Brits waste £3,600 a year but 82% say lockdown made them thriftier spenders

BRITS are rethinking their spending habits as the nation eases out of lockdown, with 82% looking to save more and buy less.

Four out of five people said they wasted up to £3,600 a year on unnecessary purchases before the pandemic hit.

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But as restrictions list again from Monday, families are looking to keep their spending in check, according to new research by SMARTY Mobile.

In a survey of 2,000 adults, two in five people were looking to quit the gym and work out from home instead, while 40% intended to keep dining out to a minimum.

When workers can return to the office from June 21,over a quarter (26%) will bring a packed lunch with them.

While 14% are looking to save on mobile phone extras they don't need.

But not everyone is planning to cut back once all restrictions are lifted from June 21 at the earliest.

How to cut your bills

IF you’re struggling financially, you might be able to cut the cost of your bills to help you get out of the red.

Council tax: You can apply for a council tax reduction on the website but you'll need to meet certain criteria. Your bill could be cut by as much as 100 per cent if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. Carers who look after someone in the household for at least 35 hours a week are also exempt from paying.

Water: Households might be able to save money by getting a water meter but it all depends on how much you're using. To check if it's finacially worthwhile, use the Consumer Council for Water's free ater meter calculator.

Rent: If you have the space available and your landlord or local authority says it's ok to do so, you might want to consider getting a flatmate. Not only will you split the cost of the rent, but also the other bills.

Hire purchase: If you're struggling to make your repayments on your hire purchase, you can usually end the contract by returning the goods. You will have to pay all the instalments due up to the time you end the agreement but this will limit the amount you owe. Contact Citizens Advice for free for more help with this.

Gas and electricty: MoneySavingExpert says families can save £330 on average by switching from Standard Variable Tariffs (SVTs) to a better rate. Use a comparison site such as MoneySuperMarket or Energyhelpline to see what deals are available.

Mortgage: If you get into debt with your mortgage payments, don't wait for your lender to chase you. Work out what you can afford using the Citizens Advice budgeting tool so you can discuss your payment options moving forward with your mortgage provider.

Secured Loan: Your secured loan might be covered by the Consumer Credit Act and if it is, you may be able to apply for a Time Order. This is a special agreement by the courts allowing you more time to make payments. Secured loans not covered by the Consumer Credit Act include gas, electricity or water meters, payments that need to be written off in full, mortgages, credit union loans, loans from an employer and some short term trade agreements.

County Court Judgements: If you receive a County Court claim form talk to a free debt advice service straight away. This includes Citizens Advice (0808 800 9060), StepChange (0800 138 1111) and the National Debtline (0808 808 4000).

TV licence: Some households are eligible for a reduced fee or free TV Licence. Check here to see if you are entitled to a reduced or free rate.

Around 22% are looking forward to going out on Fridays and Saturdays again and plan to get dressed up for the occassion.

Plus, 32% are booking in reunions with friends, with social restrictions easing the change they are most excited about happening.

SMARTY Mobile head of marketing Sayed Hajamaideen said: "We are interested to see that Brits are getting thriftier with their spending post-lockdown, especially when it comes to unnecessary spending on things that they don’t need to waste money on."

The Sun has spoken to a number of Brits who have turned their finances round thanks to lockdown.

Verena Hallam, 31, paid off her £13,000 of debt and even saved £4,000 in six months last year.

Savvy saver Amy De-Keyzer, 32, saved £10,000 over the first lockdowns by switching energy providers, freezing her cinema membership card and using supermarket coupons.

Martin Lewis has warned bill payers to switch energy deals NOW to save hundreds of pounds.

A quarter of young people don’t understand energy bills, new research shows.

Over one million families are to get a payout after energy giant E.ON took customers' direct debits unexpectedly early.

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