Why is now the best time to start a new budget?

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2020 has dramatically changed how we spend our money.

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For some, being forced to stay at home has meant their spending is down and savings are up, while other people have increased their online shopping limits. Some have had to get used to living on 80% of their salary due to government support schemes, and others are trying to balance their money after bad news.

Everyone has seen some sort of change in their spending since Covid-19 restrictions were put in place. Now that countries are coming out of lockdown and your favourite places are reopening, it’s the perfect time to get your new levels of spending under control. 

 

  1. Check your latest incomings 

Has your salary changed during lockdown? Those who have had to take a salary cut or been furloughed should look at their new pay check amount. It’s tempting to ignore it for now, but it’s best to face up to reality. Be realistic about how long a temporary reduction will last for. 

 

2. Look at your new monthly expenditure 

 

Add up your current monthly expenditure, including your regular outgoings like bills and your rent or mortgage payments. Have you stopped any subscriptions, like a gym membership? Or added a new Netflix subscription? 

Compare the total to your outgoings at the start of the year. Your sync. account can help by bringing together all your other bank accounts, like Lloyds or M&S, into one dashboard so you can see all your spending, all the time. 

 

3. Think about what you want to do next 

 

Consider which subscriptions you want to start up again once restrictions allow. Social events like going back to your football team or joining a choir could be a great way to feel connected to your community again, while also helping a small business. 

 

Read more below. 

"It could be easy to lose track of your spending during this transition period from lockdown to the 'new normal'. Follow our tips to stay on top of your finances."

 

4. Going back to ‘normal’

 

Now that the new normal is starting to emerge, it’s time to think about what is going to change. If you used to spend a lot on petrol before the crisis, calculate if your milage is likely to increase now that you can travel more. People who have saved money on their commute season ticket should think about when they will start going back into the office. 

Those of us who used to spend a considerable amount on socialising should take a fresh look at their finances. Do you want to go back to spending a good chunk of your pay on Friday night drinks? Or do you want to put some money aside to make sure you can go out for dinner once a week? 

If you want to make a change, make it now before you go back to your old habits. 

 

5. Think about the big expenses 

 

It seems like everyone is making the most of travel restrictions lifting. But before you book that package deal, think about your long-term plan. Think about your travel for the rest of the year to make sure you are going on trips that really matter to you – and are cost-effective. 

Top tip: For the best financial protection, book a package holiday that is ABTA or ATOL protected. This means you will get a full refund if the travel company goes out of business and it guarantees you will be flown home safely if you are stuck abroad. 

 

6. Plan to shop small 

 

Many small businesses have struggled during lockdown, especially those that needed to close during the peak of the pandemic. If your finances allow, shopping at local businesses is a great way to help stores get back to normal. You can use your sync. card wherever Mastercard is accepted, so shop away! 

 

We hope these easy tips will help you think about your new budget and work out how much you have to spend – and how much you want to spend – now that lockdown is ending.

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