With all the difficulties that have come from the Coronavirus, it’s important to focus on the positive outcomes too. Now, more than ever, we finally have time to stop. To think. To reflect. Now, more than ever, we are equipped to evaluate our habits and move forward in a more positive way.
Here are ten ways to overhaul your priorities and finances during lockdown…
1. Make a budget
Set a monthly budget for essentials and non-essentials, such as clothes or beauty products, and stick to it! Look through your finances, and reassess what you have or haven’t missed during lockdown, and take the time to make saving goals for the things you enjoy. If nothing else, this situation has proved that life is too short not to do whatever it is that makes you happy.
With a clear budget, you’ll think more carefully about what you actually need, and this can help you to free up cash for the more important things. When life gets back to normal, what is it you most want to do?
2. Cancel what you don’t need
End subscriptions or memberships that you hardly use, or have been easily able to do without during lockdown. For instance, if you’ve been paying out £50 a month for the gym, and have enjoyed free online classes or taken up running or cycling instead, why not make the change permanent? Exercise doesn’t have to cost a penny and the money could be used elsewhere.
3. Change your eating habits
Plan your weekly meals to make sure that there’s always something to eat in the house, and have a little junk food in the freezer for when you’re short of time and craving a pizza! It’s much cheaper to cook your own food, and usually a lot healthier too. Click here for meal planning tips.
I’ve been using lockdown to try new recipes and have found that some of our favourite foods are actually really simple to cook. Keeping things tasty and interesting has meant that we haven’t missed eating out or takeaways, and it’s a change that will certainly be permanent.
4. Don’t auto-renew
For insurances and other monthly payments, use your extra time wisely to shop around online to get the best deals available. You could reduce your outgoings by hundreds of pounds every month without a single change to your lifestyle! Remember to use Quidco too, for an added bonus – cashback bonuses on these sorts of things are usually really high. For more info on Quidco, click here.
5. Declutter your home
Imagine being able to wipe your kitchen and bathroom, dust your house and hoover without having to waste time tidying first. Letting go of the things we don’t need is a great way to simplify the housework and save us time. Click here for my four step decluttering guide.
And, once you get into the ‘less is more’ mindset, you’ll be reluctant to re-introduce clutter into your life. This is great news for your bank balance, as you’re more likely to avoid impulse buying! Once you become more mindful of what comes into your home, you’ll be wondering where you will put each purchase, how much use it will get and most likely decide not to purchase things you don’t need or love. So, use this time to get on top of the house.
6. Sell what you don’t need
Once you’ve decluttered, sell the items you no longer need. It’s amazing how quickly £10 here and there can add up, and you might even have some items that could fetch a decent amount of cash. Keep things safe by posting sold items or use contactless collection – making sure that everything is disinfected first.
Alternatively, store everything you would like to sell for the time being and you can always get rid of it when it’s easier and safer to do so. Social media selling pages are usually a great place to start, as you can sell for free, with eBay being better for branded or more niche items. Click here for tips on how to make the most of eBay.
7. Assess your debt and savings
If you’re making savings whilst being at home, put that money to good use by clearing outstanding debts. Interest makes up such a huge part of most debt, so even paying off small amounts of money can make a significant difference in the long-term.
Use your time to move money around too, and switch credit card debt to cards with 0% interest offers. When the interest is lessened, it allows the money paid off each month to actually tackle the debt itself.
8. Reassess your luxuries
Aside from a yearly eyebrow top-up, my only beauty expense is a haircut about 3 times a year. But, some of my friends usually have their hair and nails done every few weeks, as well as brow tints, facials, waxing and all sorts of other expensive treatments. What this situation has shown is that so many of these things can be done at home, or just not done at all!
They’ve saved a fortune already, and now’s a great time to think carefully about whether permanent changes can be made. For instance, just painting your own nails could save you £20 a month. And, colouring your own hair, or using a root touch-up kit to extend the time between expensive hair appointments, could save you hundreds of pounds each year. Take the time to reassess what you can do without. For more beauty money saving tips, click here.
9. Reduce your waste
With the bare supermarket shelves that we faced at the start of lockdown, this situation has really shown the importance of food, and how much we take it for granted. Studies show that we waste 33% of the food we buy, which is bad news for our hard-earned cash and the planet, and there couldn’t be a better time to make some necessary changes.
With less frequent supermarket trips, I’ve had to cook more creatively and make the most of our leftovers. As we try to avoid the supermarket for as long as possible, this has certainly made everyone even more conscious of reducing waste. Click here for tips on how to make the most of your leftovers.
10. Change what you value
Lockdown has certainly had some positive effects on my life already, allowing me to see what’s really important. I hope that others will reflect too, and make some permanent changes to their lifestyles. Slowing down is good for our well-being, as well as our bank balance.
We’ve realised what and who are important in our lives, and how often we took for granted spending time with those we love the most. It’s not the expensive meals out that we are missing, but the people we enjoyed sharing those evenings with. Time and love don’t cost a penny, but they are certainly our most valuable assets.