If you’re one of those lucky enough to be working from home during this time, you may be surprised at how much you’re saving.
As the world has come to a standstill, so have our typical spending habits. And it’s laid bare how much the little things add up. Which of these have made the biggest difference for you?
While we might be missing our routine, our colleagues and the separation of home and work, we probably aren’t missing our commute.
Commuting into/around London, for example, costs workers around a fifth of their annual salary (not to mention a chunk of time at either end of the day). While that might be a city extreme, every mile you drive or bus you take costs you money, wherever you’re going. So, wherever you are, by not travelling for now, you’re automatically saving money.
If you have a travel ticket that you’re not able to use at the moment, lots of train companies (like TFL and trainline, to name a couple) are offering refunds or exchanges.
When you just ‘pop into the shops’ not knowing what you want, it’s easy to pick up lots of things you fancy that are quick and easy (especially if you’re hungry), which tends to be more expensive than doing a planned weekly shop.
Having a weekly shopping list and meal plan is a generally reliable way of saving money on groceries each week. The lockdown is forcing lots of us into this way of shopping, as we’re not able to visit the shops as often. While it might feel like you’re spending more in one go on a big shop, you might be surprised to find you’re actually spending less than if you popped to the shops every day.
It’s been reported that we spend nearly £2,500 per year on buying lunch… and those stats are from 2015, so add five years worth of inflation on top and you’ve got a lot of dough wrapped up in those sandwiches...
Add to that whatever you might spend eating out at a restaurant, grabbing coffees (not to mention trips to the pub), giving the kids lunch money, and you’re looking at quite a hefty sum. While it isn’t ideal, of course, being at home eliminates a lot of these possibilities and encourages us to get creative (dalgona coffee, anyone?) and get cooking.
Unfortunately while we might be saving by not visiting our local foodie hotspots, those businesses might be struggling. You could use some of those accidental savings to support them, like checking if they’re delivering at the moment while premises are closed.
While we’re all staying home and not going to the cinema, the theatre, the gym, the pub, the climbing centre, or wherever it is you find yourself spending your time (and, in all likelihood, money), you’re maybe getting more creative with what to do with your spare time.
Maybe you’re melting down the wax from old candles and repurposing it into new ones, maybe you’re baking cakes with the kids that you haven’t made since you were little yourself, maybe you’re redecorating your entire downstairs, or simply dusting off those board games that have sat on the shelf “for another evening”. Getting creative with how you spend your time isn’t only good for your wellbeing, it’s good for your money, too.
You’ve got some time on your hands… and it’s made you realise that you actually never use two of the three streaming services you pay for, so you could keep one and cancel the others. Maybe you normally treasure your Amazon prime for next day delivery, but that’s sort of out of the question for a few months, so you could temporarily stop your membership (if you pay monthly) and pocket the fee.
Taking a few minutes to have a good look at your subscriptions can be a great way to save in the short and long-term. You might find subscriptions you haven’t used in years, or ones you normally always use but can’t right now (lots of gyms have paused memberships for now, but it’s worth double checking and chasing them if they haven’t). You can cancel and pause subscriptions until you want them again, and repurpose those pounds.
Have you found any other regular costs have suddenly stopped because of the current situation? Or noticed any other areas you’ve been saving? Do you think you’ll go back to all your old spending habits? Let us know on social or in our community.