Hello! Writing to you from my home office aka the “comic book table” at my apartment. As of today, Friday 3/20, I still have a job and I’m working from home (and now officially we’re called by the governor to STAY AT HOME).
I do have the option to go to the office because the building is open as of this writing. I might need to go in once a week, but as we continue with working from home, I won’t need to do so. Office is closed officially. For the sake of record keeping I did go into the office on Wednesday 3/18 to swap files.
Josh works at a restaurant and has lost his income for the foreseeable future because NYC has closed bars and restaurants. Thankfully, his job will pay him (and his coworkers) for this past week, even though they didn’t go in to work, but after that it’s not clear if the company will continue with the paid time off or not (which comes down to whether they want to pay higher unemployment insurance premiums if/when the employees have to file for unemployment benefits).
Because of Josh’s reduced and limited income, I’ll be responsible for the majority of our expenses. This is really scary for us because I’ve always had a small salary just by working in publishing, which is not recession proof, if 2008 taught us anything. The bulk of Josh’s expenses are private student loans, so he’s spoken to his provider on ways to defer payment as much as possible.
I am prepared to cover our total rent of $1350, food, utilities, and phone bill, and my own student loan payment. Though any income from Josh he says he will prioritize from his loans to rent and utilities. In order to get us through this, I’ve enacted some emergency measures:
Emergency measures for more cash on hand:
- removed extraneous expenses from budget: cancelled Spotify premium, cash only laundry (instead of drop off service), cooking meals at home (no seamless at all–already broke this rule for pizza), WordPress will not auto-renew my plan in July so I’ll be saving $100 when that rolls around, my gym has frozen our membership, cancelled round-ups for Acorns
- going forward, only making minimum payments on all credit cards
- Reduced my contribution to my 401k from 8% to 6% so I will still get matching from my employer, but more money will be in my take home pay.
In the event that these cash on hand measures are not enough, we can also dip into our current savings, which does include our wedding savings. We were still in the early stages of planning the wedding so we haven’t yet used any of the savings to pay for wedding expenses, and we were still deciding on a venue. That’s all on pause now. I’ve never been so glad for a long engagement!
This plan together should get us through the worst of it. I’m trying to continue to save money because I worry that my job will likely not last in a long recession, based on current projections and past knowledge of publishing.
In other related news, this past week we were supposed to be on vacation to visit Josh’s parents in Florida, but we cancelled that trip as well. At the time we weren’t sure if Josh would be working or if there would be travel restrictions in place, but now–so quickly–everything has changed to STAY AT HOME, it didn’t make sense for us to leave now when the travel plans were not urgent. We got a credit from the airline, they only refunded our seat choice fee ($30).
*update effective on Sunday 3/22 by decree of the governor, STAY AT HOME*
We’ve stocked up on food for two weeks (and toilet paper!), which is about as much as our fridge/cabinets can hold. We’re taking walks and doing Yoga with Adrienne videos in the mornings. We’re cuddling our sweet Jada cat (she loves that we’re around). We’re catching up and chatting with our friends and family. We’re trying to stay sane. It’s going to be a long road ahead.
Some links that I’ve found useful:
This spreadsheet compiled by Broke Millennial with resources during this time for everything from job leads to mental health resources (updated daily).
Watch this video if you have any questions about symptoms! (Source: Business Insider)
What plans have you made during this time?
Happy first day of spring and stay safe! ♥