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The early days of lockdown were marked by panic buying and intense spring-cleaning.  Now that people have had a chance to adjust, it’s a good time to deal with tasks you might otherwise never find time to do but which could save or make you money.  Here are some suggestions.

If you have items to sell online, organise the listings now

If you’ve been decluttering, you probably have some items you’d like to sell online, when going to the Post Office becomes business as usual again.  At the very least, take the necessary photographs now and consider writing the listing descriptions.  Ideally, see what packaging you have and make a list of what, if anything, else you need to get.  This will go a long way towards saving you time later, as the lockdown eases, and help ensure that the items do actually wind up being listed and sold instead of donated.

If you’re donating items, make sure you register for Gift Aid

Charitable gift aid is a tax benefit which helps both you and the charity.  It costs nothing to either of you and it only takes a few minutes to sign up so it’s well worth doing.

Deal with any maintenance, mending and repairing

Basic tasks like these can extend the life of any item from your house to an item of clothing and yet many of us are often too busy to deal with them the way we know we should.  Lockdown is a good time to catch up and if it’s coming to an end now, this could be the last chance to finish jobs.  With more shops opening, getting the supplies will be easier.

Review your contracts

Get out your bank statements and see where you have money leaving your account automatically every month.  Then find the paperwork for each of those debits and check whether or not you are still within a minimum contract term or if you’re on a rolling contract.  If the former, make a note of when the contract ends so you can take action in good time.  If the latter, it’s time to see if you are getting the best value for your money.

The first question to ask is whether or not you actually need the service at all.  If not, how much do you really want it?  Be honest here.  If it’s for something you really love and can afford, then it’s fine to keep it.  If, however, it’s just sitting there because you’ve never got around to cancelling it, then now is the perfect time to do so. Look back over the last few months and see what you have “really” missed and what you can actually let go of.

If you do actually need or really want the service, then you can still check to make sure that you are getting the overall best deal.  The key point to note here is that the lowest-priced option is not necessarily the best, especially not if it involves a long lock-in period.  Sometimes extended lock-in periods can be justified if they get you a great discount on a service you know you’re going to need for that period and can definitely afford at that price.  If, however, there’s one lesson we can take away from the pandemic, it’s that circumstances can change quickly.

It’s also important to think about the quality of service you receive.  In short, if you’ve always had good experiences with a vendor, then it may be worth sticking with them even if they’re not the lowest-priced.  If you do change, then make sure that you change to a vendor with decent standards.

Update your skills/CV

Saving money is all very well, but it’s nice if you can increase your income, or at least have the confidence that you can maintain it in what may be a very challenging economic climate.  While there are no guarantees, taking lockdown as an opportunity to increase your skill-set could prove very useful in the future. It’s also a good time to look at your current CV, keep it up to date, that way, should the very worse happen, or you decide to make a change, you are prepared for job hunting immediately.

We’ve all had time to reflect on life, what is important to us and how we want our future to look. Make sure that you’re ready to take the first steps when the lockdown is fully over.

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