Date Published: 29/07/2020 14:52
Jillian Thomas is urging people to spend more in their high street to help the local economy recover.
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 (before the VAT reduction and the ‘Eat out to help out scheme’) 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. Not in a crazy way like Viv Nicholson who famously blew a football pools fortune in three years, but in a way that helps the local economy.
Since lockdown we all seem to have become misers. Before lockdown the average family saved £140 a month in cash deposits. By May that figure had rocketed to £900 - or £25 billion across the UK. Not only is that money sitting in accounts not earning much interest, but it is not helping the local economy recover.
I appreciate we are worried about our financial futures. But we need to stop and think about the bigger picture. We have all got used to spending less and what we do spend we are tending to do online, with click & collect and deliveries. But now we are easing out of lockdown we need to spend wisely (and maybe spend a bit more). We need to be part of the solution to help the local economy recover.
If you spend £1 locally with a small or medium-sized business, the theory is that 63p stays local, compared with spending at a bigger company where only 40p 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.
By supporting the local high street you help create better communities and you help boosts house prices locally. It’s environmentally friendly too; you and the products don’t travel so far.
Add to all this: unique products, personal service and competitive prices. 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.
Go on, take my new coffee cup challenge; go and buy a coffee and keep the coffee shop on your local high street.
A version of this blog first appeared in the Sheffield Star.
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