A lot of Australians right now are in a seemingly never-ending cycle of lockdowns and with no clear end in sight, it’s easy to turn to retail therapy to reward ourselves. Gone are the days of baking banana bread and home-workouts. Now we have lockdown-fatigue and anything to take our minds off our current Covid situation is welcomed.
If you’re one of the lucky ones and your income hasn’t been affected by Covid-19 lockdowns, you may have noticed at the start of the lockdown that you were saving on transport and eating out costs, which is a nice little boost to the savings account. However, as lockdown has dragged on, I have noticed myself and my peers increasingly turning to retail therapy for a bit of a pick-me-up. At first it was lounge wear and then it turned to homewares and furniture. Spending 99% of my time in my apartment has turned me into a want-to-be interior designer. I suddenly need a new coffee table and multiple vases and why haven’t I got a sideboard? I really need more art for my walls and an outdoor lounge would be great for the balcony.
I’m not here to tell you to quit online shopping altogether, but let’s make sure our dollars are spent wisely. Here’s a list of ways to make sure lockdown spending is productive:
1. Do you REALLY need it? Or are you just bored?
I know I’m guilty of scrolling Instagram and seeing a photo of a beautiful tablescape and thinking I need new napkins, glassware, and cutlery. But I don’t need these things, I certainly don’t have any dinner parties planned and I have enough cutlery and plates anyway. If you find yourself lusting over products you don’t need or have any use for, then you’re probably just bored. Try getting off social media and stop scrolling through marketing emails and instead go for a walk, facetime a friend or watch a movie!
2. Buy second-hand or DIY
If you have your eye on something, chances are someone is probably selling the exact same product or something similar on Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree.
Before you check out, search through a few second-hand online marketplaces, and see if you can find what you’re after for a fraction of the price.
Maybe someone is selling a bookcase that’s almost perfect, but the colour is not right, you could give DIY a go and see what a couple of coats of paint can do!
3. Shop around
There’s no excuse to not shop around for the best prices, you have more free time than ever! Googling the name of a product will bring up multiple websites that it’s sold on, look for the best shipping and returns deals, google discount codes, and sign up to newsletters to receive discounts.
Grocery shopping is one of the things we’re allowed to leave the house, but before you rush out the door, do some research on which supermarket has the best deals. The Frugl app can help you do this, just search for an item and it will tell you whether it’s cheaper at Coles or Woolworths, the app takes into account real-time specials.
4. Make it worthwhile
Buying something that improves your quality of life, especially in lockdown should not make you feel guilty. If buying outdoor furniture means you will spend more time outside soaking up the sunshine and fresh air, you should go for it (after making sure it suits your budget first). Upgrading your home office furniture and equipment is an investment for your physical health and your productivity while working from home, not to mention it’s tax deductible!
With so much spare time on our hands, lockdown is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby or learn a new skill. In 2020 we got into baking, and it seems the 2021 lockdown theme is knitting. Buying a pair of knitting needles and some balls of wool is a very cost effective and rewarding lockdown activity!
And instead of buying a generic print for your empty walls, why not try a ‘Paint by numbers’ kit, and create your own wall art!
With all of this in mind, be kind to yourself, lockdown is tough and sometimes we deserve to reward ourselves.