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Creativity, cooking and comparison sites: How to save money while you’re spending more time at home

It’s safe to say that things are a little different at the moment. Not only has our way of life changed, our general outlook and priorities may have also shifted. As lockdown starts to loosen a little and we all get a breather from the endless video quizzes, you may find yourself looking at your bank balance and thinking it looks a bit different – maybe even for the better.

If you’re wondering: How can I save some more money? And how can I make sure I come out of this situation feeling more financially confident? We’ve got some tips and tricks to inspire you to start building up your nest egg whilst you’re spending more time at home.

Check in on your budget

We hear that collective sigh! It might not be the most fun activity, but chances are your spending has changed in the last couple of months. It’s a good idea to see what you were spending your money on before lockdown vs what you’re spending on now. Knowing this is a great starting point for some of the things we’re going to suggest, and it could help you feel more in control of your finances.

Does your budget need to be a ring binder full of every transaction you’ve ever made? Absolutely not. However, a basic budget can be really helpful when you’re looking for places you can save, even if it’s just a quick tot up of all your essential expenses.  

We’ve created a whole article on the subject of budgets with some helpful tips to help you get started on creating your own.

Get refunds for cancelled events

Sipping cocktails in Crete might not be on the cards anymore, but there are things you can do to try and get your money back for cancelled trips. If you’re holiday has been put on hold, many tour operators are giving you the option to get a voucher, move it to a date in the future, or even get a full refund which you can add to your savings account.

The same is happening for many other events, like concerts or theatre tickets, so it’s worth checking your calendar to see what you had booked in and contacting the organiser to discuss your options.

Save on meals out

Imagine the money you’d save if you just ate the food you had in the fridge. In the past it’s always been tempting to go for a meal out instead of cooking, but with many restaurants closed for the time being, now is the time to test those culinary skills.

Really don’t feel like facing the kitchen today? See if there’s a local takeaway you can support. If you’ve factored the occasional treat into your budget, you don’t have to feel bad about taking the night off and ordering a tikka masala.

Buying work lunches can quickly add up to a sizeable chunk of your budget, too. A £5 meal deal can quickly turn into £140 a month. So if you’re currently working from home, you could use this time to master your meal prep and find a tasty, nutritious packed lunch that you can take into work, when you return. You could even put the money you’d usually spend on work lunches into a savings account, to give you extra motivation to make your own meals.

Review those subscriptions

If you’re at home and still not reading the magazine you subscribe to, you should probably look to cancel it. £10 here and there might not seem like a huge amount, but of you have a few subscriptions, it can soon add up.

You might find that some of your subscriptions have been put on pause due to coronavirus, for example a gym membership, cinema card, or sports TV subscription. You could place the money from these subscriptions into a separate savings account and watch your nest egg add up.

Resist the urge to have an online splurge

The temptation to have an online splurge is high right now, especially with lots of ‘lockdown sales’ going on, but stay strong! Chances are you might well be spending because you’re bored… 

To help bust that boredom, why not have a look online and see if there’s a community project you could get involved with instead? From making face masks out of old clothes, to writing letters for those isolated in care homes, there’s a whole heap of volunteering opportunities that might feel more rewarding than splurging on a new outfit. Plus, you can add the money you would have spent to your savings, so it’s a win-win situation!

Journalist and author, Alex Holder, recently gave us some advice on how to control those lockdown shopping urges. Find out what she had to say about avoiding the lure of internet shopping.

Switch it up

We’re all spending a lot more time at home, which might be increasing those utility bills. Why not see if you can find a cheaper deal elsewhere? Comparison sites are a good place to start – it only takes 5 minutes to see if there’s money to be saved.  

If you have to work from home, you may be able to claim tax relief for some of the extra bills you have to pay.  You can only claim for things to do with your work, for example, business telephone calls or the extra cost of gas and electricity. Alternatively your employer can pay you up to £6 a week (£26 a month) tax free to cover your additional costs.

Reassure yourself

It’s perfectly normal to feel stressed or anxious about the future right now. Spending some time researching what help is available and getting a plan for the future in place, might put your mind at rest. You can see what support we’re currently offering here. And remember, we’re only ever a phone call away if you need us – any time of day of night.

Have you got some weird and wonderful money-saving tips? Be sure to share them with us on our social media channels – we’d love to hear from you! 


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