With lockdown ending soon, how can you keep saving money?
We’ve all heard it before, ‘lockdown was a pain but at least I didn’t spend much money’. While this certainly isn’t the case for everyone, many have found the past 18 months a great opportunity to grow that nest egg. With bars and restaurants closed, and commuting off the cards for most of us, it’s been easier to take the cheap option. But all this is about to end.
Despite the extension of Covid restrictions due to the Delta variant, there's light on the horizon. Barring an incredibly unfortunate turn of events, the 19th of July spells the beginning of the end for social distancing, face masks and needing to book a pub 6 months in advance.
But freedom comes at a cost. All the indulging that needs to be caught up on could severely eat into that nice chunk of cash you’ve built up. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have some rules in place to prevent that from happening. We've put together our top 5 tips for not going broke when lockdown is lifted.
Ditch the gym
The last year and a half have forced us to adapt to new surroundings. With the gym being closed, the Great British public needed to change their habits. The outdoors presented a fantastic opportunity to get in shape for free. Throw in the minimal cost of some resistance bands and a few dumbbells and getting in shape never looked so affordable.
As soon as gyms opened again, the population flocked back in huge numbers. For those that found their homes and local parks suitable venues for fitness the question should be: Is a gym membership is necessary at all?
Much like al-fresco fitness, enjoying food and drink in the comfort of our own homes became a necessity during the more stringent periods of lockdown. While takeaway pints and food brought back fleeting memories of what it was like to be normal, many of us out there took similar comfort from a home cooked meal and a bottle of corner shop plonk. We’re never going to say that staying in offers the same experience, but it can be a far more frugal way to spend an evening. Making sure you keep honing those once questionable but now quite delicious meals you concocted during the dark days makes staying in on a Friday night far more palatable.
Enjoy a staycation
We all miss holidays. A cosy caravan in Cornwall, while holding a certain charm, is unlikely to spark interest like a sun-soaked Spanish coast. Sadly the prospects for going away in the immediate future remain bleak. Requirements for covid tests, quarantines and trouble getting home all make holidays seem more trouble than they're worth.
Our advice? The staycation. The UK has plenty to offer and as long as you can find somewhere that isn’t booked (and the weather holds out) you can have a fantastic time.
Keep to good saving habits
Those of us that were lucky enough to remain employed or furloughed during lockdown may have been able to stick away a more significant chunk of cash than they might have before. As we have slowly been getting back to normal this has been more and more difficult with the eventual lifting of covid restrictions presenting a real challenge. Trying to keep hold of these good practises now that pubs and restaurants are open is a challenge to say the least.
It’s important to note that when July 19th does hit, you should allow yourself a little bit of a splurge, we’ve all earned it. The difficulty lies in reigning things back to a good level after the initial excitement has worn off. If you can do it you’ll be glad you did and hopefully pleasantly surprised at how you’ve learnt to live on less.
Earmark a set portion of your salary that you’re able to stick away each month and set up a direct debit to a savings account or ISA. Be reasonable when you budget this as you don’t want to punish yourself or feel bad about having to dip into your savings each month, all because you’ve been a bit optimistic with how much you can spare.
This one is a little more tricky than most as it isn’t entirely within your power and doesn’t apply to all people.
While many businesses want to promote flexible working, quite a few are planning for employees to return to the office. Keeping yourself working from home for at least a significant part of the week however will do wonders to help save on travel costs.
This being said, it is important to make sure you do what is right for you. Seeing co-workers and re-joining the social aspect of a role will help to boost spirits for many and prevent isolation at home. That’s why it’s important to find a balance. To toe this fine line, many people will be opting for a split work week. Some days at home, to save money, time and get well acquainted with your biscuit tin, combined with a couple days in the office to distract your favourite colleagues. Win win.