1. We’re using less cash
Use of actual physical money was falling even before we were all locked down… and then let out…and then (in places) locked down again. Covid-19 has just sped that demise up. Now we’re mostly shopping online and when we do go out, retailers have signs up asking if we can pay by card to help stop the coronavirus spread. Even the contactless limit has been increased to £45, to help reduce contact.
Virgin Money data from April 2020 showed the number of ATM withdrawals was down nearly 70 per cent. Having said that, when we do withdraw cash we clearly want to stock up – the amount we’re withdrawing is actually up 16 percent.
2. We’re wasting less food
Earlier this year, the food waste campaign WRAP Link opens in a new window estimated that the average family with children wasted £700 a year by chucking out food they could have eaten. That has all changed. A survey carried out by environmental charity Hubbub showed that shoppers started making the most of their “lockdown larders Link opens in a new window”.
New habits include making smaller meals, throwing away less and even ignoring some best-before labels (NB never ignore use-by dates Link opens in a new window, those are the ones that should be seen as a real warning). This is one good money habit that will hopefully keep going.
3. We’re shopping online EVEN MORE
Saying ‘online shopping is growing’ like it’s a surprise will make this article sound like it was written in 1997. But Amazon and its ilk have been huge winners in a year when some actual physical shops have been closed, and the ones that are open have had to enforce mask-wearing and one-way systems. Virgin Money data shows ecommerce transactions increased during lockdown by around 10 per cent. That might sound like a relatively small increase, considering, but shopping everywhere else was down substantially.
Fans of a Saturday-afternoon high street shopping excursion should take note, though: physical stores are still struggling with the fallout from the pandemic, so if we favour online shopping in the long term, it could become even harder for the high street to recover.
4. Some of us are spending more on alcohol
Despite a chop-and-change year of curfews and closures, Brits still want to enjoy a drink and socialise together, from online pub quizzes with colleagues to Zoom-based wine evenings.
One in five drinkers say they have consumed more alcohol since the pandemic turned our lives upside down, according to the organisation Alcohol Change UK Link opens in a new window. And, of course, extra spending on alcohol can ramp up household spending at a time when many of us need to cut back.
5. We’re spending more on baking
We don’t have stats to support this one but, come on, just look at social media. And now The Great British Bake Off has returned! From banana bread to sourdough loaves, the UK has the baking bug bad just now. Perhaps post-coronavirus more of us will be open to cooking from scratch.
6. We are spending A VAST AMOUNT more on our homes
Maybe it’s because we have more time to think about our homes, maybe it’s simply because we’re at home so much just now that we want them to be as pleasant as possible. Looking to create your own home makeover? Get some inspiration here Link opens in a new window. Or maybe you’re even thinking about getting onto the property ladder for the first time: if so, you can find out more about the Virgin Money Home Buying Coach Link opens in a new window here.
Data from Virgin Money from April 2020 shows an increase of 84 per cent in customers shopping online for home and materials. That’s a huge increase.
7. We’re spending more on health and fitness
This may be surprising in a year when some people are still feeling too nervous to go to gyms, beauticians and hair salons. But according to analysis carried out by the Reboot Online Marketing Agency Link opens in a new window, searches for ‘rent gym equipment’ went up an incredible 3,600 per cent at the start of lockdown. It also found that searches for ‘yoga online class’ went up 800 per cent and ‘home workout’ were up 700 per cent. That fits with Virgin Money analysis that shows online spending on wellbeing is up 41 percent.
8. We’re doing more online banking
While most bank stores are still opening during this crisis (albeit with reduced hours in many cases), most people preferred not to visit high street branches at the start of 2020. Virgin Money saw online banking registrations almost double in the first week of the lockdown, suggesting people were planning to do far more online if possible.
That has gone back to more normal levels now, but it seems likely that the lockdown has increased a take-up of online banking that may well last past the crisis.
9. We’re spending less on commuting
Unsurprisingly, people who are not travelling to work are spending less on commuting. Clearly that saving won’t last entirely once we all get back to a more normal working life. However, many analysts think that this crisis will result in a transformation in how we work, with far more office workers doing at least some days from home. There could be a long-term saving here and, like so many money-saving changes, this one is also good for the planet.
Whatever your spending habits are right now, Virgin Money customers can get help with budgeting via our clever Virgin Money mobile app.