personal finance

FT readers respond: Will you spend money post lockdown?

Much has been written about the amount of cash sitting in bank accounts across the UK, but opinion remains divided on what people will do with that money as lockdown eases.

Financial Times’ reporters Katie Martin and Chris Giles recently reported that people’s savings increased by £180bn between the start of the pandemic and June this year.

Some experts argue that the unusual situation unleashed by the pandemic makes Britons more likely to spend money, while others say that people remain cautious.

FT readers have been keen to join the debate. In the comments section one reader wrote that the pandemic had turned them from an ‘unhappy consumer into a happy saver’. Another wrote that they couldn’t wait to ‘blow cash like never before’.

We have published a range of these comments below. Feel free to join the conversation by sharing your thoughts and experiences in the comment section.

Drinking days are over

Having realised how ridiculous I was at spending my money pre-pandemic, I’m actually quite addicted to saving and am only going to use what I have for large purchases or investments now. I’m sure there will be others like me who won’t want to drink it all over the summer — as fun as that would be. — I see

Unhappy consumer turned happy saver

If the pandemic has shown me anything, it’s that I’ve spent my entire adult life feeding a habit of consumption; spending a lot of money on stuff that I think I want but that actually doesn’t improve my overall happiness and wellbeing.

Being forced into saving a large chunk of my disposable income every month was an awkward adjustment at first, but over time seeing my wealth grow has made me feel considerably happier and more secure.

I also haven’t missed routine consumption at all. I miss experiences like holidays, going to the pub, and having the odd meal out, but I certainly don’t miss going to a restaurant four-five times a week and dropping money on the high street for stuff that I don’t need. In short, the pandemic has turned me from an unhappy consumer into a happy saver. I suspect I’m not alone. — JWHey

‘No desire to spend’

As a younger individual, I feel no desire to spend at the levels I did pre-pandemic. I’m sure everyone is aware of insane property prices and if I’m to ever be a homeowner I need to continue being frugal and spending my money on investments rather than junk I don’t really need. — MGZ

Won’t keep up with the Joneses

Speaking of this particular household, there’s absolutely zero chance we are spending our ‘windfall’. Essentially all of it has gone into investments and into savings. I am enjoying the new feeling of accumulating wealth and having far greater financial control. 

This episode has shown me the folly of “keeping up with the Joneses” through frivolous and ostentatious consumption. There’s just so much that I realise that I don’t need. I suspect that my consumption will be permanently lower, but I will be much wealthier and happier going forward. — Tyranus

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Money can’t buy happiness

I wonder how many people over the last year have learnt that you don’t need to spend as much money to be happy. — Magumbo

‘Save, save, save’

Quite the opposite. Before the pandemic I was terrible with money, but now I just save, save, save. I simply can’t stop. I don’t need anything nor want anything. I’m even checking cost per gramme, kg, etc when shopping to ensure I get the best value. My girlfriend is stunned by the change, but also thinks I’m really boring now. Oh well . . . — Ray Finkle

Stop riding the consumer credit cycle

There will be some people who have built up a decent chunk of savings for the first time in their lives. I hope they manage to protect some of that rather than give in to temptation, ending up back on the cycle of reliance on consumer credit by the end of the year . . . — Wololo

Heat consumption

We found that we saved a lot, not deliberately but as a consequence of reduced consumption. The one area where we spent more was in heating. A cold winter combined with more time indoors meant we used the house in a different way. — Logie Baird

Online shopping

It’s already been spent. I spent it already. Online. Sorry. — aegian

‘Spend less, retire earlier’

I’m in my 50s and most of the people I know are planning to spend less and retire earlier. — Bob2.

‘An eye opener’

I’m sure I will spend, but I’m not sure I will spend in quite the same way. I was surprised at how much of my habitual spending proved to be not really that important after all! For someone who considered themselves quite frugal it was an eye opener. — suzie

Give to charity

Don’t forget charities and people less fortunate — you could really make a difference. — 4trak

*Comments have been edited for length, style and clarity


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