Hospitality, leisure and other fun activities are starting to open up again and, after many months without socialising, many of us are looking to make the most of it – in a Covid-safe manner of course. This doesn’t mean you have to ignore your financial goals, however. Here are 5 tips to save money as things open up.
If you’ve been lucky enough to have kept your income over the past year, you may have been able to increase your savings during lockdown. In fact, the Bank of England said an extra £18.5 billion was put into saving accounts in January this year.
Now, there may be a temptation to spend a lot of this money or at the very least stop saving any extra money.
Knowing this may be an issue for lots of people – including me! – I’ve complied 5 tips to save money as things open up.
- Create a ‘fun’ budget
- Upcycle and re-style
- Look for deals and cheap alternatives
- Pay yourself first
- Increase your pension contributions
Create a ‘fun’ budget
Don’t deprive yourself completely. Accept that you’re going to spend some money and budget for it.
Work out how much you can afford to spend each month, without compromising your saving goals and set this aside for fun activities.
Some people find it helpful to have a separate account they transfer these funds into. This can stop you going over budget and leaving you short for bill payments and necessary expenditures.
Others prefer to keep track using a spreadsheet or an app. Monzo, for example, lets you separate your money into different ‘pots’. This helps you see how much money you have to spend on different things.
While things are just starting to open up, you may want to increase your ‘fun’ budget temporarily. There’s no point in making yourself feel guilty for spending a little more than normal when you haven’t been able to go out for so long.
Just make sure to keep the increase temporary. You don’t want your ‘fun’ budget to keep increasing indefinitely, as over time this will start to impact your saving goals.
Upcycle and re-style
The temptation can be there to want to buy lots of new outfits for going out.
Firstly, right now it’s so cold – and we have to be outside – all you need is a big coat and maybe a blanket! Any new outfits will be wasted as no one will get to see them.
Hopefully in a few weeks or so we’ll be allowed inside again, or at least the weather will warm up!
Then you may well want to make sure you have some nice outfits. Before you splash out on a shopping spree, take another look at your wardrobe.
Maybe you can restyle some old items of clothing by pairing a different top with a different skirt or trousers. Alternatively, try some new accessories – these tend to be much cheaper than buying a whole new outfit!
If you do decide to buy some new items, look at second hand alternatives. Try sites like Depop, these tend to be much cheaper than buying items new.
As a bonus, you can sell some of your old items on these sites and make some extra cash for yourself!
Look for deals and cheap alternatives
Despite everything being closed for so long, there are still lots of deals out there.
Searching for deals and getting a good discount is a great idea. But, don’t scrounge on tipping staff. Most have been on furlough for a long time and work hard to make sure we have a good time. Make sure to tip them well if you possibly can.
If you’re looking for a cheap option, why not have a night in – or in the garden at least?
You can have a few friends round for a BBQ in the garden without spending half as much as you would on a meal out.
After so long without socialising, most people are far more concerned about seeing their friends and family again rather than what they’re doing or where they’re going!
Pay yourself first
Set up direct debits into your savings and investment accounts for pay day or the day after.
This way you won’t be tempted to spend the money you planned on saving. It’ll be gone before you even have time to think about it!
If this is a new concept for you, start small. Don’t try and save 50 or 60 percent of your pay cheque in your first go. You don’t want to be left short by the end of the month and have to dip into your savings to make ends meet.
Even if you only manage to put aside £20 or £30 a month at first, this is a really good start. The important thing is making this a habit. As your income increases, you can hopefully increase your savings too.
Increase your pension contributions
One of my favourite tips to save money as things open up is to increase your pension contributions.
You may not see the benefit of increasing your pension contributions for a long time, but it will really benefit you when you do reach retirement.
Even adding an extra £20 a month will make a big difference to you. That works out to be an extra £240 a year.
If you invest that much for 30 years – roughly how long your pension might sit for – you could end up with an extra £27,758. This is based on average FTSE 100 returns and will depend on how your pension is invested.
But, either way this is a simple way to increase your savings.
If you found this post interesting, please like it and share across social media or send it to your friends. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and experiences. What are your top tips to save money as things open up? Have you spent more in the past few weeks? What would you recommend others do? Share your thoughts below!
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