Lockdowns can be a pain. But folks from around the world including those in Canada and New Zealand are discovering that lockdowns might just have a positive side to it, assuming that jobs remain.
Without the usual spending outlets of dining out in restaurants, bars, cinemas, concerts, salons and theaters other than on essentials like groceries, lockdowns may well be saving our finances too.
By now, you may have noticed that staying at home most of the time are helping us save more money, turning us into ‘forced frugalists’, so to speak.
I have put together these real-life before and during lockdown scenarios below and you’ll see clearly how lockdowns are helping us financially.
#1 Online grocery shopping
Before lockdown : I stuck to my grocery shopping list most of the time. However, if my favorite items just happened to be on specials, that’s when I’d buy in huge numbers to ‘save’.
The total bill was quite painful at times.
During lockdown : I usually select my items in my cart over the space of a few days.
The beauty of it is the cart always has the total sum and if it’s too high, I’ll review my items again. I’ll usually confirm with Mr MMT whether some items are truly essentials.
We’ll keep reducing the number of items till the total sum is what we are prepared to pay for. It’s also easy to compare the prices of similar items as the ‘per unit’ cost is clearly displayed.
The beauty of it is it saves us time and effort as we know at a glance which items are more cost effective.
Remember this only applies to essentials like grocery shopping and if you’re trying to save, it won’t work for non-essentials like cosmetics, fashion accessories or fishing gear.
#2 Impulsive Buys
Before lockdown : There were times when I made extra brief stops at a nearby supermarket because I couldn’t get a couple of items on my initial shopping list.
A brief ‘pop in’ turned into half a trolley load of items I had no intention of buying as the ‘specials’ were too good to miss.
During lockdown : There’s no room for this.
Any trip to the supermarket is now an elaborate and tedious affair. It involves the wearing of masks and the use of soap and water for hand washing. What used to be enjoyable jaunts are now seen as unpleasant activities.
#3 Eating Out
Before lockdown : According to Business Insider, ‘Americans eat out 5.9 times a week on average’.
It doesn’t take much maths to know that eating out is not cheap. In fact, msn.com reported that, ‘about 45% of the cash spent on food is on food other people prepare for us.’
Before lockdowns, most folks would have spent hundreds a week on dining out and Uber Eats alone. Add a few drinks and suddenly the bills would have ballooned into monstrous proportions.
During lockdown : Restaurants, bars and eateries are no longer operating.
You make huge savings even if you were to buy more frozen ready-made meals for convenience, in place of dining out.
#4 Zero Entertainment
Before lockdown : Although our family didn’t usually engage in these activities, most folks would have been enjoying all manner of entertainment avenues including concerts, cinemas, theatres, travel and sports matches.
During lockdown : With cinemas, shopping malls, sports complexes, salons, travels, concert halls and bars being off limits, we are practically forced into frugality whether we like it or not.
Unless these events are free, entertainment venues usually charge a premium for their tickets. So we save big by staying at home.
#5 Shopping Malls
Before lockdown : In the past, most folks would have spent their time in malls as a diversion from boredom.
Despite our best efforts, it could be near impossible to resist the tempting offers in shopping malls, especially when we’re able to ‘try’ the clothes in stores and see how attractive we look.
During lockdown : Now that shopping malls are closed, online shopping doesn’t allow you that same flexibilty to gauge how the clothes fit you.
#6 Fuel Savings
Both Mr MMT and I are now working from home.
Before lockdown : Mr MMT and I used to make round trips of more than 28 miles to our workplaces and home.
During lockdown : Working at home means saving money on gas and time, besides being kind to the environment.
Whether most folks will continue with their forced saving habits when lockdowns are lifted remains to be seen. Whatever it is, most of us find it gratifying that our savings are reached or even exceeded whether or not we agree with lockdowns.
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