A Week Furloughed In New York, NY

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: a furloughed retail employee who makes $52,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Egyptian cotton sheets.
Occupation: Furloughed due to COVID-19
Industry: Retail
Age: 21
Location: New York, NY
Salary: Usually $52,000, right now $0
Net Worth: Less than $0 due to debt and lack of income right now, my income is all stimulus money at this point
Debt: $5,500
Paycheck Amount (Supposed to be once a week for unemployment): $0 (Haven't received unemployment yet)
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Monthly Housing Costs: $1,400 a month. I share a 5-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment with 4 other women on the Upper West Side.
Monthly Loan Payments: $59 for student loans
All Other Monthly Expenses: Utilities: $30, Health Insurance: $170 (currently paid for through June), Internet: $15, Video Streaming: $19.16, Spotify: $15, Amazon: $15, Cell Phone: $140 (currently deferred), Donations: $15 to Environment Texas for Pollinator Conservation, Affirm: $81 for a previous vacation to see my grandmother, Credit Card Debt: $80 on my regular Credit Cards, $40 on my department store cards, Meal Kit: $61.00/week

Day One

11 a.m. — I wake up extremely tired this morning. The first thing I do every morning is check for my unemployment. It isn't there. I stayed up incredibly late last night talking to friends in an earlier timezone, but I'm paying for it now. However, today is a very exciting day because I'm getting a COVID test! I signed up over three weeks ago when I was first directly exposed and it took a while to get signed up, so I assume it will be negative but want to be safe. I go downtown to get my COVID test. The process was unusually easy and took about 3 minutes, I assume because this testing site just opened up this morning. On my walk back uptown, I cut through the park to avoid people. It feels odd being outside after a few weeks of mandatory isolation.
1 p.m. — I order some White Claws for delivery. Before quarantine, I stopped drinking for a while, but I enjoy drinking now that I have nothing to do. It comes in 20 minutes and I enjoy a few in bed while watching 27 Dresses (my favorite movie) and eating a Turkey sandwich. $19
7 p.m. — I get up and make dinner, which consists of some pasta and meatballs that came in my Hello Fresh box this week. It's great! I've been saving so much money by not getting takeout every day, so my membership is worth it.
7 p.m. — I clap for the healthcare workers.
11 p.m. — I have a Facetime happy hour with a few of my friends! It's nice to talk to people I haven't for a while. I end up staying up late because the call lasts 5 hours.
Daily Total: $19

Day Two

11 a.m. — I check for my unemployment. It isn't there. I am also groggy and annoyed because it's cloudy outside. I go to the kitchen and make coffee and an egg and sit at our table for an hour to help a friend with homework. I'm grateful that I'm not in school right now, otherwise, I think I'd be going insane.
12 p.m. — I go up to the roof, even though it's cold, because I have teletherapy and don't feel as comfortable doing it in the apartment with my roommates. I tell her about the testing experience and we talk about boys. I don't actually mind teletherapy, it's almost more comfortable to be in your own space when talking about this stuff. She charges my co-pay to my account. $24.46
3 p.m. — I notice a few of my friends are on Houseparty so I crack open a White Claw and hop on to catch up with them. About 20 minutes later, I get a phone call and have to leave. It's my doctor — my COVID test came out positive. I'm in complete shock and end up laughing on the phone. I'm completely asymptomatic. But I'm grateful that I have been so cautious and following all of the guidelines.
7 p.m. — I clap for the healthcare workers.
8 p.m. — I decide I'd really not like to cook today and that I deserve a little treat to help me process my test results, so I order McDonald's for delivery. The 40-piece McNugget is only $3 more than the 10-piece, so I got that with the intention to freeze the rest. I end up eating 14 of them and a Big Mac — my body doesn't like that. $18.26
Daily Total: $42.72

Day Three

9 a.m. — I check for my unemployment. It's still not there. I look outside, and immediately thank God that it's sunny out! I check the weather and it's 60 degrees, so I decide it's a roof day. Our roof is always empty and it's painted silver so it absorbs sunlight, so it's been the perfect place to tan. I hop in the shower and place a wine shop order for prosecco so I can make mimosas. I get eight bottles so I can get a discount, knowing I'll drink them all anyways. $111.15
12 p.m. — While on the roof, I check my bank account to see how much damage I've done in the past few days. Lo and behold, Cuomo has sent out a $600 relief payment to people like me who have yet to receive their unemployment. I filed over 3 weeks ago at this point and am so happy I could cry. It might not be my real unemployment, but it's something!
2 p.m. — I order a cheap swimsuit from J. Crew after realizing how bad my current one is for tan lines. It's a great deal and I just got unexpected money, so I feel okay about it. I might have been a little tipsy from the mimosas, too. $24.96
7 p.m. — I clap for the healthcare workers.
9 p.m. — For some reason, I'm wiped out today. I take a melatonin gummy, put on my eye mask, and sleep.
Daily Total: $136.11

Day Four

8 a.m. — I check for my unemployment. It's still not there. I curse myself for going to bed so early because now my body clock is set to wake me up at 8. It's sunny outside again, but I'll have to wait until about 10 to go to the roof so it heats up. I make some coffee and work on some homework help for my friend again. She's super stressed so I'm helping edit and give feedback on her papers. It makes me feel productive.
12 p.m. — While on the roof, I call my job to update HR on my test results. I haven't been at work for over a month, so there's a super low risk that I transmitted it, but I want to be responsible. I use my last slices of turkey to make a sandwich. I'm out of mayo too. I need groceries but can't leave my house, so I check for delivery slots. There are none available but I know they reset at midnight so I set a reminder for 11:55 pm to remind me to snag one.
7 p.m. — I clap for the healthcare workers. On the roof.
8 p.m. — My next Hello Fresh box doesn't come until tomorrow and canned soup won't cut it tonight, so I order delivery from a local taco place. I feel bad getting fast food a lot so I try to support neighborhood businesses too. I get a margarita with my order and it's phenomenal. $22.64
12 a.m. — I order groceries for the day after tomorrow. I get sandwich stuff, vegan yogurt (I eat dairy sometimes but it's a lot better than regular yogurt), some produce, and essentials like olive oil and pepper. I actually find a $25 off of $50+ coupon, so I tip $20 instead of a normal 20%. $46.50
2 a.m. — I hop on Houseparty with some friends again. I drink a little too much wine and somehow end up spending some money on the Nordstrom app. I buy a lingerie set and some new sheets, both of which are ridiculously on sale and have been in my wishlist for months. Stimulus checks are supposed to help stimulate the economy, right? $226.90
Daily Total: $296.04

Day Five

10 a.m. — I check for my unemployment, it's still not there. Why did I order lingerie and sheets last night? I drink my coffee with an overwhelming sense of self-hatred. As punishment, I make large payments on all of my credit cards. My main goal through quarantine is to use some of the extra money I get from the government to cut down my credit card debt. I pay $100 on two of my cards, and $75 on the other two. $350
1 p.m. — I take a shower and decide to do a self-care day since the weather isn't tanning-friendly. I take a long shower with eucalyptus oil, shave my entire body, and do a home facial with my nicer skincare that I save for special occasions. It makes me feel a little bit normal.
2 p.m. — My Hello Fresh box arrives and I realize I haven't eaten today, so I make a green bean bowl with rice. It's a lot better than expected, which always happens with the healthy recipes.
7 p.m. — I clap for the healthcare workers.
10 p.m. — I eat the leftovers from my lunch and then watch a movie that was recommended by one of my group texts while I do a teeth whitening treatment.
Daily Total: $350

Day Six

10 a.m. — I check for my unemployment. It's still not there. It's been four weeks now and I'm still pending. I'm sick of looking at the number zero. After laying in bed depressed for two hours, I finally get up and make a coffee and an egg on toast. Some days are easy, this one is not.
1 p.m. — I facetime my best friend in the world for a few hours. We've lived apart for a long time and are used to not seeing each other, but times like these make me want to give up city life and go live with her in a little house in a small town. I cry on the phone.
4 p.m. — A different friend and I are texting and she mentions how broke she is. I feel horrible and know that I'm lucky for getting a stimulus check, so I send her $20. It's not much but I tell her that if there's any other way I can help, I will. $20
7 p.m. — I clap for the healthcare workers.
10 p.m. — My birthday is coming up and I have a Zoom birthday planned so I decide to send out paper invites. It's a cute idea and I have a Shutterfly coupon so I splurge. $30.15
Daily Total: $50.15

Day Seven

9 a.m. — I check for unemployment. It's not there and I am getting more upset by the day. This is my last day of mandatory isolation. Since I'm asymptomatic, my doctor told me that a week is standard. However, I don't plan on going out for another week anyway, to be on the safe side. It lifts a little bit of weight off my shoulders regardless. After coffee, I quickly put on my swimsuit and head to the roof with a yogurt and my coffee. Do I put it on ice and spike it with Bailey's? Maybe.
3 p.m. — I realize Mother's Day and my mom's birthday are coming up and since shipping is delayed, I order presents for my mom and grandma now. For my mom, I get a nice fitting bra (I was a fitter for over 2 years) and a beautiful black dress that I know she'll love. For my grandma, I get The Beauty Chef cookbook since I know she's weirdly obsessed with gut health. I make a flat payment on my Nordstrom card instead of using debit, so I'll cut down my balance a bit as well. $100
7 p.m. — I clap for the healthcare workers.
9 p.m. — I call my best friend again to help her with some homework. We end up chatting for a few hours. This always makes me feel a bit better about everything. At the very least, I have her.
Daily Total: $100
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.
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