During this crisis some of us are going to be in a financial position to help others.
As you know I’m normally finding the tricks that will help you save as much money as possible. Well, for a change, this article is just about spending and not saving. But for a good reason.
We are already seeing the start of job losses and cut incomes as people move to statutory sick pack. This will hopefully change, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to have lots of people in desperate need and loads of businesses closing for good.
Some of us who have secure jobs and will continue to get paid if working at home can probably afford to spend more than we normally would to help people less fortunate and struggling businesses.
Now, some of the things I’ve put below are will possibly cost you more money than normal.
That means many of you won’t be able to do as much as you’d like – if anything at all. And that’s ok. You absolutely need to make sure your health and finances are strong enough to weather this crisis.
But if you can, then here are a few things you could think about.
While you can still go to the shops, I’d encourage you to avoid online shopping.
Instead, try to support high street businesses by visiting them and spending your money there – even if it’s a little bit more expensive.
Of course there will be some people won’t be able to get out and about, and online shopping and deliveries will be essential.
But if you can, avoid Amazon. The giant is going to survive, but many other retailers won’t. So find out if you can get the same product from an alternative online retailer.
Though there are major chains which will be struggling, the ones that will really need your help are the small, independent businesses. So where you can, try to shop with them, online or in-store.
I picked up some beers from a tiny craft beer shop near me rather than at the supermarket, and we’re going to buy some books today from another local shop.
I wouldn’t be buying gift cards. You’re better off buying something you will use.
Have more takeaways
This is such as weird one for me to encourage! I love the odd takeaway, but as they’re so expensive it’s something I generally tell people to cut back on these.
However, with the government advising against eating out and so many restaurants facing closure as a result, now is the time to actually order takeouts more – as long as you can afford it.
I’m not talking about the likes of McDonalds. They’ll be fine. Instead, find out if your local independent restaurants are offering a collection service, or perhaps are even signed up to the likes of Deliveroo and Just Eat.
I’m prioritising my favourite places which I’d really miss if they went bust, starting last night with a Thai from a fantastic place which is normally eat-in only. But they’re letting you phone up and collect.
Not all of them will be contact-free so check the process before ordering.
Don’t buy more than you need
There’s really no need for the supermarket shelves to be as empty as they are. Yes, it’s important to have some supplies at home if you can’t leave the home for two weeks, but otherwise if we all shop normally then everyone will be able to get what they need.
Cancel your online supermarket deliveries
If you’re able to leave home and can easily get to a supermarket, then I’d cancel your online orders for the time being so those most at need – like people over 70 or those with health conditions – can get a slot.
Shop for others
You’ll probably already be signed up to a What’s App group for your road, or joined a Facebook group for your area all with the aim of helping others less fortunate or unable to leave their homes due to Covid-19.
If you haven’t, and these don’t exist, you could set one up yourself. Or just get in touch with your neighbours to check if they need anything.
Remember, this could be useful to you too if you are told to self-isolate.
Give to food banks
It’s sad that food banks have become essential in recent years. This is going to get worse. When you’re in the supermarket, please buy the odd thing or two and put it in one of the donation boxes on your way out.
Donate to charities
I was watching the Great British Stand Up to Cancer Bake Off special this week. The whole point is to encourage people to hold bake sales to raise money – and this just won’t happen. Which means less money will be collected.
Many other charities will have suffered similar setbacks to campaigns and fundraising – and at a time when more and more people are going to need help.
So please, if you can, donate to charities – more now than ever before.
Support the arts
Right now there’s little support for many smaller theatres and arts venues. Find out if the ones you often visit have ways you can donate money.
I’ve bought a membership to my local theatre (and purchased some tickets for events in November and December).