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‘I still spend so much time on the kids

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Sarah Dahia

My Money is a series looking at how people spend their money – and the sometimes tough decisions they have to make. Here, Sarah Dahia from Australia takes us through a week in her life during the coronavirus pandemic.Sarah was born in the UK and now lives in Sydney, having moved from Fiji for her children to be educated in Australia.Her husband Mahen is in Fiji, unable to travel due to the business and Covid-19 travel restrictions. Sarah and Mahen have barely seen each other during the last year.Sarah’s daughter Sophie, 19, is at university while son Ganesh, 21, is taking a break from study and working long hours as a kitchen hand. They have a rescue dog called Libby and two cats called Susie and Jacey.Sarah has always been a stay-at-home mum while also helping Mahen with his shoe business. Now she is getting government assistance of A$530 (£300) a fortnight and looking for work. At the moment they have a six-month mortgage holiday due to Covid-19. Sarah says she doesn’t know how she will manage when it ends.With the stress of Covid-19, separation, upset children and unsure income Sarah says her already shaky mental health has taken a bashing. She referred herself to an organisation called Flourish, run by Western Sydney Health. It is a support organisation designed to prevent people not fitting into the mental health system from falling through the cracks.

Over to Sarah…

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Sarah Dahia

My Mondays are always the same. It is Ganesh’s only day off so I make time to be with him, doing whatever he needs. Today he is very tired from a bad work week so we do some shopping for his new den, then he takes the rest of the day to relax while I work out, do housework and cook whatever he likes for his one evening at home.I do my shopping at our local market, which is open Friday to Sunday. With Covid I have decreased my Aldi visit for pet food and non-perishables to every three weeks so we already have everything we need for the week.For breakfast I have muesli and a homemade cappuccino. Lunch is spicy chicken and potato soup made of leftovers.After lunch Sophie and I walk our dog Libby. Spring sprang last week, but the wind is a cold southerly this afternoon so we all hide in a sunny sheltered spot for chatting and doggy cuddles. Home for hot tea and homemade cake for all. I bake at least once a week, cheaper and tastier than bought.Ganesh and I make dinner, his choice of homemade hamburgers with a vinaigrette slaw of fennel, red capsicum, spring onions and carrot.I have a long video call with Mahen, then a comfortable evening with my book. I devour free e-books from the library.Total spend: A$0

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Sarah Dahia

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