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Skills worth saving: How lockdown taught us how to beat the budget

by | Jul 14, 2020 | COVID-19, Finances, Mortgage Adviser

Did you make a list of pursuits to keep you occupied during lockdown?

If you weren’t wrangling under-5s or endeavouring to homeschool while doing the 9-5, perhaps you attempted artisan sourdough using panic bought flour?

Maybe you learned to knit while listening to a whale song soundtrack?

Perhaps you set a goal to read one motivational book for each level of lockdown?

Well, whatever you achieved, even just making it through five weeks with no takeaways, well done.

Some of you know I’m a competitive woodchopper. I spent my 4 weeks with an axe in hand, training. Got through about 2 tonnes of timber. Solid.

As well as refining my wood whittling techniques, lockdown was also a chance to reset my financial habits. I didn’t plan on it – but lockdown forced me to!

Everyone knows there weren’t many places you could spend your money during the nationwide shutdown – the supermarket, the petrol station, the pharmacy – that was it.

I didn’t get sick and I didn’t drive anywhere, so the only place we spent money for four weeks was Countdown.

And to avoid going to Countdown we opted for delivery. That also meant we had to be organized and really think about what we needed, because the delivery slots were being snapped up like tofu at a vegan convention. So we got into the habit of planning our meals and only ordering what we needed for them. As a result, our weekly grocery bill never went over $180. Yes that’s cheap, but we’re a two person family, and don’t really buy meat either (we’re not vegetarians, we just have a chest freezer full of home-kill beef).

My household was pretty fortunate in that our income didn’t stop during lockdown, so it meant we landed in an ideal financial place. One where income outstrips expenses and savings start building up. I’ve had the privilege of looking through other people’s bank statements since the lockdown ended and it looks like I’m not the only one who ended up in this state.

Did the same thing happen to you?

More importantly… have you kept it going?

Our household spending has definitely gone up because we’re out and about a lot more.

But we’ve stuck with the meal plans and still do our grocery shopping accordingly.

I’ve resisted buying coffee, beer, sushi, burgers, pies, going out for lunch etc. My weekday lunch is leftover dinner. I even cycle to work two days a week which saves on diesel, as well as being a bit of exercise. Who’dve thought?!

Most of all, I’m not trying to do any of this. It just seems to happen because the lockdown made it a habit.

The problem now is I’m starting to feel like one of those woke Instagram influencers that I hate so much!

Hopefully lockdown brought you a few financial revelations too, and you’ve found a way to keep them running even after the return of your fiscal freedoms.