7 ways to save during the COVID lockdown
For many people, the “rainy day” they’ve been saving for has finally come. But if you don’t have a nest egg set aside just yet, don’t worry! We’ve put together seven simple ideas that could help you save money during the COVID crisis.
Set yourself a budget
Our first tip may very well be the most important: set yourself a budget. A budget gives you a simple way of managing your outgoings based on your income, so you can figure out the bare minimum you need to get by on. When you’ve got that, you’ll have a good idea of how much money you could afford to put aside each month. You’ll also be able to see areas where you could even cut back a little.
You can set yourself an overall spending budget in Yolt – or create budgets for different categories, like “Groceries” and “Shopping”.
Claim “working from home expenses”
Most of us are now working from home, and you may be surprised at how much money that could save you. Stow away your usual commuting costs and you should find yourself better off – you could even put your savings towards next year’s travel card.
But did you know you may also be eligible to claim tax relief on some of your added working from home expenses? You can also apply for a “working from home allowance” to help with the increased cost of electricity and gas.
Track bills and delete old subscriptions
Lots of subscription services offer up great trial offers. While a new service is always fun, make sure you’re only paying for the ones you use. Afterall, it’s easy to subscribe for that “free” month, and then forget you’ve signed up at all.
You can save money quickly by sorting the wheat from the chaff, and rooting out those services you signed up to on a whim (here's looking at you, bacon delivery services), but don’t use. Don’t overlook that gym membership – it isn’t doing you any good right now!
You can see where your money’s really going by categorising your transactions in Yolt. You never know, you may stumble across subscriptions you’d forgotten about.
Once you’ve sorted your outgoings, it’s time to put something aside. If you do this on payday, or as close to it as possible, you won’t even miss that “missing” money.
When it comes to paying yourself, be reasonable. Don’t attempt to put aside everything you have left over in your budget, as there’s bound to be an unexpected hiccough or two before payday. Also, you’re going to want to treat yourself along the way too, and that’s okay!
We know it’s not always possible, but a good saving approach is the 50/30/20 split:
- Put aside 50% of your salary for essential spending, like bills
- Stow away 30% for treating yourself
- Stash the remaining 20% in a savings account
There’s a world of choice when it comes to savings. You can look into high-interest options with our in-app partners Raisin, and choose from either a flexible access account, or a fixed-term saver. While you can get a better interest rate with fixed-term accounts, don’t forget you won’t be able to access that money until it matures.
Things can change quickly so try to consider when you may need access to your money and pick an account that best suits your needs.
Look to get money back
Booked your summer holiday already? Or bought tickets to a festival? If it’s been cancelled, you should investigate reclaiming your money. According to spending insights gleaned from our app, from the end of January to the end of March, there was a 247% increase in the volume of refunds issued by airline and holiday companies.
Try not to despair if this year’s vacation gets cancelled, as you could always pay yourself forward and put the money you get back toward next year’s trip. Nothing beats planning a holiday, after all.
And while you may have saving on the mind, you’ll still be spending on the essentials (and the odd treat here and there too). When shopping online, try using browser plugins to get the best deal possible; some will even give you cashback on your purchases.
Switch your energy supplier
One of the most over-looked ways of saving is one of the simplest, and also offers great levels of potential returns. By regularly switching energy suppliers or checking to see if you could get a better deal on your internet provider, you could save yourself hundreds of pounds a year. Month-to-month, that may seem like you’re only saving a few quid, but put that into your savings account and the benefits soon add up!
At Yolt, we’ve made it as simple as possible for you to scour the options offered by different providers by teaming up with MoneySuperMarket. You can compare deals with just a couple of taps in the app!
If you’ve been impacted by the COVID crisis, you may be able to claim a payment holiday on your mortgage and car repayments, or reduce them temporarily. Help’s also available for those who rent.
While these schemes can help ease cashflow in the short term, they may not be appropriate for everyone. You should discuss taking a payment holiday with your lender or financer directly. Try not to cancel your direct debit though, as this could count as a missed payment! Just don’t forget you’ll need to pay the deferred money back in the future.
That’s all for now. Remember to stay at home whenever possible and, most importantly, stay safe.