Corona savings

Sweden dropped all coronavirus-related restrictions on February 9th. Since then things are moving back to normal. I am still working primarily at home because many of my group lessons are arranged four or five months in advance and no one knew what the situation would be. I teach about 17 groups. My individual students are taught at their workplaces. ..

I have found the commute the hardest to get used to again. Instead of finishing work at 5 and being free to do housework, watch television, do laundry etc immediately, I now have to battle my way home on subway and bus. So normally I am home an hour after I finish work, and I really notice that hour now. I also get up an hour earlier and have the commute before I get to work. It is rather stressful too – full trains, signal failure, traffic jams and so on. I had forgotten that!

So during the pandemic, one huge saving I had was time. I had about two free hours extra each day. And it did make a huge difference. I could do laundry and cleaning during the week, leaving me more free time during the weekend. My lesson preparation and correction of student work was finished much earlier.

The biggest saving however was money. I sad down and totted down what I saved on and why.

Monthly travel card – 960 per month x 24 = 23 400 SEK ($2 448)

  • this can be used for unlimited travel on bus, tram, commuter train, subway, and boats. During the pandemic I hardly used public transport but if I did, I bought a single ticket (valid for 75 minutes) with my phone.

Coffee  18 432 SEK ($1 962)

  • because I sometimes had free periods during the day, or was really tired in the morning, I often bought a big, extra hot latte. It was my one treat about 4 times a week. But not cheap. During corona I didn’t buy any at all.

Lunch – 28 800 SEK ($3066)

  • I ate lunch at a coffee shop about twice a week. Usually a salad or a sandwich with a coffee or juice. During the times of covid restrictions I didn’t eat out at all.

Clothes, shoes, bags, accessories – 8000 SEK ($851)

  • I normally buy a new pair of shoes spring/summer and again autumn/winter, because I walk a lot and need my shoes to be in top shape for work. Often I would buy a new top or two for work for spring/summer and again autumn/winter. Mainly because I get so tired of wearing the same thing over and over. I carried my bag day in and day out so I would buy new ones fairly regularly because, to be honest, I would get so sick of the sight and weight of them that I had to change things around a bit. During the WFH times, I didn’t buy any new work clothes at all.

Makeup, hair – 6 800 SEK ($723)

  • I have never worn much makeup to work (mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow and lipstick) but I replaced my mascaras and eyeliners every couple of months. I had highlights done in my hair every three months – very expensive as I have lots of long hair and lots of highlights. Over the past two years I have not worn makeup at all apart from lipgloss, and have gone five months between hair appointments. I wore my hair tied up in a bun or ponytail for work for two years, and root regrowth was not noticeable.

So just for the things above, I have saved a grand total of 85 432 SEK ($9 095). Even if you subtract the cost of single travel tickets, and extra food/tea/toilet paper use at home, it has been much cheaper for me to work from home than out in the field all day. My working habits had been a part of my life for 20 years in Sweden, so it was a shock to see how many incidental costs – both time and money – come with working in the city.

On the work front, I can actually work more hours working from home, because I need a maximum of 15 free minutes between digital lessons. When I work in the field it can take me anything from 15 to 45 minutes to get between clients’ premises, eating up a huge chunk of my teaching time. I can teach a maximum of 180 hours when I am rushing between clients. Working from home, I can double that. I am paid per hour.

How about you?

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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