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Worried post-lockdown FOMO will blow your budget? Nine expert tips

By Vicky Shaw
After being ripped up in 2020, our social diaries are starting to grow once more, as lockdown restrictions ease. And as a result, people expect to spend around an extra £188 per month this summer, according to new research from TopCashback.co.uk.
Of course, it’s understandable people might be eager to socialise again and have some fun – but there may be concerns for those on a tight budget. Could FOMO (fear of missing out) cause havoc with our finances?

FOMO can easily strike when there’s pressure to keep up with others, worries about being ‘left out’, or even guilt about not having seen friends for a long time, and we can end up spending more than we can really afford. Longer-term savings goals can easily get pushed to one side.

For some, the lockdowns of last year may have helped to ease feelings of FOMO, as fewer photos of friends and acquaintances out and about enjoying themselves have popped up on social media.

“After living under restrictions for months, it’s natural for many of us to want to go out and spend money on things we haven’t been able to,” says TopCashback UK director, Adam Bullock. “It’s important not to guilt-trip ourselves for spending more, but it’s also vital we don’t blow everything on stuff out of impulse or fear of missing out. Try and keep up with and good savings habits you’ve created over the past year, where possible.”

Don’t want post-lockdown FOMO to blow a dent in your finances? Here are nine tips from TopCashback to help curb feelings of FOMO – and your spending…
1. It’s not necessarily about saying ‘no’ to plans
Instead, work out your priorities, set your spending goals, track your budget, and review your spending after each month to see where you can improve.

2. Start each month as you mean to go on
Pay yourself first by setting aside a portion of your salary into your savings each month, before you start spending. This can help you build your savings and stop you overspending.

3. Acknowledge your feelings
FOMO can become all-consuming and hard to manage, so make sure to be aware of when it’s taking over. Assess how you feel and try to reframe your emotions to be happy and content with your situation.

4. Set up a ‘fun fund’
While six in 10 (61%) people have managed to set aside money during lockdown, nearly a third (30%) also say they’ll use some or all of their lockdown savings on additional spending as restrictions ease, TopCashback found. But setting money aside in a ‘fun fund’, for those unexpected and spontaneous spending days, will set your mind at ease and help you feel less guilty. Some apps will also help – they’ll round up your spending and save the change so you start saving without feeling the impact.

5. Hold yourself accountable
Be strict with yourself and only take money out of your fun fund if you know you’ll be able to cut back elsewhere. You could make the money up by the end of the month and reinvest it into your fun fund.

6. Make the most of your spending
Be savvy with your cash and always aim to cut the costs. Websites such as TopCashback will give you money back when you spend online. With the money you make, you can put it towards experiences, takeaways or restaurants using e-gift cards.

7. Consider a digital detox
Social media is a fun distraction and a great way to stay in touch with loved ones. But if your FOMO is getting the better of you, you could consider taking some time away, unfollowing or muting accounts that worsen your feelings and focus on the positives in your life.

8. Socialise at home
We’ve all become experts at entertaining ourselves at home over the past year. Instead of splashing out on a big day out, you could consider putting money towards buying garden furniture or heaters, so you can have fun for less.

9. Finally, be honest
The pandemic has hit many people’s finances hard. TopCashback found one in six (15%) people have been unable to save any money during the lockdowns. Over a third (37%) feel anxious about our finances.

If you’re worried about the impact of socialising on your finances, speak up and let your friends know. That way, they’ll understand and you can make more budget-friendly plans. They may also have been through a tough time financially, and you may even find they feel the same way as you.
(PA)

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