COVIDiaries: 28-year-old looks for alternate income sources and re-thinks past spending habits

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In the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic, many people find their personal finances in complete upheaval. We want to share real stories of how people are coping with the crisis. 

Our new series, the “COVIDiaries” will share individual experiences with how the pandemic is impacting income, savings, debts, and more. You can read more here. We hope you find these stories relatable and reassuring, even if they do nothing more than show you that you are not alone. 

We are all in this together.

If you would like to share your experience of how the Coronavirus is impacting your finances, please fill out the form here

Elby, 28, from Bay Area, California

What do you do for work? Has the COVID-19 Pandemic impacted your income in reduced hours, layoffs, work from home or in another way?

I’m a nanny/self-employed. I was laid off from my nannying job and started doing deliveries for companies, like Amazon Flex and Instacart. My husband still has a job (tradesman) but it went down from 24-30 hours a week to more like 10-12 hours if we’re lucky. He’s currently filing for unemployment.

How has the COVID-19 Pandemic affected your spending? Are you spending more or less right now? What are you buying and why?

My husband and I are definitely spending much less. We usually eat out 3+ times a week, but now we eat all meals at home. We’re buying a lot more groceries, and much less of everything else.

What about your debts? Are you incurring debt to cope with reduced pay or increased costs? Or are you finding relief in lower interest rates?

We were making double payments on our car. Since I lose my job and my husband lost hours, we’re back to normal payments. Thankfully we only have about $1450 left on the car total.

Are you concerned about what will happen to your savings and investments at this time? Is this detrimental to your long-term wealth or a once in a lifetime opportunity to get into the stock market? Will you recover from this crisis or be richer or poorer because of it?

Yes. We have savings thankfully, but it goes quick here since our rent is pretty high. I think it’s going to be tough for me to find a new steady job. I’m going back to school for a certification, so best case scenario, it’ll be 9 months before I work regularly again. We’ll be spending savings or breaking even for at least the next year.

Did the pandemic force you to cancel any trips or special events? How did that impact your bank account (and your mental health!)

Yes. We were planning to go to Disneyland and had to cancel that. Also had to cancel a friend’s going away party and important religious events. Overall, I’d say my mental health is doing ok. I’m worried, but since I’m still able to make some money, it’s not as bad as it could be.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic made you realize anything unexpected about your personal finances? Did you find vulnerabilities or are you more secure than you thought? Will it change how you see and manage money going forward?

I realized we were spending way too much money on food, shopping, and silly things. We still have what we need spending much less. I hope I can stay frugal even once we go back to normal.

Share how your personal finances are being impacted by the Coronavirus here

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