window so this works better for my sleep ability.<br> <br><strong>Total: £48 (£22 due back from family for curry)</strong>
Day Four

9.15am: Wake up and immediately look for signs of a sore head, am in the clear wahoo. Shower and have breakfast of porridge and berries. Am meeting my aunt mid-morning to potter around the local charity shops so take my time getting ready and enjoying the fact it’s the weekend.

11.30am: We walk to the local shops, which takes around 20 minutes. The weather is dreadful but it’s so refreshing to be outside and where I grew up is very green and rural so am enjoying the change up from my usual city-by-the-sea environment. Buy a gin-scented hand sanitiser spray from my favourite charity shop (£4). It smells surprisingly nice which is a bonus as my reason for buying it was just that I didn’t see any books I wanted. I absolutely love pharmacies so make a stop in one to browse the cosmetics and buy two Mavala nail polishes, a raspberry colour and a top coat fixer, £11.

1.30pm: We are getting hungry so check the local café which is quiet and has plenty of empty tables. Message Mum while we sit to let her know we are in her favourite lunch spot, am sure she will truly appreciate this while she navigates the hospital food over the next few days. Have pea and bacon soup and it’s delicious, plus it comes with the obligatory slabs of bread and butter. My aunt kindly pays as her treat and we slowly walk home.

3.30pm: Get back home and decide to do some preparation for when Mum comes out of hospital, this includes cleaning the bathroom and doing a general tidy up. There will be family members around to help when she’s home but I feel a bit better having done something.

4.30pm: Put a film on (Death Becomes Her) and get cosy for the rest of the afternoon. Have some messages back and forth from Mum who is making good progress following the operation and will hopefully be discharged early next week. I am grateful she is doing well and while we can’t visit her, this experience is nothing compared to the thousands of people who can’t see family members who are in hospital long-term or seriously ill.

6pm: We get peckish, talk turns to dinner options and it’s curry vs pub food vs pizza. Curry wins. Spend ages looking at the menu (this is a place I have ordered from so many times before) and unsurprisingly end up ordering my usual of chicken shashlik, sag paneer and a naan. I volunteer to go and collect it once ready and I pay (£33) but the others will pay me back so is only £11 each.

8pm: Feel very full and decamp to the sofa for an evening of TV. Browse Saturday night options and remember why I rarely watch live TV anymore. Revert to Netflix and devour some more Sherlock.

11pm: Can’t keep my eyes open so head to bed, find some fancy-looking products in the bathroom for my face. I put a podcast on to listen to and set a 15-minute timer. I try to only fall asleep listening to podcasts once or twice a week as otherwise I will quickly depend on it but there’s heavy rain against the window so this works better for my sleep ability.

Total: £48 (£22 due back from family for curry)
<strong>Day Five</strong><br> <br>7.30am: Again, do not need to be wide awake at this time on the weekend. Give in and make a cup of tea to take back to bed and watch an episode of <em>Jane the Virgin</em>. It’s still raining.<br> <br>9am: Can hear people milling around the house so get up and head downstairs. Rummage in the kitchen for inspiration and find two lonely eggs so make poached eggs on toast. <br> <br>10am: We watch a bit of the London ‘Virtual’ Marathon. I have so much admiration for the creativity in encouraging so many people to run a marathon in their local area and bringing the stories together. Given my organisation's situation, I am acutely aware of the dire need for fundraising from mass participation events so I find it quite heartwarming to know many charities will benefit from this after a long summer of no events.<br> <br>12pm: My friend is driving me to the train station so I head to her house and we have lunch before heading off.<br> <br>3pm: Wait on a cold and wet platform for the train back to the coast. Call a friend for a catch-up and spend the rest of the journey watching <em>Jane the Virgin.</em><br> <br>4.30pm: Home sweet home. I unpack and put a wash on and hand-wash the masks I’ve used over the weekend. Notice just how many apples I got in my veg box the other day so am inspired to make a crumble. While it’s cooking I decide to do a dance workout, there are so many great ones on YouTube and I’m in the mood to throw myself around. I got into these during a particularly stressful work week and find them totally therapeutic and a brilliant way to change my mood completely.<br> <br>5.30pm: Run a bath and have a <em>Vanity Fair</em> to read. I got a 12-month subscription a few months ago for just £12, I have always loved reading magazines so it’s a total treat to get one through the door every month.<br> <br>6.30pm: While making dinner of fishcake and salad I check the Olio app and see the local bakery has various items. I request a large brown sourdough loaf and pop out to collect, it’s only a few roads away and completely worth the wet and windy trip for free bread. This gets sliced and put into the freezer. At this rate with the app I will never need to buy bread again. I make a shopping list for tomorrow as am out of some basics.<br> <br>8pm: Settle down to watch an Agatha Christie on TV and eat some of the apple crumble. I feel so refreshed for having been away for the weekend, it’s been amazing to spend time with family and see my friend. With the uncertainty of a winter lockdown I want to make the most of being able to safely see friends and family.<br> <br>10.30pm: Get ready for bed, including a double cleanse as I have worn a mask a lot over the past three days for long durations and I want to scrub my face clean. Make a hot water bottle as I determined not to crack and put the heating on just yet, plus have a boiler service coming up and although I am a grown woman and a homeowner I am scared of the boiler (the first time I had to adjust the pressure gauge was an ordeal). I read for about 20 minutes. I've started a new book (<em>Where the Crawdads Sing</em>) but am so tired the words are blurring.<br> <br><strong>Total: £0</strong>
Day Five

7.30am: Again, do not need to be wide awake at this time on the weekend. Give in and make a cup of tea to take back to bed and watch an episode of Jane the Virgin. It’s still raining.

9am: Can hear people milling around the house so get up and head downstairs. Rummage in the kitchen for inspiration and find two lonely eggs so make poached eggs on toast.

10am: We watch a bit of the London ‘Virtual’ Marathon. I have so much admiration for the creativity in encouraging so many people to run a marathon in their local area and bringing the stories together. Given my organisation's situation, I am acutely aware of the dire need for fundraising from mass participation events so I find it quite heartwarming to know many charities will benefit from this after a long summer of no events.

12pm: My friend is driving me to the train station so I head to her house and we have lunch before heading off.

3pm: Wait on a cold and wet platform for the train back to the coast. Call a friend for a catch-up and spend the rest of the journey watching Jane the Virgin.

4.30pm: Home sweet home. I unpack and put a wash on and hand-wash the masks I’ve used over the weekend. Notice just how many apples I got in my veg box the other day so am inspired to make a crumble. While it’s cooking I decide to do a dance workout, there are so many great ones on YouTube and I’m in the mood to throw myself around. I got into these during a particularly stressful work week and find them totally therapeutic and a brilliant way to change my mood completely.

5.30pm: Run a bath and have a Vanity Fair to read. I got a 12-month subscription a few months ago for just £12, I have always loved reading magazines so it’s a total treat to get one through the door every month.

6.30pm: While making dinner of fishcake and salad I check the Olio app and see the local bakery has various items. I request a large brown sourdough loaf and pop out to collect, it’s only a few roads away and completely worth the wet and windy trip for free bread. This gets sliced and put into the freezer. At this rate with the app I will never need to buy bread again. I make a shopping list for tomorrow as am out of some basics.

8pm: Settle down to watch an Agatha Christie on TV and eat some of the apple crumble. I feel so refreshed for having been away for the weekend, it’s been amazing to spend time with family and see my friend. With the uncertainty of a winter lockdown I want to make the most of being able to safely see friends and family.

10.30pm: Get ready for bed, including a double cleanse as I have worn a mask a lot over the past three days for long durations and I want to scrub my face clean. Make a hot water bottle as I determined not to crack and put the heating on just yet, plus have a boiler service coming up and although I am a grown woman and a homeowner I am scared of the boiler (the first time I had to adjust the pressure gauge was an ordeal). I read for about 20 minutes. I've started a new book (Where the Crawdads Sing) but am so tired the words are blurring.

Total: £0
<strong>Day Six </strong><br> <br>7am: Wake up to my radio alarm, make an espresso and prep the living room for yoga. When lockdown started, my old yoga teacher who is based in London started doing online classes and even though I have found a local class, I still want to continue with her a few times a month. These classes were a real highlight of my week in the dark days of April/May/June and I want to continue to support the teacher. I can’t really imagine how difficult this time must be for people like her who depend on teaching in-person classes for a living. It’s an ‘active’ class this week, which is ideal as the flat is chilly. It fully warms me up for the day. <br> <br>8.45am: I pop to the local shop for some supplies. I have found a tagine recipe to use the Brussels sprouts in my veg box, and need to get some extra ingredients. I get milk, eggs, chicken thighs, feta cheese, cheddar, coriander, yoghurt, soup, limes, broccoli and foil, total is £19.10 and Monzo rounds up to £20.<br> <br>9.15am: Home, unpack and remember to pay for this morning’s yoga class. Transfer £10. <br> <br>10am: I turn my laptop on, zero new emails and no internal teams chat. Make some breakfast of peanut butter on toast from yesterday’s bread pick-up. <br> <br>10.30am: Have a catch-up call with my one remaining colleague, spend about 10 minutes repeating how strange this all feels to each other. Chat through the few tasks I have to complete today with her and make a coffee for my troubles. My bosses have said they don’t expect me to be working the full week but to be on hand for any final tasks/questions. I plan to spend the morning completing some financials and have two calls in the afternoon. I had wanted to take a few weeks' break and not start looking at new roles until then but the financial pressure is pushing down on me and I want to at least be actively looking now so aim to factor in job-hunting time later in the week. My LinkedIn and CV are up to date so that’s a tiny start.<br> <br>12pm: A friend texts to say she needs fresh air and to escape her flat so we plan to meet at the seafront for a brisk stroll and gulp down some sea air. It’s so easy to forget we used to work in busy offices and interact with colleagues all day long. We chew the cud and discuss that on the one hand humans are incredibly adaptable but on the other I feel very aware that I haven’t had a moment to process the last six months and acknowledge the drastic change to my working routine and social life. This is coupled with the guilt that so many others have had it so much worse, and I am incredibly fortunate that no one I know has been seriously ill with COVID-19.<br> <br>1.30pm: Home and feeling clear-headed and boosted by a good chat and sea air. Make a tuna salad with some of the veg box items (salad leaves, tomatoes and kale). My next meeting is at 3pm so take a long, long lunch. <br> <br>5.30pm: Finished work at 5pm and Mum called. She is home and gave me a detailed update on her progress.<br> <br>6.30pm: I get all the ingredients out for dinner and pop a podcast on while cooking. Have never made a tagine before and it’s incredibly straightforward, a friend calls halfway through so have a good chat while I finish. It tastes amazing, if I do say so myself. I have a bright future of tagine recipes ahead of me. I make a gin martini to toast the fact I have started my final week of work.<br> <br>10pm: Watch two episodes of <em>Jane the Virgin </em>and head to bed around 10pm. I read for over an hour, cannot put this book down and fall asleep thinking of swamps.<br> <br> <strong>Total: £30</strong>
Day Six

7am: Wake up to my radio alarm, make an espresso and prep the living room for yoga. When lockdown started, my old yoga teacher who is based in London started doing online classes and even though I have found a local class, I still want to continue with her a few times a month. These classes were a real highlight of my week in the dark days of April/May/June and I want to continue to support the teacher. I can’t really imagine how difficult this time must be for people like her who depend on teaching in-person classes for a living. It’s an ‘active’ class this week, which is ideal as the flat is chilly. It fully warms me up for the day.

8.45am: I pop to the local shop for some supplies. I have found a tagine recipe to use the Brussels sprouts in my veg box, and need to get some extra ingredients. I get milk, eggs, chicken thighs, feta cheese, cheddar, coriander, yoghurt, soup, limes, broccoli and foil, total is £19.10 and Monzo rounds up to £20.

9.15am: Home, unpack and remember to pay for this morning’s yoga class. Transfer £10.

10am: I turn my laptop on, zero new emails and no internal teams chat. Make some breakfast of peanut butter on toast from yesterday’s bread pick-up.

10.30am: Have a catch-up call with my one remaining colleague, spend about 10 minutes repeating how strange this all feels to each other. Chat through the few tasks I have to complete today with her and make a coffee for my troubles. My bosses have said they don’t expect me to be working the full week but to be on hand for any final tasks/questions. I plan to spend the morning completing some financials and have two calls in the afternoon. I had wanted to take a few weeks' break and not start looking at new roles until then but the financial pressure is pushing down on me and I want to at least be actively looking now so aim to factor in job-hunting time later in the week. My LinkedIn and CV are up to date so that’s a tiny start.

12pm: A friend texts to say she needs fresh air and to escape her flat so we plan to meet at the seafront for a brisk stroll and gulp down some sea air. It’s so easy to forget we used to work in busy offices and interact with colleagues all day long. We chew the cud and discuss that on the one hand humans are incredibly adaptable but on the other I feel very aware that I haven’t had a moment to process the last six months and acknowledge the drastic change to my working routine and social life. This is coupled with the guilt that so many others have had it so much worse, and I am incredibly fortunate that no one I know has been seriously ill with COVID-19.

1.30pm: Home and feeling clear-headed and boosted by a good chat and sea air. Make a tuna salad with some of the veg box items (salad leaves, tomatoes and kale). My next meeting is at 3pm so take a long, long lunch.

5.30pm: Finished work at 5pm and Mum called. She is home and gave me a detailed update on her progress.

6.30pm: I get all the ingredients out for dinner and pop a podcast on while cooking. Have never made a tagine before and it’s incredibly straightforward, a friend calls halfway through so have a good chat while I finish. It tastes amazing, if I do say so myself. I have a bright future of tagine recipes ahead of me. I make a gin martini to toast the fact I have started my final week of work.

10pm: Watch two episodes of Jane the Virgin and head to bed around 10pm. I read for over an hour, cannot put this book down and fall asleep thinking of swamps.

Total: £30
<strong>Day Seven</strong> <br> <br>6am: Had a rubbish sleep, waking up twice in the night and taking ages to fall back asleep. So it’s not pleasant when my alarm goes off this early and it’s pitch black but I got a last-minute spot in a spin class and the teacher is brilliant so I haul myself out of bed, make an espresso and get ready.<br> <br>7.30am: Am a sweaty ball of sweat, that was full-on spinning but felt brilliant. I walk home slowly, it’s all uphill, and get into the shower.<br> <br>9am: Make a coffee and turn laptop on, no new work emails and one internal message. I have a few final partner calls today and that’s it so I'm going to work on two job applications with deadlines this week.<br> <br>9.30am: Make eggs on toast for breakfast.<br> <br>12pm: Partner calls are finished, spend an hour on a job application and feel a bit fired up and excited while working on it. Wasn’t expecting this and it makes me realise that, despite the burnout feeling, I love my work and the charity sector and really want to find a new role where I can have an impact and be part of a great team of people.<br> <br>1pm: Head out for eyebrow wax, oh sweet relief at this longed for appointment. Fifteen minutes and £16 later, I am a new woman. Am making soup for dinner with some of the veg box items so pick up celery and stilton. £3.40 but Monzo rounds up to £4.<br> <br>2pm: Have 30 minutes before a work call and I'm hungry so make a quick salad and have a Diet Coke. <br> <br>3.30pm: Obviously hungry again after that paltry lunch so eat a bag of crisps. Speak to my best friend who is going to come and visit on Friday and take me out for a celebratory dinner to mark the end of work. This is the sort of incredibly thoughtful gesture that tips me into tears of gratitude these days, in many ways I cannot wait to close the door on this chapter and move forward into whatever comes next.<br> <br>5pm: Have finished reviewing some final documents and updating handover plans so finish for the day and spend the next hour working on the same job application from earlier.<br> <br>6pm: Get to work on making broccoli and stilton soup with a podcast on. I have a small bowl for dinner, followed by leftover tagine – as this is such a decadent two-course meal I finish off with an Old Fashioned and watch <em>Bake Off</em>. Put vats of leftover soup into the freezer and make moves to bed as am feeling the tiredness from the early start.<br> <br>10pm: End up reading for over an hour and have to force myself to put the book down before I drop it on my face. Sleep deeply.<br> <br><strong>Total: £20</strong>
Day Seven

6am: Had a rubbish sleep, waking up twice in the night and taking ages to fall back asleep. So it’s not pleasant when my alarm goes off this early and it’s pitch black but I got a last-minute spot in a spin class and the teacher is brilliant so I haul myself out of bed, make an espresso and get ready.

7.30am: Am a sweaty ball of sweat, that was full-on spinning but felt brilliant. I walk home slowly, it’s all uphill, and get into the shower.

9am: Make a coffee and turn laptop on, no new work emails and one internal message. I have a few final partner calls today and that’s it so I'm going to work on two job applications with deadlines this week.

9.30am: Make eggs on toast for breakfast.

12pm: Partner calls are finished, spend an hour on a job application and feel a bit fired up and excited while working on it. Wasn’t expecting this and it makes me realise that, despite the burnout feeling, I love my work and the charity sector and really want to find a new role where I can have an impact and be part of a great team of people.

1pm: Head out for eyebrow wax, oh sweet relief at this longed for appointment. Fifteen minutes and £16 later, I am a new woman. Am making soup for dinner with some of the veg box items so pick up celery and stilton. £3.40 but Monzo rounds up to £4.

2pm: Have 30 minutes before a work call and I'm hungry so make a quick salad and have a Diet Coke.

3.30pm: Obviously hungry again after that paltry lunch so eat a bag of crisps. Speak to my best friend who is going to come and visit on Friday and take me out for a celebratory dinner to mark the end of work. This is the sort of incredibly thoughtful gesture that tips me into tears of gratitude these days, in many ways I cannot wait to close the door on this chapter and move forward into whatever comes next.

5pm: Have finished reviewing some final documents and updating handover plans so finish for the day and spend the next hour working on the same job application from earlier.

6pm: Get to work on making broccoli and stilton soup with a podcast on. I have a small bowl for dinner, followed by leftover tagine – as this is such a decadent two-course meal I finish off with an Old Fashioned and watch Bake Off. Put vats of leftover soup into the freezer and make moves to bed as am feeling the tiredness from the early start.

10pm: End up reading for over an hour and have to force myself to put the book down before I drop it on my face. Sleep deeply.

Total: £20
<strong>The Breakdown</strong><br><br>Food/Drink: £63<br>Entertainment: £0<br>Clothes/Beauty: £27<br>Travel: £37<br>Other: £74<br><br><strong>Total: £201</strong><br><br><strong>Conclusion</strong><br><br>"Reading this back I realise how therapeutic it’s been to write down my feelings during the end of my time at work. I feel like I have started to process the end of my job and this new transition. It felt like a low spend week but actually I’ve gone over my budget, mainly due to paying for yoga and the train travel. I am super conscious of spending at the moment obviously and am not buying new clothes or eating out much. I can see from this diary how much a routine of exercise and eating well and my friendships will be crucial to getting through the uncertainty ahead."
The Breakdown

Food/Drink: £63
Entertainment: £0
Clothes/Beauty: £27
Travel: £37
Other: £74

Total: £201

Conclusion

"Reading this back I realise how therapeutic it’s been to write down my feelings during the end of my time at work. I feel like I have started to process the end of my job and this new transition. It felt like a low spend week but actually I’ve gone over my budget, mainly due to paying for yoga and the train travel. I am super conscious of spending at the moment obviously and am not buying new clothes or eating out much. I can see from this diary how much a routine of exercise and eating well and my friendships will be crucial to getting through the uncertainty ahead."

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