A survey by price comparison specialists money.co.uk has found that 71% of UK households have managed to save money during lockdown – slashing spending by an average of £2,879 each across the 13 weeks that Brits were told to stay at home during the peak of the pandemic.
The average weekly saving of £221.50 was achieved by frugal Brits cutting back on their spending habits, with the largest savings being made on buying clothes (£34.39p/w), running the car (£34.14p/w) and eating meals out (£33.57p/w).
With the majority of UK employees either furloughed or working from home, appetite for new wardrobe items understandably plummeted, and fuel demand sank to record lows. The restaurant industry was also hit hard by the government’s decision to close all “non-essential” businesses, and Brits were forced to turn to delivery giants instead to get their food fix.
Alcohol spending was down £27 p/w as pubs and bars shut their doors to customers from March, while the beauty industry ground to a halt when hairdressers and spas joined the quarantine, saving the average Brit £25 p/w on haircuts and manicures. The closure of high street coffee stores also saw a weekly £21 in savings, as keen caffeine drinkers worked from home rather than in the office.
A distinct regional disparity in saving habits during the lockdown emerges from money.co.uk’s findings, with Londoners managing to save the most on clothing and alcohol, at £39p/w and £44p/w respectively. The West Midlands saved £36.38p/w on eating meals out, and those living in the North-East saved a lofty £37.69p/w on running the family car. Outside England, the Welsh racked up savings of £21.46p/w on cosmetics and grooming products.
Salman Haqqi, money.co.uk personal finance expert, commented on the firm’s findings:
“During lockdown, many people have cut back on their spending on non-essential items. The savings have largely been made by households cutting back on the amount of cash they spend on items like alcohol, cigarettes, clothes, make-up, cosmetics and grooming products, meals out, haircuts and beauty treatments, plus shop bought lunches and takeaway coffees.
“They’ve also spent less because may are not having to use their car to travel to work and have also cut back on other outgoings like sports and gym memberships”.
The survey concludes with an estimate that UK households could save a whopping £8,638 by the end of 2020 if they continue their lockdown spending cuts. Haqqi added:
“Almost 8 out of 10 householders we surveyed (79%) say they aim to continue to save as much as possible even though the lockdown is easing. The biggest opportunity to save money, according to our study, is in cutting back on going for meals out. More than a third of the 2,000 people we surveyed said that would be the top priority for continuing to save money”.