There may not be many reasons to cheer lockdown, but one benefit for those families not impacted by unemployment is how much money they are saving.
Many households have been able to save on commuting costs, gym memberships and even takeaway coffee in recent weeks. So how much could we be benefiting from curtailing our spending?
Lucinda Gregory, investment research manager at online broker The Share Centre, says: ‘While we wait for our lives to return to normal, one way we can keep ourselves positive during lockdown is by thinking about the potential savings we’re making each month while our regular activities are off the cards.’
Figures from Sainsbury’s Bank show that the average commuter usually spends as much as ten per cent of their salary on annual train tickets, coming in at £2,605 each year.
For those who haven’t been commuting recently, this translates to a chunky saving of around £217 a month.
On top of this, those who have temporarily had to give up their caffeine fix on the way to work could be saving a further £54 a month, while no longer paying for shop-bought lunches could give back an additional £120 a month – assuming a spend of £2.70 and £6 respectively, 20 times a month.
Meanwhile, a tidy sum of money is also being ‘saved’, thanks to a lack of socialising.
Research by The Share Centre shows that the average person usually spends around £70 on dining out each month and a further £68 on evenings out, while money spent on cinema, theatre and concerts comes to a monthly average of £50.
Driving less frequently also means there are plenty of savings to be had on petrol and diesel costs. Figures from garage firm Kwik Fit suggest that motorists spent around £68 a month on fuel before lockdown.
Those who regularly go to the gym have also been able to claw back around £40 each month, with most gyms, including Virgin Active and Nuffield Health, freezing membership fees while they are closed.
And with no live sport on offer either, large numbers of sports fans have been able to put their sports subscriptions on hold. Sky Sports customers are therefore saving around £23 a month.
In total, this means Britons in lockdown could be benefiting from as much as £710 more in their bank account each month – although this is offset to some degree by higher energy bills while many of us work from home.
Put on hold: Many households have been able to save on commuting costs, gym memberships and even takeaway coffee
Gregory says: ‘Many will choose to put these monthly savings towards helping with the monthly bills and essentials, but for those that find themselves with money still spare at the end of the month it is worth making it work as hard as possible.
‘With interest rates at a historical low, any savings you accumulate are most likely to be eroded by inflation if simply left in your bank account. Investing this money for the long term in stocks and shares could see these monthly savings grow to a healthy sum in years to come.’
Georgie Killik, of wealth manager Killik and Co, says: ‘You don’t need a lump sum to get the investment ball rolling; you can start with a small monthly or weekly contribution – even as little as £25.
‘Save and invest apps offer the flexibility to contribute cash in ways and amounts that work for you during these times of uncertainty – monthly, sporadically, little and often.’
Research by savings app Chip has revealed that many of us are already putting more money aside and that savings goals have shifted. Saving for a holiday is no longer the number one priority – as it was for a lot of people before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Instead, many are now focusing on having a savings cushion in place to fall back on if unemployment beckons. Clearing debt has also moved further up the priority list.
Simon Rabin, chief executive and founder of Chip, says: ‘Perhaps unsurprisingly, the number one goal we’re seeing our savers make at the moment is titled ‘safety net’ or ‘rainy day funds’.
‘Also, on average our savers are putting aside 13 per cent more per month than before the pandemic began gripping the nation.’