Saving money versus helping local business - can you do both?

Hi all, Isabelle from Money Dashboard here.

One issue you might be encountering right now is the opposing desires to save money and to support your local businesses. Many of us are working with tighter budgets, furlough salaries, and increased grocery bills. Yet we also know many small business owners in our community whose business we use and owner’s are our friends and family. Is there a way to maintain your budget as well as support these local businesses?

While not everyone will have the means to, one step I have taken is allocating money previously spent on going out and travel towards buying bulk services. For example, I have paid for one month’s worth of dog walks from my local dog walker, while not planning to use her services much, if at all. My partner has paid for a year’s worth of haircuts from his barber. These are large expenses. Doesn’t this run counter to saving money?

Although these can be large upfront costs, paying for goods and services right now can actually help you budget for the rest of the year. When the lockdown is lifted, you can spread out these pre-paid services over the next year. You could cash in when you are facing a particularly tight month. And it also helps you to limit the goods and services you buy by sticking to the amount you have prepaid for.

Moreover, your custom will help these businesses reopen when the crisis has passed. I know I will certainly need my dog walker when I get to return to the Money Dashboard office. Sainsbury’s will whether this crisis, but will your local personal trainer still be around?

If you would like more tips on how to help local businesses, here is an article from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizfrazierpeck/2020/03/22/15-ways-to-support-local-business-during-the-coronavirus-shutdown/

Call your local small businesses and check if they will allow you to prepay for goods and services, and use this opportunity to control your expenditure on those expenses for the year to come.

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I’ve been thinking about this a lot too. As a silver lining to all of this craziness, I think I (and others I know) have taken it as a chance to reset a little bit.

I’ve become a lot more conscious about how I spend my money, partly because I’m more focused on saving up an emergency fund, and partly because a lot of the things I spent money on before are no longer an option!

I noticed a local brewer have set up a small scale online shop to do home deliveries. My immediate reaction was that the prices were way higher than I’d normally pay for beers in the supermarket, but when I factored in not going to the pub for a month, I realised how crazy it seems to be worried about spending 80p more on a can of IPA! If it helps a local brewery stay afloat then I’m all in (or at least that’s a solid excuse to enjoy a cold on at the weekend…)

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Fierce Beer, craft brewery from Aberdeen, did a crowdfunding “Pay It Forward” last week.
Basically you chip £100, you get £150 worth for spending at their bars or online shop till the end of the year. So they get instant cashflow to keep them afloat. And more customers will come to your doors once we are out again!

They smashed their target in less than a day, and had to close it the next day!
People really were behind it, and I think more venues/companies should do that.
Of course, it might be a bit risky than the place can’t reopen by then…

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