I’m about to start week 9 of being in a lockdown. NINE. That’s full 8 weeks or 56 days done, almost two months. And a lot can change in a budget in the span of two months. Today I’ll tell you about the key expenses which are no longer a thing in my budget, and what they’ve been replaced by.
Everything is shut so even if I wanted to go somewhere, my options are limited to a local park where if I am unlucky I will catch Covid-19 by passing a small group of unrelated congregating youths/boomers/dog walkers sending me straight to the next only open place, the hospital. So I don’t spend money on going out because I have nowhere to go. Instead I get to spend it on staying in and fixing every single little snag in my home.
I used to spend somewhere around £130-£150 per month on the pleasure of getting tipsy with friends or having somebody else cook for me. Now, on tally, I have spent approximately £140 in the last 8 weeks on various DIY and home improvements supplies. Objectively, it seems to have worked out cheaper than getting litty out of the house.
Food impulse purchases
I did some numbers crunching, given that I have nothing better to do at 2.04am while I draft this post, and realised that on average I spend around £4 on impulse food purchases in every weekly shop. And I go with a list. I suppose your girl is spendier than she likes to give herself the credit for.
But I don’t really get to impulse buy seasonal fruit at my local Aldi anymore – now I get to do my online once per week shop and that’s that. Nothing else – no browsing, no smelling the herbs, no excitement. So to bring some of that excitement back, I subscribed to an online nutritionist. It’s surprisingly inexpensive, they give me a new meal plan every week matching my lifestyle (couch potato), weight goals (don’t get any chubbier) and dietary preferences (veg veg veg). I’ve been using it for the last 4 weeks and it costs PLN109 (£22 approx) for 2 months. Again, this works out somewhat cheaper than my weekly impulse buys.
Just in January Mr and I went to the West End theatres twice. That’s around £150 each in total, for okay seats. We took a break in February with me just going to an much cheaper dance performance at Sadlers Wells, and then the lockdown was announced. Now, I don’t get to see much stuff live other than via livestream. Instead, I’ve given myself the pass to start buying and reading more books which I might actually enjoy (we already have Netflix & Amazon Prime if you are wondering about the screen time).
My spendy book habits currently stand at just over £20 – not that spendy and I am a slow reader BUT I have been in the habit of not buying books for a very long time and it’s hard to snap out of it. If I wanted to read something, I’d either use a book swap at work, go to a library or find it online for free (majority of classics are available as free eBooks through Project Gutenberg and now also Amazon, alas in much smaller selection).
While the saving here is extensive, I miss the experience of the live theatre – this budget win is a bitter one.
Swimming and sports classes
The gyms and pools are closed – instead I have swapped to watching my favourite fitness instructors online, usually via instagram live or youtube. And while the experience is not the same, it’s nice to have the time to actually pay attention to the exercises they suggest. While I could do this for free, I have opted to support two particular fitness instructors whom I enjoy by either purchasing a small piece of merch, a training schedule or putting a small amount into their Patreaon. Why? Because I appreciate their work and I am willing to show it in a material way when I can.
My previous monthly cost for swimming and attending classes was around £50 – my current expenditure associated with supporting trainers is around £40 over the last 8 weeks. Definitely a win for the pocket.
The chances are… I am not seeing the inside of an office of ANY company in person for a while. So there is absolutely no need for me to be spending on work clothes. However, I still need to wear something so my workwear budget has been adjusted to turn into ‘look presentable in general’ budget and the clothes while still work appropriate, are also home appropriate. While my work clothes budget has never been big (around £50 per month), my current clothes budget matches it. Tallying up everything I purchased online, I’ve spend around £90 so far on clothes and footwear and I intend to stay within that limit for the foreseable future.
Looking at the above you might think that the lockdown is really a financial win. If you saw my commute cost which has been wiped out and not replaced, you’d probably think that I’m ballin’. But I am not – although the lockdown has definitely contributed to some budget savings, it has also slashed my income by 20%, trapped me in my neighbourhood and caused my teeth to grind every time I head BoJo’s voice on the news. I’m not losing this situation financially, but I’m not winning it either. But at least I am safe, and I wish you the same.