How to handle your post-lockdown finances

Two people at the beach at sunset, drinking beers as lockdown social restrictions ease and spending habits change.

It’s undeniable that pandemic-induced social restrictions and lockdowns have changed the way Australians handle their finances. Most people have had to reconsider how they spend their money and set their savings goals, and many have experienced financial instability and hardship. 

So, as we approach the light at the end of the lockdown tunnel (touch wood), it might be time to assess some of the savings and spending habits we’ve picked up over the last 18 months and what changes we may soon face. 

Here are a few things to consider:

Good lockdown habits to keep

Adding cash to savings goals. A recent report from ME Bank found many Aussies are more confident in their financial security than before the pandemic, with a 10% jump in the number of households reporting they were saving money. However, this same report also found a considerable proportion (21%) had less than $1,000 in savings.

If the pandemic or other circumstances have impacted your financial situation, here’s a guide to saving on a smaller income, and other tools to help you reach your savings goals.

Exercising at home and outdoors. With many gyms and classes having to close their doors or go virtual, Australia’s movers and shakers have had to get comfortable exercising elsewhere. While it’s great to support local trainers and initiatives, it could benefit your bank balance to continue incorporating a few free fitness sessions into your routine.

Maintaining a side hustle. If you’ve recently found the time to turn a hobby into a side-gig for a little extra cash, see if you can keep that ball rolling in post-lockdown life. It might not always be doable, but if you’re keen to give it a go, we’ve got some cracking advice from entrepreneurs on how to make your side hustle a hit.

Cooking more often. Whether you’re getting online grocery deliveries or have fallen in love with meal kits, cooking at home can help you save a buck. So, even as you start celebrating your favourite local eateries reopening with dining-in feasts, be sure to keep your Nigella kitchen skills sharp for more budget-friendly meal days. 

What to do about costs that may increase post-lockdown

Transport costs. Whether you’ve scrapped the commute or have become used to walking around your limited lockdown area, it’s likely that you’ve seen a reduction in transport costs of late. But if you are required to head back to a physical workplace in the months ahead or are planning future roadtrips, you’ll likely see these costs shoot back up. If feasible, it could be worth incorporating more affordable transport options like cycling and public transport for future travels (when restrictions allow).

Holiday splurges. While international or even interstate travel still feels a way off, it may well make it to the table in the months ahead for fully vaccinated explorers. Recent ABS data shows a third of Australians plan to spend money on travel in the next 12 months, with this being the goal the largest proportion of people are dedicating their savings towards. If you’re one of these potential holidayers, it pays to start saving early for future adventures. This way you can rely on the cash you have instead of acquiring debt while you travel.

Social outings. Let’s be honest, you deserve a splurge on this one! If you’ve been separated from loved ones recently, you’ll want to celebrate when you reunite. So, plan for an uptick in your ‘fun’ budget, and enjoy it. 

When you’re not spending cash, make sure you’ve got it stashed somewhere it can be steadily growing, like one of the high interest accounts below.

Compare high interest-earning savings accounts - last updated 16 October 2021

Search promoted savings accounts below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure
  • Boost Saver with Go Account
    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    1.50% p.a. (for $0 to $250,000)
    0.10% p.a.(for $0 and over)
    Yes up to $250,000

    Intro bonus rate of 1.50% for first 3 months, reverting to 1.20% after. Deposit $2,000 each month and make 5 eligible payments from your Go Account. If you are between 18 and 25 deposit $1,000.

    Enjoy a savings account bundled with a spending account. No monthly fees. New customers can earn up to 5000 bonus Virgin Money points on purchases (conditions apply). Benefit together with a joint account

    Details
  • High Interest Savings Account
    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    1.35% p.a. (for $0 to $250,001)
    0.25% p.a.(for $0 to $250,001)
    Yes up to $250,000

    Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening

    Kick start your savings with the 4 month introductory variable rate. No fees, no minimum balance, no minimum monthly deposit and no minimum term.

    Details
  • Grow Saver
    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    0.65% p.a. (for $0 and over)
    0.10% p.a.(for $0 and over)
    Yes up to $250,000

    Make at least 1 deposit and no more than 1 withdrawal, including internal transfers or external payments.

    Earn a maximum interest rate of 0.65% per year. Pay no monthly fees. Set up in-app savings goals. Benefit with joint account options.

    Details
  • Online Saver
    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    1.10% p.a. (for $0 to $500,000)
    0.35% p.a.(for $0 and over)
    Yes up to $250,000

    Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening

    No account keeping fees. No minimum balance required. Unlimited phone and internet transactions.

    Details
  • Fast Track Starter Account
    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    2.50% p.a. (for $1 to $10,000)
    0.05% p.a.(for $1 and over)
    Yes up to $250,000

    Ongoing bonus rate applied and 5 eligible transactions are made by the linked accountif in the previous month $200 or more is credited to the linked Day2Day Plus account.

    3.00 %P.A. Bonus Interest on balances up to $10,000 when the Bonus Criteria is met. Free withdrawals to your linked Day2Day Account while still earning Bonus Interest. Only available between the ages of 14 - 24 years.

    Details
  • Fast Track Saver Account
    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    1.05% p.a. (for $1 to $250,000)
    0.05% p.a.(for $1 and over)
    Yes up to $250,000

    Ongoing bonus rate applied if in the previous month $1,000 or more is credited to the linked Day2Day Plus account and 5 eligible transactions are made by the linked account.

    Earn 1.05% p.a. Bonus Interest in the following month on your Fast Track Saver Account balance. Earn Bonus Interest on your savings, with no minimum balance required.

    Details

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