As the government brings in temporary VAT cuts and the 'eat out to help out scheme’ to incentivise consumers to return to frequenting local business premises and spend money to get the UK economy on the road to recovery post-lockdown, Jillian Thomas, the managing director of Sheffield firm Future Life Wealth Management, has issued her own plea for people to play their part.
Writing in her blog on the Future Life website, Thomas said: “As a financial adviser I spend a lot of time telling people to spend less and save more. One of my favourites is the ‘coffee cup challenge’ where I challenge you not to buy a coffee on the way to the office or while out shopping, as a simple way to save a few pounds a week.
“In normal times five coffees a week at say £2.40 each meant you’d spend well over £600 a year just on coffee! In normal times I would say don’t do it.
“But these are not normal times. And I am turning my advice on its head and saying: spend, spend, spend.”
Thomas highlighted that prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, an average UK family would save around £140 in cash deposits. That figure had reached the dizzy heights of £900 by May.
Thomas added: “Not only is that [saved] money sitting in accounts not earning much interest, but it is not helping the local economy recover.”
With acknowledgement of the fact that consumers are understandably keeping funds back over job security concerns, Thomas sought to remind individuals of the role they must play in being part of the economic recovery and used the opportunity to champion the need for spending within local businesses.
She wrote: “Now we are easing out of lockdown, we need to spend wisely and maybe spend a bit more.
“If you spend £1 locally with a small or medium-sized business, the theory is that 63 pence stays local, compared with spending at a bigger company where only 40 pence stays local.
“Those local shops probably buy their supplies from other local small businesses and all these small businesses create jobs. Eighty per cent of businesses employ less 20 people; but when added together, those businesses are the largest employer in the country.”
In a rallying call, Thomas pointed out that in supporting the high-street, the knock-on effect results in more affluent communities and higher house prices, and implored people to go out and benefit their local area.
“By getting away from the click culture and shopping locally you will help save the butcher, the baker, the shoe shop and the independent coffee shop from going under.
“Take my new coffee cup challenge; go and buy a coffee and keep the coffee shop on your local high street.”