196 days ago
In our new six-part mini-series for Make Yourself at Home, we’re looking at habits and hobbies which have emerged during lockdown for many. You might fit perfectly in to one of the categories, a blend of a few, or you might have your own thing going on – whatever your lockdown mindset, you’ll be able to pick up handy tips from Sodexo’s in-house experts on making the most of your time at home.
We start with the Savvy Saver. Whether it’s out of the need to make money go further, or because there have been fewer opportunities to hit the high street, some are finding themselves building financial habits to last a lifetime.
The Savvy Saver is always looking for ways to reduce costs and to put money in the places where they can make it work for them, whether it’s through cutting the food shopping bill, more efficient energy usage in the house, or making the best use of bank accounts.
We spoke to three of Sodexo’s in-house experts on all things frugal to get their advice on how to look after our financial wellbeing.
With over 3,000 Sodexo employees still working from home, Andrew Derry, Energy Solutions Manager, gave us his top tips on managing energy usage and the associated spend:
“Turning off lights when you don’t need them or switching off standby can have real positive impacts – the Energy Saving Trust calculate that these two simple actions could save around £50 per year, which could equate to a night out when we’re out of this!”
He also advised that for those looking to invest in smarter energy around the home, or to switch suppliers, now is a great time:
“LED lighting is up to 70% more efficient than other more traditional lighting and lasts a lot longer. With hardware stores trying to entice customers back through the doors, many shops will have good deals available at the moment, so it might be time to switch those bulbs!”
“Similarly, energy suppliers are vying for new business, and switching suppliers is nothing like the long-winded process it used to be. It’s a ten-minute job that could save you a few hundred quid, so it’s certainly worth a look in your lunch break.”
If you do go looking for new ways to light your home, or shopping for anything else for that matter, Julia Buckley, Reward Analyst, recommends trying out Sodexo Discounts to help save that little bit extra:
“You’d be surprised just how many retailers are listed on Sodexo Discounts, especially those available online. If you link up your main spending card by logging-in through Reward Hub, you can save money without actually doing anything – some shops automatically load points for saving each time you use your card.”
And if you’re managing the finances of teens, too, Julia recommends a pre-paid card to help:
“Pre-paid cards are great for teens; they can learn to budget and start to research which retailers offer discounts. My 17-year-old knows all the local retailers that offer student discounts, but shops don’t always advertise it well, so it’s best to check online.”
What about where to put the pounds and pennies saved during lockdown? Eric Ng, Head of Finance for the Business Improvement and Growth Support (BIGS) team tells us that although there are no high interest easy access saving accounts around now, you can still make savings accounts work for you:
“I’m always keeping a track on where the best places to put money are – even small to medium amounts can gain a good level of interest in usual circumstances, but Covid-19 has seen most banks move away from offering easy access savers. Having said that, if you can commit to putting money away regularly, you can still get a decent rate.”
“Banks will often want you to switch your current account to them, and with many not currently offering switch bonuses, it’s worth looking for an ‘open to all’ saver. And remember – even if you’re not getting the best rate in the world, you’re still putting money away, which is better than not!”
Next week we turn our attention to ‘The Clean Machine’. Move over Mrs Hinch, because these people know their Zoflora from their Elbow Grease, and aren’t afraid to use either! (Although never at the same time…)
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