Spend or Save? Making Your Money Work - Tonight

As we emerge from the grip of the pandemic, many people are focusing on their finances. For some it's a struggle to save anything at all, while others have built up bumper savings during a year of lockdowns. 

So what is the state of our nation’s savings? Helen Skelton has been finding out…

Tonight commissioned a survey of 2,000 people to find out how our savings have fared over the last year. Nearly a third of respondents currently have less than £5,000 in savings, one in twenty of us have no savings at all and 15% have got into debt since the pandemic hit.

Mum of two Caroline found herself £30K in debt after getting divorced. She turned to debt management charity, Christians Against Poverty for help. In order to manage her money she used a three account system, bills, spends and savings. Now debt free, she uses the same three accounts to help her save and give her that all important rainy day fund.

Our Tonight poll found that:

  • More than a third of respondents said that since the pandemic, they now thought it was more important to save. 

  • The two top saving goals, both with about 20% support, were saving to provide a financial safety net and saving for a holiday.

  • Four out of ten of us have saved more than usual during the covid crisis and one in five of us are ready to spend all or most of their lockdown savings once Britain opens up again.

  • When it comes to investment only 11% of Brits thought they were very well equipped to tackle investment opportunities, with nearly a quarter admitting to feeling not at all well equipped.

Super saver, Jordon Cox, known as Britain's Coupon Kid, is a whizz at using apps on his phone and websites to access deals, cashback rewards and loyalty schemes to save money on shopping.

  • Lidl Plus - a new app which gives rewards on your spending in store and money off offers that rotate weekly. You can earn £2 for spending £100 and an extra £10 off if you spend another £100 on top.

  • Cashback - these apps on your phone such as TopCashback and Quidco give you money back when you buy online. Shopmium, CheckoutSmart and GreenJinn offer cashback if you take pictures of your in store receipts after shopping and upload them into your account.

  • Price comparison - websites such as Idealo.co.uk and Google Shopping can help you find the cheapest price for products when buying online and PetrolPrices.com lets you search your local area for the cheapest garages to fill up at.

  • Airtime Rewards - download this app to your phone then connect to your bank cards. Each time you use your connected card at participating retailers you'll earn some money back that'll go towards your phone bill.

  • Credit card rewards - some banks now offer credit card rewards so each time you spend you get points or money off at certain retailers. 

  • Too Good To Go - this app helps stores and restaurants sell their surplus food. Customers order a “magic bag” at a reduced price and then collect it from the store during a pre-set collection time.

Jordon saved £45 over the day but admits most people won’t go to these lengths. But he says, if you do some of these little steps regularly it all adds up.

'Spend or Save: Making Your Money Work - Tonight' is on ITV this Thursday (18th March) at 7:30pm.

For more information here’s some useful websites:

Christians Against Poverty: capuk.org

Ros Altmann: pensionsandsavings.com

Claer Barrett podcast: Money Clinic with Claer Barrett

Britain’s Coupon Kid: jordoncox.com

Nicola’s blog: thefrugalcottage.com

Bank of England interest rate study: Bank of England Staff Working Paper No. 720