Examining the impact of lockdown on my finances.
Way back at the end of April, I took part in Saving Ninja’s latest thought experiment, reflecting on how lockdown had impacted us so far.
Three months have passed since (is that all!!?), and the lockdown is now coming to an end. Shops are opening up again, the roads outside my flat are becoming increasingly busy, and life appears to be slowly getting back to normal. Or at least, as normal as can be with an ongoing pandemic.
Inspired by (a.k.a shamelessly stealing the idea from) FIRE v London, I decided to have a closer look at my own finances and see the impact that lockdown has had. I track my spending pretty religiously, so it’s been easy to compare and contrast Q2 2020 with Q2 2019.
|Income||Q2 2020||Q2 2019|
The above table shows my income in Q2 2020 and 2019. As you can see, the differences are minimal.
My salary is actually slightly higher, thanks to an inflation-linked pay-rise earlier this year.
Interest gained from various current and savings account is slightly less this year, due to the cut in the base rate by the Bank of England. I wonder how long it will be until we see negative interest rates in the UK?
I made £250 from matched betting last year, whereas this year I haven’t made anything. Almost all sports and horse racing were stopped, so I decided to take a break. I could have tried more casino offers, or started betting on random sports across the world, but I decided that it wasn’t worth the effort.
As I’ve said before, I’m very cognizant of how lucky I am that my income is unaffected by the lockdown. The funding that pays my salary has already been accounted for, so to speak, so there was no danger of the money being unavailable. Furthermore, I’ve been able to make the switch to working from home with no impact. I know of some colleagues who were unable to carry out any research during lockdown; they were therefore furloughed and are now not quite so clear about what will happen at the end of their contracts.
|Q2 2020||Q2 2019|
The above table shows a comparison between Q2 2020 and 2019. A quick looks shows that I have saved £1000 this year vs last year.
Let’s have a look in some more detail where those savings have come from:
The necessities (rent, bills and groceries) are all consistent. We actually spent less on groceries during lockdown than we did last year. I chalk this up to us using up some of our cupboard supplies during the beginning of lockdown. We couldn’t get our usual grocery deliveries and also wanted to minimise our trips to the store.
Unsurprisingly, spending on anything frivolous has been substantially reduced!
For much of the lockdown, it was strictly necessary travel only. I haven’t been on a train since February, whereas we would usually expect to take 1-2 trips per month to see family and friends. Whilst it’s nice saving £300, I do miss the face-to-face socialisation.
No seeing friends = no drinking. We’re not big drinkers; if it’s just the two of us hanging out in our flat (which, obviously, has been overwhelmingly the case during lockdown) then I usually don’t see the point. Not that we haven’t drank anything at all, but it’s either been stuff we had already, or something that Ms FIRE bought. Even now as pubs are opening, I can’t see us wanting to sit inside with friends at the moment. We need to find a local with a good beer garden…
We’ve had a couple of takeaways during lockdown but, with pubs and restaurants closed, and without travelling to visit friends, spending on eating out has been substantially reduced.
This time last year, we were having a great time in the US. Now, with the virus still raging on in the US, who knows when we’ll next be able to visit. As for this year, it looks like we’ll be enjoying a staycation instead.
A catch-all category; covering anything from visiting a museum or going to the cinema, to buying a few books or a videogame. Everything was shut, so spending was reduced to some games & books during lockdown.
Last year we had weddings and stag parties to pay out for. Obviously nothing of that sort looks to be likely for the remainder of this year. A friend of mine recently got engaged, but they’re not sure where to begin with planning their wedding.
Looking to the next quarter, I expect my income to remain unaffected. Maybe it will even increase, if I can work up the motivation to resume matched betting again.
As for my expenses, it’s hard to say. Whilst I want to spend more, especially on visiting friends and eating out, this virus obviously hasn’t gone anywhere yet. I’ll be keeping an eye on the news and seeing how the number of cases varies as restrictions continue to be eased.
As you can see, lockdown is good for my bank balance, but not great for a life well-lived. It will be interesting to see, as lockdown eases, how these next few months compare.
My thoughts go out to those who were less fortunate than myself and have been affected by this pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.
I’m interested to hear if readers have had similar experiences to my own? Or if they’ve found new ways to spend their money!
Thanks for reading.