Lockdown has affected everyone’s money differently. Some people are spending more, some are saving more and some people have been unfortunate enough to face losing their job or receive a reduced pay on furlough, so our money situations are very different from before.
Coming out of lockdown offers lots of opportunities to spend your money and see your friends and family. If you’re worried about what this means for your spending habits, we’ve put together a few tips to help you adjust.
Setting up a direct debit to transfer money from your pay check to your savings account at the beginning of the month is a handy way to save. If you can’t see the money in your account, you can’t spend it! Out of sight, out of mind.
Some of us haven’t needed to think about money as much whilst being at home. The costs of commuting, coffees, lunches and general spontaneity haven’t been a part of our outgoings for some time. With everything starting up again it’s a good idea to incorporate these costs into a budget, even if it’s just to re-discover how much everything costs again! Understanding where your money is going is the first step to financial wellbeing. If budgeting sounds like work, our app makes it easy. You’ll be able to easily see where your money is going and where you might be spending more than you thought.
It’s tempting to go out and do ALL of the things that are now available to do. But remember your habits before lockdown and look back at how much you spent on socialising then. If you haven’t already got a cash safety net (3 months of living costs), lockdown and COVID have been a very difficult time for a lot of people and highlighted the importance of having one. If you already have one, be wary of dipping into it for having a good time. The peace of mind gained from having a cash safety net will help you have an even better time, even if you have to say no sometimes.
Within the chaotic whirlwind of re-openings and the collective social pressure to go OUT, it’s a good idea to take a moment now and again to check in with yourself. There’s a lot of big changes happening very quickly and you don’t have to be 100% comfortable with all of them. If being in a loud pub garden isn’t doing it for you quite like it used to, that’s okay. If you’re honest with yourself about what you are and aren’t enjoying, you’ll spend less money trying to have fun. So you can save more money to do what you’d really like to do.
We know hospitality has been heavily hit by COVID and needs our support. No-shows are not okay and significantly harm businesses, especially independents. If you decide to cancel, try your best to give as much notice as possible. Or even better, pass your reservation off to some friends. Win-win.
Right now, making reservations for restaurants is as competitive as trying to secure Glastonbury tickets. The rush and excitement are understandable. But don’t get caught out by high minimum spends. Depending on where you’re booking, these can be as high as £75-£100 per person. Also look for cancellation Ts&Cs, where it could state that if you cancel without giving enough notice, the card you made the booking with could be charged per person (sometimes up to £30!). Generally speaking, if you need to give your card details to make the booking, double check the terms.
Whatever it is that you end up doing, appreciate it and enjoy it. Having fun is overdue and absolutely deserved. If you are in a fortunate position where you can afford to go out and enjoy yourself, do just that. Be kind to yourself and forgive yourself if you spend a little more than you intended to.
If you’d like to share how you’re handling lockdown ending and how that’s affected your money, please tweet us @openmoneyUK