Money Diary: A Teacher On 16.5k In COVID-19 Self-Quarantine In Shenzhen, China

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 we're revisiting a recent Money Diarist whose life has taken a turn since we last heard from her.
"After I graduated from university in Edinburgh, I moved to China to teach English in a high school in Shenzhen. After living there for six months, I went travelling for what was supposed to be three weeks during the Chinese New Year. During this time, the coronavirus (COVID-19) started to spread and has become a global concern. My three-week holiday extended day by day into a six-week holiday as school start dates were pushed further and further back. While I enjoyed travelling around SE Asia, my savings were taking a hit and I increasingly found it difficult to enjoy my surroundings when my future was so unclear.
After six weeks I made the decision to return to China, in part for financial reasons but also to stabilise my mental health, which had taken a knock in the previous few weeks. Having to make the challenging decision between the (then) safety of flying back to the UK and the uncertainty of going back to China (particularly as someone with a mild respiratory health problem) turned me inside out in the pursuit of the ‘right’ decision. I didn’t know whether to believe the mass panic or what to think about the government's advice against ‘all but essential travel’. Was my job, my life in China, considered ‘essential’? I eventually decided that it was to me.
Finally arriving back in China, my housemate E and I were instructed to self-quarantine in our apartment for 14 days for both our safety and the safety of others. I’m lucky enough to have savings I can dip into while things calm down, as the future of my work and pay is unclear at the moment."
Industry: Education
Age: 22
Location: Shenzhen, China
Salary: £16,500 before tax (I am only paid 11 months of the year)
Paycheque amount: Usually around £1,500 after tax, however it's undetermined if I will be fully paid or paid at all this month due to COVID-19.
Number of housemates: Before the virus, I had two roommates, however now there is only my roommate E and me left.
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £250 (my housemate who has left has kindly offered to continue paying for her room to save us from having to find another apartment).
Utilities: Previously £40, however with the loss of one tenant, I’m expecting it to rise somewhat. Budgeting between £40-60 for this month.
Transportation: Typically £20 per month but due to self-quarantine I will not be using any transportation for the foreseeable.
Phone bill: £9.82
Savings: £1,000 in my UK Monzo account, and the equivalent of £600 in my Chinese bank account. Both of these are for living costs for the next few weeks/months while I have little control over my income. £500 of this savings amount I have put aside for an international flight back to the UK if life in China with COVID-19 becomes too difficult. 
Other: Chinese accident insurance £20, travel insurance £35 (very happy with past me for investing in these), Spotify £4.99, VPN £8.
Whether you're self-isolating or working out on the frontlines in people facing roles, we hope you're staying safe right now. If you're interested in doing a money diary to tell us about your situation during this uncertain time then please do drop us a note with a bit of info about yourself at moneydiary@refinery29.uk

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