Lockdown money saving tips

Am I really saving enough for retirement? (F)Tommy McNally is a money saving and tax expert and founder of the app – TommysTax. Here he shares his top tips on saving money while stuck in lockdown: 

Limit online shopping. While you’re stuck inside, the temptation of online shopping can feel too much. With just a click of a button you could easily spend your month’s budget without it feeling like you’ve spent any money at all. If you can’t help yourself put restrictions on certain websites that you’re drawn to and make the checkout process more time consuming by not storing your payment details. If you find yourself tempted, give yourself time to consider by leaving items in the basket for at least day.  Limit screen time if you can so you’re only using your computer for work or chatting with friends.

Make the most of free entertainment. While you’re not going out to dinner anytime soon, there are lots of free, fun things you can do at home. For example, do your research and learn how to cook your favourite dinner from scratch, play or invent your own games to play as a family, or get crafty and creative with your hobbies.

Streamline your Streaming TV. Streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon prime, NowTV or Disney+ have done incredibly well during the pandemic but do you really need them all? Or can you share with a friend? Investigate the possibilities or make the most of free services like BBC iPlayer instead.

Make sure you claim all your work expenses against tax. Many people are completely unaware that they can claim for things like costs associated with working from home, washing uniform or travel – and that’s both if they’re employed or their own boss. This can bring down your tax bill substantially. If you’ve not done this before you are probably owed a refund. Tax refunds can be backdated up to four years, so it adds up to a tidy sum – between £2,500 to £3,000 on average. The Tommys Tax app has a tax refund estimator based on your pay and allows you to claim quickly and easily.

Shop around for the best deal. Make time to research the best deals on everything from household items, phone deals, energy providers and holidays. In today’s modern age, 3.5 billion people worldwide own a smart phone so there is no excuse not to!

Pay off your loans. Lots of people have both savings and loans but the rate you pay to borrow is always more than the rate to save. So, take some of that money saved up to pay off your loans – it will make you feel so much better and will save lots of money in the long term.  But make sure you leave enough in your savings for emergencies.

Take out insurance. in these unprecedented times, anything could happen so when you’re buying holidays make sure you get insurance so you’re not at risk of losing the money from flights or accommodation.

Budget. Use the quiet time of lockdown to budget and look at the areas where you’re spending the most money. See where you could cut back.

Tommys Tax was founded in 2015 and has since secured a total of £20 million in refunds for clients. They launched their free app in April 2020 and it has helped over 10,000 people. On average, they currently secure £3,000 for those on PAYE and £2,800 for the self-employed.

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