If you’re very worried about financial security at the moment, well, you’re not alone. We were all surprised by the severity and breadth of the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions.
Almost overnight, businesses everywhere were left unable to operate normally: some had to close entirely, while others had to rapidly pivot to working remotely, and many jobs were lost.
Those of us fortunate enough to still be working from home isn’t free from anxiety. Not only is there every reason to look to the uncertain future with concern, but there’s also no guarantee that retained jobs will stay retained.
What if a fresh surge in cases inspires stricter lockdown measures or vital professionals to become ill and leave their companies in the lurch?
I started this post with a focus on the negatives for a reason. I wanted to acknowledge all of the above so it would hold more weight when I reiterated the titular claim — because yes, lockdown can actually help you save money in the long term.
Allow me to explain why:
It gives you time to audit your spending
We all want to take good care of our finances, but life often gets in the way, and it’s easy to put things off after a long day at the office.
Factor in time for regular socializing and meeting other responsibilities and you can end up with a long list of things you always intend to do but never actually do: things like auditing your spending.
Looking at your account at the end of each month to see if you’re ahead or behind is certainly useful, but it doesn’t give you any deeper insight into what’s going on.
You have to dig deeper. Are you getting paid what you should be? Do you have any outgoing payments that should have been canceled months ago (for subscriptions, for instance)?
You also need to review the essentials to see where you can save money. You might be paying more than you need to for your energy supply, in which case you could check out comparison services (e.g. https://www.chooseenergy.com/) to get some quotes.
You might even be paying too much or too little through your mortgage payments — if you can afford to pay your mortgage faster, you’ll end up paying less overall, so consider getting some revised quotes through a suitable mortgage broker (try https://breezeful.com).
Taking the time to optimize your spending can make a huge difference in the long run.
It’s eliminated your commuting costs
While you’re working from home every day, you don’t need to cover your usual commuting costs.
This might save you a small amount if you don’t live that far from your workplace, or a huge amount if you usually have to cover a lot of distance — and there’s a chance that this change will end up being permanent because this period is proof-of-viability for everyone advocating remote working as a standard.
Take the money that you’d normally spend on commuting and set it aside. Again, small sums add up, so you could have a significant amount saved a few months.
And when this lockdown comes to an end, I suggest that you keep working from home at least some of the time: even if you just commute for three days each week, you’ll still be able to save money.
It can help you sort out your priorities
What’s actually important to you in the grand scheme of things? A lot of people are finding that being stuck at home during a crisis is reminding them of what really matters to them: family, friends, and health.
Money is important, yes, but only because it helps us protect those things. However much we like to spend money on luxuries, those things don’t really make us happy.
Let this time in lockdown recalibrate your lifestyle. Even if you take good care of your finances and stay in the black at all times, do you really need that new car?
A new perspective on life can radically change how you view money, allowing you to dial back the luxury buys today so your money can make a bigger difference down the line.