Scotland reopening: 5 savings tips to control your post-lockdown spending
Scotland reopening: 5 savings tips to control your post-lockdown spending
Since the Scottish Government announced that the hospitality sector would be reopening from Monday the 26th of April, including bars, restaurants, and non-essential retail, there’s been a rush of excitement – as anybody who’s tried to book space in a beer garden will tell you.
However, it seems that for many people, the thought of the country opening back up has been a cause for concern, especially financially.
Why are people concerned about spending?
New research from money app Monese has found that the majority of people in the UK are concerned about what post-lockdown life will do to their spending.
This new research found that more than half of people (51%) were worried about how much more they’ll be spending now that we’re getting closer to normality, with nearly three quarters of people aged 25-34 (71%) being concerned about how they’ll control their costs.
With that in mind, we thought this might be a good time to offer you some helpful tips on how to keep your spending under control as Scotland starts to reopen.
Below are our 5 top tips for saving money in your post-lockdown life.
1. Start with a budget
It may sound boring (and it probably is) but there’s a reason every article about saving money starts with the ‘b’ word. There’s no saving money without first starting with a budget.
The trick to setting yourself a budget (and sticking to it) starts with three simple steps:
- Working out what you have coming in
- Working out what you have going out
- Figuring out the difference between the two
The difference between your income (yearly salary, bonuses, shares, tips) and your outgoings (mortgage, rent, food, transport) is what’s known as your disposable income. This will form the foundation for the ‘having fun fund’ you’ll need when shops, bars, and restaurants open up again on Monday.
It’s not a great idea to assign all of your disposable income to your socialising fund. You might have a whole lot of fun, but you won’t have much to show for it by the end of the month.
Instead, keep aside some of your disposable income for your savings (more on that later) and whatever else you want to keep money for. From there, figure out how much of your remaining disposable income you’d be comfortable using on meeting up with friends, going for food, shopping for clothes, or anything else you’ve been looking forward to getting back to.
Whatever that number is, consider it your socialising budget. Once you have that number in mind, you know you can spend it guilt-free on all the things you’ve been missing out on during a difficult year.
2. Cull expenses from your ‘lockdown life’
Every one of us changed our habits during lockdown, whether it was working from home and clapping for carers, or buying an at-home beer pump and bingeing Netflix originals (Tiger King, anyone?)
Just as we gradually adjusted to life in lockdown, from living local and helping out our neighbours, to creating new exercise regimes that didn’t involve the gym, we’re now having to readjust to something closer to our pre-pandemic lives. That means readjusting financially too.
For the people lucky enough to keep their jobs during lockdown, their spending habits changed. While many people report managing to save more money, there were still extra expenses to keep peoples’ spirits up during what was a difficult time for everyone.
Now that lockdown is being lifted and your spending habits are about to change again, it’s important to cull extra expenses from your ‘lockdown life’.
You can probably cancel that repeat order of kegs for your personal beer pump, for example. Maybe you want to rethink your subscription to an online fitness class now that gyms are opening up again? Whatever expenses you don’t think you’ll need as things get closer to normal, get rid of them.
3. Schedule your socialising
You may have booked up a restaurant or beer garden (or both) for the first week of reopening, and many people will have done the same. It’s completely understandable given this will be the first time many people will have seen certain friends and family members in months.
But it’s important not to get caught up in the reopening rush. It’s easy to feel like the world and their granny are in a Glasgow beer garden while you’re stuck at home, but making reservations here, there, and everywhere is a good way to quickly run out of steam in post-lockdown life.
Try spreading your socialising and spending over the course of the month. If you’re getting a haircut and going for a drink one week, maybe save the trip to your favourite restaurant for the following week.
And don’t fall victim to FOMO – nobody wants to sit it out when their friends are all going to the pub, but when you’re the person who just can’t say no to a day out, you may find the decision taken out of your hands. It’s hard to go to the pub when you’re tight for cash.
4. Try saving what you don’t spend
As we mentioned earlier, we all changed our spending habits during lockdown. With everyone being at home, and conscious of social distancing, contactless card payments exploded in a way they hadn’t before.
While contactless is clearly here to stay, pubs, restaurants, and shops reopening will see the return of something you either love or loathe – spare change.
Whether you’re wrapped up in the romance of the two pence coin, or were glad to stop collecting coins you couldn’t seem to get rid of, the return of cash spending presents you with an opportunity to save.
Just because you’ve set yourself a socialsing budget, doesn’t mean you have to spend every penny of it – and pennies, ten pences, and pound coins are never far off after a day at the pub.
It’s been proven that the most successful savers are those who save little and often, so why not put away any spare change from the restaurant or bar the next time you go out? If you do this consistently over the course of six months or a year you can end up with a reasonable chunk of money, and you won’t even notice it’s gone.
For those of you who are allergic to coins, don’t worry – spare change has gone digital. There are plenty of money-saving apps and challenges that allow you to round up contactless purchases and set aside a few pence here and there to slowly build up your savings pot.
5. Keep your savings sacred
While it’s a great idea to save what you don’t spend on shopping or socialising – either for next month’s going out fund or your future – it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t trust yourself not to dip into your savings during the course of the month.
Your savings should be sacred. Whether you’ve been squirreling money away for a deposit on a home, a holiday when international travel comes back, or just for a rainy day, you’re putting the big picture at risk whenever you dip into your savings for the sake of a pint or a new pair of trainers.
Unless there’s an emergency, leave your savings alone. Set yourself a weekly or monthly budget for going out, and all the things that come with it: a trip to the hairdressers or barbers, new clothes, money for taxis, as well as drinks and food. Once you have, take a hardline approach with yourself.
Anything that’s in your socialising budget is yours to spend however you like. But once you’ve used up your budget? Do your best to protect your savings. There’s always next month.
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