Money Saving Tips During Lockdown
The current situation with Coronavirus outbreaks and subsequent lockdowns presents challenges as our habits and routines are thrown out the window. One thing you may notice is your spending and savings plans getting off track. With more time spent at home, you’ll likely notice an increase in the amount of food and power being consumed. Adjusting our budgets to reflect these changes is the best way to ensure we stay on top of our finances.
Horizon Bank has put together some tips to ensure you are keeping your spending and your budget on track. Read on to find out how to apply them to your finances.
How to save money in lockdown
Shopping online at the moment is the safest and most convenient way to get items you need around the home. If you have started shopping online, it’s essential to use a list still and only buy the things you need. Keeping an eye open for sales and discounts is possibly now more important than ever. Keep an eye on your social media and email offers for when your favourite brands and stores are having a sale or clearance.
A list is also vital if you are still heading to the supermarket, local convenience store or butcher for essential food items. This will curb the temptation to overspend or spend aimlessly. Keep in mind that individuals need to shop with purpose rather than browse.
Food consumption may increase with everyone spending more time at home, so be mindful of this. Consider looking up recipes you can make with leftovers or with minimal ingredients to make your food shopping stretch further.
If you have had reduced work during a lockdown, you will want to review your automatic direct debit payments. Now is the perfect time to sort through them and pause or cancel any subscriptions that you can live without for a while, or that you we’re meaning to cancel anyway. Keeping track of your balance to avoid any overdrawn fees is a good idea. Speak to your bank about how to effectively manage this. You could also talk to your utility providers about a payment plan or changing the frequency you pay.
Financial support options from the government may be there for you, so it’s important to find the information you need to claim it. Use the links below to access financial support information.
Claim working from home tax relief
If you are now working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, you could claim some money back for working from home expenses. The Australian Taxation Office has articles about what individuals can claim whilst working from home. Here’s what you can claim if you’ve been working from home. Keep in mind you may need receipts and invoices as proof of purchase.
Electricity expenses. Heating, cooling and lighting the area from which you are working and running items you are using for work
cleaning costs for a dedicated work area
phone and internet expenses
computer consumables (for example, printer paper and ink) and stationery
home office equipment, including computers, printers, phones, furniture and furnishings
Review your service providers
If you have been with the same phone, electricity or insurance provider, get in touch with them to see if payment plans or financial relief can be offered. This could be especially useful as you may find your energy bills have increased with everyone being at home for an extended period. Get in touch and chat with them about your different options during a lockdown and if they can do something to keep you as a customer. You may be rewarded with a discount if you have been a loyal long term customer. Now is also a good time to get in touch with your bank or financial institution if the coronavirus lockdown has financially impacted you. They may be able to defer your mortgage payments or organize an arrangement. Ensure you are fully aware of the impact of extended loan terms or deferred payments.
When you are more conscious you are of what you are spending, the less likely you are to overspend. Eventually, this will become a habit that you can use to save money even when lockdowns have ended. Check out these highly-rated budgeting and savings apps. If you’d prefer to keep a physical track of expenses, you can use an exercise book or a folder for receipts. A paper planner or diary would also work well. This will help you keep on top of your bank balance, and it may even see you have some extra cash at the end of the month if every dollar is accounted for.
As a local Wollongong bank with branches across the Illawarra and South Coast, the team at Horizon understands this is a difficult time for many. We are happy to help you with any questions you may have about your accounts and banking needs. Get in touch with us today.
The content in this article has been prepared by Horizon Bank for general information only and it is not intended to be professional advice. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should seek your own legal, accounting, financial or other professional advice where appropriate, and consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Terms and Conditions before deciding whether to acquire any products or services offered by Horizon Bank and/or its affiliated partners. We do not recommend any third party products or services referred to in this article unless otherwise stated and we are not liable in relation to them. Any links to third party websites are for your information and we do not endorse any content on those sites. Horizon Credit Union Ltd ABN 66 087 650 173 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence Number 240573 trading as Horizon Bank.