A 31-Year-Old Entrepreneur Shares How Launching a New Business During COVID-19 Is Affecting Her Finances

Photo: Getty Images/FreshSplash

Talking about money with friends and acquaintances may seem like a faux pas, but if there’s any time to tear down that stigma, it’s now. COVID-19 has been financially destructive for millions, making budgeting for healthy habits difficult, if not almost impossible, for many people. That’s where Well+Good’s Checks+Balanced series comes in. Think of it as a space to inspire more open and frank conversations around money—especially regarding how different people are able to afford the wellness habits that are important to them.

The pandemic isn't standing in the way of many people accomplishing their goals and dreams, though. *Teresa, a 31-year-old living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is focused on turning her side hustle into an all-out business. Here, she shares how she is budgeting for her new business costs—while still affording the healthy habits that are important to her—in hopes that she'll see some financial return in the not-so-distant future.

Keep reading to see how one entrepreneur budgets for her healthy habits while launching a business during COVID-19.

launching a business during covid-19
Art: W+G Creative

Teresa, 31, public relations consultant, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Income: $125,000 per year. My main job is as a public relations consultant, and I work with clients in the alternative health and wellness space. I really enjoy it because I get to work with brands that personally excite me. I work for myself, which is a decision I made almost five years ago. Before that, I was an in-house PR director at a music-streaming service. I was yearning for more freedom and flexibility, and thought that my 20s were the perfect time to take the risk. It paid off! I make about $125,000 a year and, more importantly, am in the driver seat of my own career.

I'm also in the process of launching a new career-development platform that helps publicists build their own businesses and collaborate with each other. I've put about $18,000 of my own money into the startup costs in 2020, which included having a website designed, branding and art direction, social media, and some outside assistance from business consultants.

Part of how I've been able to budget for the expenses of launching a business during COVID-19 is because other than a couple road trips, I didn't travel much at all during 2020.

Part of how I've been able to budget for the expenses of launching a business during COVID-19 is because other than a couple road trips, I didn't travel much at all during 2020. That ended up being a major savings, because in other years, I travel quite a bit. I've also been using Ubers a lot less—nowhere to go!—and cooking much more at home, which has also saved money.

Rent: $1,800 per month. I moved to Tulsa a year and a half ago as part of a program called Tulsa Remote. Basically, the program pays people $10,000 to move to Tulsa. I was living in New York City at the time, thinking about moving, and the program provided me a fun incentive. I didn't know anyone in Tulsa, but there were around 80 of us who moved there through Tulsa Remote at the same time, which was a nice built-in social support system. I live in a two-bedroom apartment that's $1,800 a month, which includes parking.

Other recurring expenses: $2,357 per month. I spend about $10,000 a year on business-related expenses. This includes subscription services such as Dropbox, Zoom, Photoshop, Slack, and a membership community platform called Warmintro. I also hire outside help during particularly busy times. I belong to two social clubs—one in Tulsa and one with locations in cities all over the world—that cost about $500 combined a month. Even though I haven't been traveling during the pandemic, it's a bit of a process to get into the social club, and it's a valuable membership to have when I can travel again, so I've kept it.

Outside of these costs, my next biggest expense is my car payment, which is $389 a month, and car insurance, which is $121 a month. I'm also in the process of paying off my credit card debt, which is $200 a month. Other monthly expenses include contributing to my IRA ($100), student-loan payment ($65), utilities bill ($50), Spotify ($10), Netflix ($14), and Amazon Prime ($13). I'm not paying for health insurance right now, but I do pay $56 a month for dental insurance and $16 a month for vision.

Healthy food: $500 per month. I don't follow any specific style of eating, per se, but buying healthy, organic food is important to me. I do the majority of my grocery shopping at Whole Foods, and budget $500 a month for it. Some of the items I buy there are gluten-free tortillas, maca for my morning smoothies, chia seeds, chickpeas to make my own hummus, and lots of veggies.

Fitness: $0. I like to do yoga in the mornings, moving through my own flow or following one on YouTube. I also just love to dance around my apartment, which is free. My apartment building has a gym, but I haven't been using it because of COVID-19. Besides yoga and dancing, I love to go on neighborhood walks and take advantage of Tulsa's hiking trails.

Beauty: $1,285 per year. I'm not really into makeup beyond the basics, but I do like having my hair done, which costs a lot less in Tulsa than it does in New York City. A cut and highlights would cost be $400 there, but in Tulsa, it's $150. I get a cut and highlights twice a year and then a $50 cut two additional times a year. I also pay $60 a month to belong to a spa in Tulsa where I get facials and massages.

Buying all-natural skin-care products is important to me. I make my own serum using grapeseed oil, castor oil, vegetable glycerin, and a variety of essential oils. In terms of makeup, what I wear is very minimal—just tinted moisturizer, mascara, occasionally eyeliner, and some shiny nude eyeshadow.

Self care: $500 per year. I visit an intuitive spiritualist a couple times a year. She's sort of like a career coach who happens to be a psychic, which is a really interesting combination. Each session is $100. I also typically get at least one bodywork treatment—reiki or another kind of energy healing—throughout the year, which runs anywhere between $150 and $250 per session. Usually, travel is a big part of my self-care routine, but I haven't taken any trips during the pandemic, so I've saved money in this way, which has helped me with launching a business during COVID-19.

*Last name withheld. 

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