General

Your Savings, Saving Lives

Neil Thomson and Chris Hardy, 2 July 2021

We’ve all been through a lot of change in the last year. Throughout various stages of lockdown there isn’t one person who hasn’t had to adapt to a new way of doing things in one or more areas of their life. Lots of things have changed; the way we work, the way we socialise, the way we look after ourselves, and even the way we spend our money.

Our income and our outgoings have been an area of significant change but that change hasn’t been the same for everyone. With lockdown closing shops, restricting the freedom to travel and eat out, the opportunity for ‘frivolous spending’ hit an all-time low during 2020. This means people are coming out of lockdown with a lot more money saved up than before, but sadly that’s not the case for everyone.

In 2020 around 828,000 employees lost their jobs between February and December.

With some people saving, some having to live out of their savings, and others struggling to make ends meet, the common ground is that our spending priorities have changed.

Money saved in the average UK household per week over lockdown*:

Clothing: £34.39 | Running a car: £34.14 | Meals out: £33.57 | Pub visits: £27.00

How are your finances right now?

As we emerge out of lockdown we once again start to re-engage with the freedom to spend money. But for many people money is an awkward thing to talk about… unemployment, redundancy, cut hours, loss of customers for small businesses. Talking about personal finances can be embarrassing or intrusive.

For all of us, the last 15 months have mostly been characterised by the struggles associated with coronavirus; we have had to adapt to a new
lifestyle with strict limitations on where we can go and who we can see, we’ve had to learn to keep ourselves and others safe from a danger that isn’t visible, and there’s also been a whole host of small changes to daily life that we have had to come to terms with as we learn to adapt to a new way of doing life.

Sadly, that isn’t the case for everyone. Studies have shown that the households who were struggling before the pandemic, struggled even more during it. While better-off families saved on average more than £300 a month during the first lockdown, it is estimated that the poorest households in the UK were worse off by £170 each month (The Institute for Fiscal Studies).

The estates where families and individuals have suffered these financial struggles are the places where Church Army are working to build community and alleviate the pain that comes with not being able to afford the basics.

If you have managed to save money over the last year through not eating out or travelling, could you help us work with some of the less fortunate who have come out of the pandemic even worse off? In your prayers ask God what your response should be and if you might help us with a regular monthly donation or a one-off gift.

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