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In this episode, one woman shows us how her spending has changed since beginning quarantine, and what she's budgeting for moving forward.

Through weekly video essays, "Making It Work" showcases how *real* people have upgraded their personal or financial lives in some meaningful way. Making your life work for you doesn't mean getting rich just for the sake of it. It means making the most of what you have to build a life you love, both in your present and in your future. And while managing money is a crucial life skill for everyone, there's no one "right way" to go about it — you have to figure out what works best for *you,* full stop.

Video by Grace Lee

Based on an article by Amy Beecham

Video narration by Laura Vandiver

The Financial Diet site:

Making It Work is brought to you by Skillshare, an online learning community helping you move your creative journey forward without putting life on hold.

Like everyone else, I've been struggling to come to terms with the reality that COVID-19 has disrupted everything. Many of my 2020 plans have been rearranged or simply canceled.

And like everyone else, I've felt the spectrum of emotions, from frustration and disappointment to guilt over what seems to be a very first world problem in the grand scheme of things. Then again, those feelings are valid, and don't take anything away from global pain and hardship And while staying home means fewer festivities and probably less fun, in a practical sense, it also means I'm saving money. Instead of dwelling on what I won't get to do, I'm reframing these canceled plans as opportunities to spend my money differently and more smartly after all of this is over.

Here's what I would have been spending in 2020-- trip to Lisbon, $370. One of the best things about where I live in the UK is its proximity to Europe. And my boyfriend and I had been looking forward to this cheap and cheerful trip to Portugal since last year.

While I'm definitely mourning the opportunity to try my favorite pastel de natas in their native country, I feel lucky that our bargain vacation was insured, and that we'll receive a full refund for the cost of our trip, in addition to what we've saved from potential travel spending. Monthly gym membership, $90. At the risk of sounding like that person, the gym is a huge part of my routine, and something I truly miss since freezing it after lockdown.

However, I'm choosing to see the bright side, which is the newly freed up space in my monthly budget. Celebrations for my birthday, $130. Turning 22 in isolation was not quite the celebration I'd planned.

And having an entirely no spend birthday was certainly a first. Under normal circumstances, I would have definitely racked up quite a total on a sustainable or second hand outfit, nail and hair appointments, and various nights both out and in. Wedding guest outfit, $75.

Scheduled for early August, this event hasn't actually been canceled yet. But the uncertainty over whether or not it will go ahead means I've held off buying a new dress for the occasion. In fact, having to put my shopping on hold has encouraged me to think about whether I need a new dress at all, or if there's something already in my wardrobe that will fit the bill.

And here's how I'm spending this money instead. Increased payments into my moving out fund. When we graduated last July, my boyfriend and I agreed to one year of living with his family while working, in order to save to run our own place.

As that deadline looms, and both of us continue to be unable to work full time during the pandemic, I'm grateful that we can divert the money we would have been spending on social activities to bulk up our fund. Granted, it's not as immediately exciting as a trip abroad or a night out. But it's a real relief to have the strain lessened, even slightly.

Long term investments in my personal health. My teeth are an insecurity I've long dreamed of getting fixed. But I've pushed it back as an expense my budget can't handle just yet.

However, with my spending changing so drastically, I've started to view it as a really good longer term investment in myself and my happiness. While I obviously won't be able to undergo any treatment until it's safe, putting that money aside feels much more valuable than a one time material purchase. Some frivolities-- balance is important.

So I allowed myself to spend on some small luxuries that have brighten my lockdown experience. These include a coveted sustainably made workout set, which is keeping me excited about eventually returning to the gym, and a monthly subscription to my favorite content website to keep me entertained while at home. While canceled plans are less than ideal, the small upside is that now I feel like I have more control over where my money goes, which is always a good thing.

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Explore your creativity on your own timeline, and start learning today.