We’ve spoken to a range of our experts from all over our organisation and come up with some handy money saving tips, to get you through post lockdown read on to find out more.
The coronavirus pandemic has created strain in virtually every area of our lives – affecting our mental health, our working patterns, our childcare arrangements and, in some cases, our job security.
All of the above, however, can also contribute to additional demands on our finances and affect our ability to earn and save. For this reason, we’ve tried to gather together a few suggestions for making better use of your money during this difficult period.
Don’t keep paying for things you don’t need
The early days of the coronavirus lockdown involved a complete change of lifestyle, with many of us having to home school children for the first time and provide higher levels of entertainment for the home. This may have resulted in the purchasing of educational apps or television subscriptions to help keep up. In many cases however children (and you) may have exhausted the value you have been getting from them. Take some time every month to check your direct debits, app subscriptions and outgoing payments to assess what you really need.
Consider selling some of the things you’ve collected
Computer games and board games were just two of the few industries that increased their profits during lockdown, and it’s easy to see why. Why not get rid of any impulse purchases that may be clogging up shelf space, and take of advantage of the increased market for these items (and others such as clothes) by considering whether you can sell them on via online auction sites once you’ve got the value out of them?
Cut your own hair!
The early stages of lockdown created a situation where, for the first time in many people’s lives, they didn’t have access to hairdressers or barbers. In doing so many of discovered a flair for it so, if you or any member of your family doesn’t require too much styling, you could use what you’ve learned during lockdown and look into doing it yourself, or drafting a friend in to help once guidelines allow it.
If you can’t sell it… repair it!
Items such as clothes can often be repaired or modified quite easily, and what’s more, doing so can save you money, help reduce landfill, and provide you with a great sense of achievement. The guardian produces a “how to mend” series which provides simple instructions for mending commonly damaged items like trousers, tables lamps and even cracked mobile phones. Take a look at it here.
Take a list to the supermarket
Supermarkets also saw a boost in their profits during lockdown, as many customers tried to cut down their exposure to the virus by shopping in bulk as few times as possible. If, like many, you’ve seen your shopping bill soar there’s one sure-fire way to keep costs down… ensure you’ve written a list beforehand. This prevents impulse buys, protects you against product packaging (which is designed to part you from your money) and ensures you only get what you need. This is especially useful in tandem with our next point.
“Having a meal planner allows you to go into the supermarket forewarned and thus prevent the dreaded impulse buy”
Consider using a meal planner
For many families lockdown has meant providing more meals for children who would have been eating at school normally. This can create a lot of pressure to ensure you provide a varied, interesting diet that also doesn’t put too much pressure on your bank balance. Having a meal planner allows you to go into the supermarket forewarned (and thus prevent the dreaded impulse buy) but also acts as a memory aid when planning future meals, as you can scan through past weeks for inspiration. Some apps allow you to share the planning with your partner, and can fill in a shopping list automatically, which might be useful for those who remain busy with work. You can even combine your shopping list with your meal planner and plan meals around items that you see on sale while you shop!
Don’t be tempted to start eating out again
As lockdown restrictions are gradually lifted restaurants are re-opening, and it can be tempting to start eating out again. While this is a nice thing to do for a treat, it can be easy to slip back into old habits and buy food and drinks unnecessarily. By continuing to cook meals at home or take picnics out you can save a lot of money.
If you are struggling to pay your mortgage due to Covid-19 affecting your income, you can apply for a mortgage payment holiday. This will provide flexibility in repaying your mortgage by allowing you to either stop or reduce your monthly payments. You can also apply for a loan or credit card payment holiday until 31st October 2020. Although these options could help to ease some financial pressure they won’t be suitable for everyone and you will still have to pay interest. If you’re struggling, contact your bank or lender to find out more and see if this is an option for you.
Paying your rent
If your ability to pay your rent has been affected by Covid-19, you should speak to your landlord as soon as possible and try to agree a plan that works for you both. Hopefully most landlords will show some understanding, but this isn’t always the case. If it gets to the point that you’re in rent arrears and can’t agree a way forward together, The Coronavirus Act 2020 mean that until the 30th September 2020, most landlords will not be able to start possession proceedings unless they have given their tenants three-months’ notice. For more detail read the Governments Guidance.
Consider an alternative to holidaying abroad
For some families, a yearly trip abroad is both a motivation to work and a valuable respite from it, but this year is likely to be far from standard. Although there may be some bargains to be had, the restrictions on travel abroad mean more competition, which is likely to push costs up. COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere soon either, which means holidaying may look very difficult in the short term. This all adds up to an uncertain environment that isn’t friendly to those on a budget. Instead, why don’t you read our article about staycations to see if you can manage an innovative break on a budget?
Use your contacts to find money-saving tips
Family members, friends and colleagues are a valuable resource to help you save money, and pooling your knowledge allows you to share the best tips to get the most bang for your buck. It’s also worth joining local social media groups for lots of great tips and advice for local days out. Those living in the same place might also know about nature trails and activities, as was the case in the recent blog by Mum Hannah on our site.
If you’re struggling with managing your finances or you’re feeling in need of some support or guidance during the COVID-19 outbreak, get in touch with our FamilyLine helpline for free.