Needless to say, Covid-19 has had a serious impact on our daily lives. The way we work and socialise has changed, and this has definitely affected our personal finances. We’ve asked our team to share their financial experience during lockdown. Here’s how the pandemic has impacted their finances and relationship with money.
Rosie French, Senior Marketing Communications Manager
“As a full-time working mum to a toddler, we normally pay around £1,000 a month for childcare – which is just as painful as it sounds! We were very fortunate during the three months of lockdown that our nursery didn’t charge us a holding fee to retain our daughter’s place, so we were able to save much more in that short space of time than we’d usually be able to. Having bought our first home at the end of last year, this provided us with the perfect opportunity to make headway on some of the jobs we’ve needed to do to complete our home. Now she’s back at nursery, but since my husband and I are both still working from home, we continue to save more than usual thanks to using considerably less petrol and enjoying home-prepped lunches. We’ve taken this opportunity to put aside an extra £100 a month into our Stocks & Shares ISA towards future work on the house!”
Chris Jones, Project Manager
“It’s difficult to say what impact Covid-19 and lockdown have had on my finances. I’ll never know if I’m better off since I could have made lifestyle changes in April or May regardless of the pandemic. What I do know, however, is that the way I spend my money has changed.
Having spent the last four or so months working from home, our usual weekly (make that a now twice a week!) food bill has increased quite a bit! We are eating at home, cooking more, buying more expensive, healthier stuff, like fresh fruit and meat. Now throw in treats like ice creams in the mix, and it all adds up! Our utility bills have also increased as we are home all day, and the water bill has shot right up no thanks to the hose pipe and new adult-sized pool I bought!
When lockdown started, we decided to support local businesses. So, it meant trips to bakers, butchers, local takeaways and again, these can sometimes be luxury purchases that perhaps I would have made over a longer period than the last few months. I can also tell you that I have spent more on alcohol! I have ordered more beers from local breweries to support them at an increased price to those in supermarkets which I wouldn’t have done before. Oh, and wine… well, the wine industry owes me some thanks!
I have also spent more on home DIY, including painting the house, inside and out, furnishings, accessories, garden plants, and seeds. The great thing about lockdown is that we’ve had more time to do the jobs we wanted to do.
On the flip side, I have definitely spent less on petrol, clothes, lunches out, and random trips to the high street. But who knows if I am better or worse off? I could have spent all of this anyway, or it may have forced me to change my habits slightly. My waistline tells me I have spent more, but my bank balance looks about right, I reckon.”
David Semmens, Head of Investment Strategy
“We’ve been actively supporting our local shops, which was easy as many of them embraced delivery and upgraded their websites very early on in the C-19 lockdown. This has also meant better planning and less waste. Since we’ve obviously been home significantly more, we’ve attacked our home improvement list with vigour. We’ve ordered new pieces of furniture, including a standing desk, but we’ve also taken a lot of time reviewing photos from past trips to enlarge and remind ourselves of some wonderful experiences. However, as we have not gone anywhere, we’ve been able to put some savings aside for future trips. Personal care-wise, we’ve not spent anything on getting our haircut and the like, but we have been buying nicer wine to complement our home-cooked meals from regions we wish to visit or return to.”
Aleksandra Kraj, Digital Marketing Executive
“With lockdown, I’ve been able to save more money than normal. Since we’re working from home, I no longer have to spend money on public transport or petrol for our car. Also, I’ve stopped buying new clothes – I haven’t made a purchase in months! What’s more, our holidays got cancelled, and luckily, we got that money back. So, we’re saving it for next summer, and hopefully, we’ll be able to go somewhere nice.
On the other hand, I’ve definitely been spending more on food and indulging myself since we’re not able to go on holiday. Now when I go to the supermarket and see something I want (usually not particularly healthy) I just treat myself – I should probably start thinking about stopping my emotional eating habit, but it can wait after lockdown!”
Mark Williams, Customer Relationship Representative
“The whole Covid-19 situation has helped me realise the importance of putting money aside for a rainy day. I’ve been saving more money with lockdown, and I’ve also focused on investing.
My day-to-day life and spending have also changed. Before Covid-19, I was spending a lot on eating out, leisure, and driving long distances to visit places. With lockdown, I haven’t been able to go out or travel as much. So, instead, I’ve spent more time in nature, on the beach, reading, and preparing more fresh food, which has increased my disposable income. I’ve not had a single takeaway in months, and I’m now more aware of how wasteful and unhealthy this habit was. I think lockdown has made me more conscious of how I spend my money and going forward I’m hoping this will pay dividends, not just financially but also in my wellbeing.”
Joe Hickman, Content Writer
“We’ve had quite a positive financial experience through lockdown. At the start of the pandemic, my partner, who was a third-year nursing student, got called to the front line to help in the fight against Covid-19. And, thanks to government changes, she started getting paid for her hospital placements. She’s now a health care support worker, and for the first time in three years, we’re back on two salaries.
At the same time, our ‘going out’ budget got slashed from being pretty small to absolutely nothing at all. We discovered our local greengrocer, which helped drive our food costs down, and found out that our local butcher is cheaper than the supermarket. This meant we went from paying around £60 a week on food to a mere £40, getting significantly better quality while supporting small, local businesses.
But like many people, we got a dog during lockdown, and my partner is now buying a silly number of toys and accessories. So, what we were spending in the pub we’re now spending on the dog. Not a bad trade out – especially as it is definitely better for our mental and physical health in the long run.”
The tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.
Please remember the value of your investments can go down as well as up, and you could get back less than invested.