How COVID-19 has changed our spending habits
27 October 2020
2020 has been a tough year for many Aussies. Our communities are experiencing financial challenges like job loss, reduced employment opportunities and navigating the effects of a recession.
But we’re learning things, too. For many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we spend our hard-earned cash. One key difference is reduced spending on things we can’t do at the moment, such as eating out and travel.
Spending habits during COVID-19
Aussies’ spending habits reflect the social restrictions in place due to the coronavirus.
According to the Australian Financial Review, ‘Australians are still spending less than normal on eating out and travel as the COVID-19 lockdown eases, while demand for home-based products and services remains higher.’1
Specifically, in July of this year, consumer spending on groceries increased by 20% when compared to the same month in 2019. There was also an increase in spending on mental health services. On the other hand, music venues have been badly affected by COVID-19 restrictions, experiencing a 72% reduction in spending.
5 practical ways to save money during (and after) COVID-19 based on your new spending habits
1. Develop a budget
Developing a budget (and sticking to it where you can) helps you practice financial resilience, particularly if you’re trying to stay afloat after losing your job.
Track your income and expenses for a month. Once you know how much you spend on essentials, you can work out what your weekly or fortnightly budget will be, and see where there’s space to save a little.
Need a hand? Suncorp’s Budget Planner can help you track your finances for free.
2. Consider splitting your money into ‘buckets’
To help you better manage your saving and spending, our Suncorp Bank Everyday Options Account lets you add up to 9 optional sub-accounts. These can be personalised for each of your spending categories – for example ‘home’, ‘car’, ‘food’, ‘education’, etc. You’ll earn interest on the balance in your sub-account(s). You can also pay bills directly from these accounts at no additional cost, making it easier to keep track your different expenses.
3. Ask for support
Depending on your situation, putting money away may be less important than reducing your costs.
If you’re finding it difficult to make regular payments for things like rent, loan repayments or utilities, let your bank, landlord or provider know as soon as you can. Most organisations will have financial hardship support available.
The relief may only be temporary (and for deferred loan repayments, be aware of meeting any further interest obligations), but it could help you to get back on your feet. Check out our list of additional resources for financial assistance for more info.
Depending on your residency status, you may also be able to access government support payments. Use Service Australia’s Payment and Service Finder to check your eligibility.
At Suncorp Bank, we’re here to help you. If you’re a lending customer impacted by COVID-19, we have financial assistance options that could help make things more manageable. You can also call us on 1800 225 223 (8:30am-5:00pm AEST Monday to Friday), or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. By letting us know about your situation, we may be able to support you.
4. Be intentional about your spending habits
As restrictions ease, and you’re able to leave the house, the savings habits you’ve developed during lockdown will be put to the test.
Consider what you value spending your money on. For instance, you might continue to eat at home (see our tips for saving money on groceries) but support the local arts and music scene by going to a live event occasionally.
And if you have to spend money, make it go further. If you’re an eligible Suncorp customer, you can access Suncorp Benefits which offers savings from major retailers like Woolworths, Coles, JB Hi-Fi and Myer.
Our Suncorp Everyday Options account also offers 0% Foreign Currency Conversion Fees3, so if you find a great deal online and pay with your Suncorp Visa Debit Card you won’t get stung with that nasty foreign transaction fee.4
5. Travel locally
By exploring more of Australia, you can save money and support small businesses and local communities recovering from the financial impact of COVID-19. Not only will this benefit your wallet, it’s kinder for the environment too. Find out how to plan your great Aussie roadtrip.
- How to build an emergency fund
- How to set up a personal budget plan
- How to reduce your food and grocery bill
3A Suncorp Visa Debit Card is required. Only available with Suncorp Everyday Options accounts.
4 Other fees may apply to your transaction.
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Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. You should make your own enquiries, consider whether advice is appropriate for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Product Information Document before making any decisions about whether to acquire a product.