Lockdown savings

There was a rather interesting headline on Yahoo today, and you know me, anything to save a few bob (source)

Woman who saved £10,000 during first two lockdowns shares her tips for stashing the cash

My five eggs worth says that this article is good for those who are earning good money and are not on a strict budget. Also bear in mind that my personal annual income is less than half this, so the fact that someone can ‘save’ £10,000 in 8 months or so makes me wonder how much they usually spend, let alone what their income is to allow such expenditure!

Quotes from the article are in coloured type

“Some of the super saver’s tricks for putting away more money include cutting back on her spending by freezing her cinema membership card while venues were closed; switching energy providers; using supermarket coupons and cutting her weekly spend on fuel as she began working from home.”

“So, I have saved a lot of money in fuel for my car, going out for dinner, my cinema membership card and just all the stuff that we haven’t been able to do.”

There is also a referral to savings, and that she put her spare money into a savings account, one that is completely separate from her current account. Now this I can certainly identify with as I always worked on the rule of threes: one third of my wages would go on running the house and meeting the bills, another would go into savings, and the remainder was mad money. Savings accounts offer a pittance in interest today (a quarter of one per cent so for every £1000 saved attracts £2.50 in interest per annum) not that I can afford to save anything these days anyway, we tick over with a small cushion.
She also said she’d changed her energy supplier and shopped around for a good WIFI deal.
There are definitely big savings to be made there. We are on fixed rate deals for our heating/light, and landline.

“The couple also saved money by repurposing unloved items and doing jobs themselves instead of paying a professional.”

We did something similar as sellers at car boot sales when we wanted to revamp our kitchen and replace the front fence when we were selling the cottage. We are good at DIY and would do most of the jobs ourselves. However, replacement boilers, anything to do with gas, and full replacement of double gazed panels definitely warranted professional services.

I am not knocking this lady and her savings by any means. Good for her, and I bet she was staggered at the amount of money she was spending without realising it.

The basics are quite simple though:

Make a list of what your outgoings are: ie. bills that HAVE to be paid, like mortgage/rent, council tax, energy bills, water, phone, loans, credit cards etc.
If you have a credit card, take a hard look at what you’re using it for. If you can, clear the balance every month as that way there is no interest to pay. If you can’t at the moment, pay off as large a chunk of the balance as you can afford and don’t carry the card with you when you go out!
Do you really need that gym or club membership?

Do you have the means and time to shop around? We use three or four supermarkets and our food bill for last year was £1781 (Yeah I know, I keep a spreadsheet. It helps, I’m a number cruncher remember!!) We buy certain things from each outlet, not always because they are cheaper, but because they suit us. Also, there are special offers to be had.

Do you have to drive, or can you walk? I was surprised that we almost halved our fuel bill last year but that was because we weren’t doing so many long trips to hospitals or shopping so often and had been walking up to town rather than take the car. Don’t get caught by travelling a few extra miles to save a penny or two a litre. Remember you are using fuel to get there, and if you’ve spent a pound to save 30p, it’s hardly worth it.
Get alternative quotes when your car insurance is due for renewal, but be careful you are getting a ‘like for like’ quote, and that it includes commuting to and from a place of work if necessary. I have also gone back to my original insurer with a lower quote and asked if they can match it rather than have the hassle of switching. Most times they have reduced it to be more in line, if not an exact match. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and the worst they can say is No.

There are umpteen ways of saving money, and they don’t all involve spending hours on the internet or wading your way through pages of printed matter.

At the end of the day, we are all the same :
We have X amount coming in, Y amount has to go out, and hopefully we are left with Z.
How you decide to spend your Z money is entirely up to you of course.


About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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14 Responses to Lockdown savings

  1. Cathy Cade says:

    I, too, have a spreadsheet. It’s always been necessary and I see no reason to stop now, on a pension. Sadly, by the time we’ve taken out those monthly outgoings you mention (power, telecoms, insurance, council rates, water rates, etc) we certainly don’t have either savings or ‘mad money’ left over. The amount I used to estimate for food each month has pretty well doubled since I retired ten years ago (mostly during the past year). Only fuel spending has remained stable as, since lockdown, I don’t go anywhere except shopping.

    • It’s a hard balancing act when you’re on a fixed income. Hubby’s disability was reduced by 60% in 2019, so we reassessed everything, and cut back where we could. We’ve kept our heads above water, but had we rent or a mortgage to pay, would’ve sunk years ago. Hubby won’t qualify for a state pension until the end of 2021 which will replace his disability, and I will get my pension in 2022, which will add extra to our pot as it replaces nothing.

  2. That is awesome on your food expense. We spend much more and do have rent to pay. You have just inspired me to take another look at our grocery spending. 😉

    • There’s only the two of us now, but Maggie’s food was quite reasonable and would last her well over a month, even when we changed it to a senior food which was more expensive. Her ‘share’ was only about a tenner a month.

  3. It is interesting to me how some people think, Di. At risk of being unkind, this is obviously someone who is a big earner and I think it is pretty mean to suspend your cinema card during lockdown – what about all the people whose jobs would be lost if everyone did that. During our lockdown, I continued to pay service providers even through I wasn’t receiving the service. These included our part time domestic help, tennis coach and music teacher. I didn’t want their loss of income on my conscience and I won’t save money earned at someone else’s expense. I earn well so I can afford to do this. Of course, I understand that a lot of people couldn’t do this because they were impacted themselves. This person, however, was not one of those.

    • No problems here Robbie. I agree with you about her earning big money, she would have to be to ‘save’ ten grand on her expenses. I admit I am so out of touch with money these days that I can only go by our own circumstances. Our joint income isn’t much more than her savings, but we manage OK, I suppose because we never had those things in the first place, even when we were both working. It certainly makes you think how other people live and manage. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Always good to hear from you.

  4. murisopsis says:

    Di your common sense approach to finances is refreshing. We are frugal folks and have been able to live well on our part time income (I made just over $5000 dollars last year and my husband made just over $14,000). We will be “rich” when I finally have to take my pension in 2023. Still it doesn’t hurt that we have always been savers and thrifty with household expenses.

    • It’s always been the normal practice for us as we got caught in the negative equity trap with our first house in 1990 and lost thousands of pounds which had to be covered when we eventually moved. We did it too, and after 6 years, were able to start again, meeting all legal fees, necessary deposit and the shortfall.

  5. Carol anne says:

    that’s a bit strange! She must be raking in the money! I mean who in their right mind can save that much in 8 months? A strange one for sure!

    • Depends on what she spends her money on, and I know of a couple who were bringing home over £4000 a month between them after tax, yet they had no savings at all, and spent every penny earned. To be honest, if I had that kind of money at my disposal, I wouldn’t know what to do with it as we’re used to living on a budget!!! Have a good day.

  6. Ian Kay says:

    There’s that programme on telly with that Gregg Wallace, working out how much a family spends on food and suggesting cheaper options. It’s sometimes staggering what can be saved over a year.

    I see there are two general trains of thought. There’s those who just see the cost of something being as little as the price of a high street coffee, while the canny realise that the cost of all those coffees adds up over time. 🙂

    • We don’t have a TV and haven’t had one since 2007. I keep a spreadsheet, and have cut back on our food costs every year since I started it.
      I buy a 1kg pack of lean minced beef and used to divide it into four then freeze it. Now I divide it into five and its still adequate for the two of us. We’ll not be buying dog food this year so that will have an effect too.
      Yep, you buy three cups of coffee out a week at £2 or more a cup, so there’s a saving of over £300 a year.

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