We’re stuck in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, so I’ll start by saying: do not beat yourself up for having down days or feeling like you’re not being wholly productive.
If baking sourdough breads or running 5km challenges isn’t your thing, there are other small tasks you can set your mind to, which will make you feel like you’ve still been making the most of this time in lockdown.
Why not use this spare time to get your finances in check? So, when we come out the other side of quarantine, you’ll hopefully have some extra money to enjoy with your family. Here’s our top 5 money-saving tactics to think about during quarantine:
Assess your current spending
Now, I know this doesn’t sound like a thrilling way to spend a morning, but this laborious task will be worth it.
Go through your current monthly spending and establish the necessary outgoings vs. the nonessential splurges. Mortgages or rent payments, household utility bills and weekly food shops all have to remain, but could the subscription to that gardening magazine you signed up to in 2009 be cancelled?
Just think, those extra pennies that you save now can go towards a well-deserved holiday once the non-essential travel ban has been lifted.
The 50-30-20 rule
If you’re committed to rearranging your finances in order to save some money, following the 50-30-20 rule is a great place to start. To successfully use this technique, spending should be split into the following three categories:
1) 50% - ‘your needs’
This section comprises half the money you make after tax, and is used to pay essential bills such as your rent, mortgage, insurance.
2) 30% - ‘your wants’
Here at Caxton, we like to call this the enjoyable section; 30% of your salary should be set aside for spending that isn’t deemed as essential. For example, the oat-milk latte from your favourite coffee shop, TV subscriptions, gym memberships and clothing would all fall into this category.
3) 20% - ‘your savings’
Last but no means least is the 20% category - your savings. It’s advised that 20% of your salary (after tax) is put in savings for the future, investing, emergency funds or debt repayments.
Working through your current spends and placing them into these three categories will help you with future budgeting, even if you don’t completely follow the 50/30/20 ratio.
Set aside usual commuting costs
Unfortunately, this tip will only apply to those that are not considered a key worker.
For anyone that has the luxury of working from home, commuting is no longer a daily burden or cost at the moment. If we’re trying to look for a silver lining in these unprecedented times, this means no longer cramming into the Northern Line carriage or sitting in an hour-long traffic jam on the M25 before work.
It also means that we can put aside our usual commuting costs, whether that be the £30 petrol each week or the daily tube pass - everything adds up!
Roll your holiday budget over
Many of us will have had to cancel holidays this year, and as disappointing as this may feel, it means we can look forward to an even better holiday next year. We can use this time indoors to start thinking about where we should go once this is all over, and use it as a beacon of hope for what’s on the other side.
If you want to ensure that your money is put aside for a holiday, you could sign up to a Travel Savings Plan. They’re a straightforward, simple way to ensure that you’re slowly building up a holiday kitty for an immense trip next year, once the non-essential travel ban has been lifted.
It also enables you to lock in an exchange rate, when the market is working in your favour. With the present market volatility, this could ultimately save you quite a wad!
Seeing 2021’s holiday kitty building up could be the motivation you need to keep you going throughout this lockdown.
Sell your unwanted items
As we’re stuck inside, this is a prime time to make our homes a haven, or somewhere that we can actually enjoy spending the majority of our day.
A great way to get some extra cash AND clear out your house is by selling your unwanted household items or clothing.
Go through everything in your house and establish what you actually use, and what’s merely collecting dust.
You can sell anything that’s in good condition on outlets such as eBay, Depop, Shpock or Gumtree. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to earn some extra funds!
It can be hard to stay motivated during this pandemic. One way to keep our brain active during this time, which will ultimately benefit us economically, is spending some time structuring our finances.
You will reap the rewards of implementing these 5 simple money-saving steps, once this is all over. Let’s all give ourselves something to look forward to.