Barclays research showing just how lockdown has affected spending habits

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New research from Barclays highlights Brits’ desire to have a break from home cooking and up their grooming game, as more than one in three plan to spend their money on eating out (36%) and getting a haircut (36%) within the first month of lockdown restrictions enabling them to do so.

Also high on the list of activities people are planning to spend their money on first are a family day out (26%), going to the pub (23%) and booking a holiday (21%).

When asked what they are most looking forward to as lockdown starts to ease, almost half of millennials (48%) said visiting family and over a third (37%) said seeing friends. Despite there being no end in sight for international travel restrictions, a quarter (25%) are excited to jet off on holiday and 23% simply cannot wait to have the freedom to do what they want.

Alongside thinking what they are going to spend their money on as lockdown lifts though, many younger people have also been using the time to think about how they can boost their savings towards future goals, or set aside money for a rainy day. Exclusive Barclays data shows that during lockdown 18 to 29 year olds have increased credits to their savings accounts by 3.8%, and their savings balances have increased by 9.9% – the highest percentage increase than any other age group.

Supporting Barclays’ data, a survey of over 2,000 adults revealed the average amount saved by millennials since lockdown officially began on 23 March sitting at £604; 11% more than the national average of £545.87.

To help the nation tackle any questions they have about spending and saving post lockdown, or any other budget or money matters on their mind, Barclays Money Mentors are hosting an IGTV Q&A this Friday 22 May at 5pm.

While Brits are saving, they’ve also been putting money towards new hobbies and activities during lockdown to keep them entertained. When it comes to the new skills and hobbies Brits have picked up during lockdown, Barclays research showed that cooking and baking came out on top (27% 24% respectively), followed by reading (21%) and gaming (16%). Despite many Brits turning to their games consoles, there has also been a surge in popularity for more low-fi activities. The nation has also become more green-fingered during lockdown with 15% taking up gardening. 14% say they have embraced traditional games like cards, puzzles and crosswords.

But it’s not just how some Brits are spending their downtime that has seen a shift. A huge 83% of millennials admitted that the current situation has changed their behaviour towards finances, compared to a third (33%) of people aged over 60.

37% of millennials are committed to putting more money into a savings pot, 35% commit to paying closer attention to their finances and 12% plan to reduce the amount they spend on gym membership / exercise classes. Almost two thirds (31%) have also vowed to try and reduce the amount spent on eating out, while 30% plan to do more free/cheap activities with friends and family.

Jo Harris, head of Barclays Money Mentors at Barclays, said: “These extraordinary times have shone a light on many aspects of our lives that we perhaps previously haven’t had the time or headspace to focus on.

“It’s fantastic to see that financial wellbeing is one of the key things millennials in particular are taking away from this unprecedented situation, with almost a quarter realising they can be more self-controlled with money than they previously thought.

“What’s apparent is that as we approach the end of lockdown, a huge number of people will be looking for guidance on how to best manage their finances in the long term to achieve what they want, which is why we’re opening up our Money Mentors service to even more people on social media.”

To help anyone who has questions about budgeting, or is thinking about their goals after lockdown, Barclays Money Mentors are hosting an IGTV Q&A this Friday 22nd May at 5pm to tackle your finance-related questions. Head to @BarclaysUK Instagram stories to ask questions throughout the week.

Barclays Money Mentors is a free, confidential and impartial service – that is available to all, not just Barclays customers – and is designed to help answer any financial questions, clear up money concerns or help people pave the way towards their goals.

Anyone can book an appointment with Barclays Money Mentors through the dedicated website, barclays.co.uk/money-mentors. What you discuss in a Money Mentors session is completely confidential, and the guidance given is wholly impartial, no matter who you bank with, or how big or small your questions are.

Dr Peter Brooks, head of behavioural science at Barclays, shares his tips on how you can make the savings habits you’ve learned in lockdown stick:

  1. Every little counts: Lockdown has shown many of us the big effect that comes from not having all those little amounts, that you don’t even think about, leaking out your account. From snacks on the go, to petrol or public transport costs, the small things really do make a difference to the overall state of your finances. Therefore, as you look forward, don’t forget the real value that controlling the small expenses can have in helping you save each month.
  1. Give your finances a health check: A great exercise to do both now, and again when life starts to feel a bit more normal, is to take a look at your bank account and assess what you’ve been able to spend and save money on and what changes you can realistically keep. Identifying what you could credibly do without, and moving that spend to straight savings will help build up that pot of money quicker than you think. Money management apps can help make this painless.
  1. Pay yourself on pay day: It’s worth getting into the habit of moving money straight into a separate savings pot every time you are paid so it’s a proactive decision, rather than a tentative end of month aim.If you’ve taken the money out of your everyday account, you will also remove the temptation to dip into it as out of sight is out of mind.
  1. Embrace the unexpected: People tend to be much better at saving windfalls of money rather than making saving part of their regular budgeting. But getting a windfall doesn’t have to mean winning the lottery. Why not move any refunds you received during lockdown, or the cost of any suspended memberships straight over to separate savings pot where you can keep it ready for a rainy day, or keep growing it towards a future goal.
  1. Don’t make comparisons: It’s an unsettling time and we’re faced with people documenting their lockdown lives online. Naturally, we can start to compare what we’re doing and the same can be said for how we spend our money now and in the future. It is often the experiences rather than the items our money buys which have the biggest effect on our happiness. Try to ditch any comparisons with what your friends are doing with their money and focus on what works for you.