Some have lost jobs while others have had hours reduced, and although there are some pretty extensive stimulus measures out there that are helping, these won’t be enough for everyone. So it stands to reason that a lot of us will have to make some monetary sacrifices during the next few months (or maybe longer) to get by.

One married couple - Construction Engineer Alan Rowe and Site Administrator Chloe Rowe - have shared with Savings.com.au the exact ways they’ve been saving during COVID-19, including:

  • How their personal financial situation has changed (for better or for worse)
  • How much they’ve managed to save so far
  • The non-essentials they’ve cut out
  • How easy or hard it was to start saving
  • What their number one tip is for saving money at the moment

Want to earn a fixed interest rate on your cash? The table below features term deposits with some of the highest interest rates on the market for a six-month term.  

Provider

At Maturity$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]5000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
  • Easy online application
  • Interest can be paid to other institutions
  • Maturity alert by email and phone

Term Deposit - 6 months

  • Easy online application
  • Interest can be paid to other institutions
  • Maturity alert by email and phone
At Maturity$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]10008$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

Online Term Deposit - 12 months

    Annually, At Maturity, Monthly$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]1000031$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

    Term Deposit ($10000+) - 12 months

      Annually, At Maturity$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]100031$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

      Term Deposit - 12 months

        Annually$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]5000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

        Term Deposit (Platinum Plus Club Members) - 12 months

          At Maturity$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]50031$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

          Term Deposit ($500 - $1mn) - 12 months

            Annually, At Maturity$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]1000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

            Term Deposit ($1000-$499999) - 12 months

              At Maturity, Annually$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]50001$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

              Term Deposit ($5k-$25k) - 12 months

                At Maturity$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]10007$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                Term Savings ($1000-$500000) - 12 months

                  Annually, At Maturity$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]1000031$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                  Term Deposit - 12 months

                    Annually, At Maturity$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]10000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                    Term Deposit ($10k-$500k) - 6 months

                      At Maturity$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]100000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                      Term Investment ($100k-$200k) - 6 months

                        At Maturity, Monthly$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]2500031$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                        Term Deposit - 12 months ($5000-$25000)

                          Annually, At Maturity$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]10000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                          Term Deposit ($10k-$500k) - 12 months

                            At Maturity, Annually$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]100031$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                            Term Deposit ($1000+) - 9 month

                              At Maturity$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]500031$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                              Term Deposit - 12 months

                                At Maturity$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]1000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                                Term Deposit ($1000+) - 12 months

                                  Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

                                  All products with a link to a product provider’s website have a commercial marketing relationship between us and these providers. These products may appear prominently and first within the search tables regardless of their attributes and may include products marked as promoted, featured or sponsored. The link to a product provider’s website will allow you to get more information or apply for the product. By de-selecting “Show online partners only” additional non-commercialised products may be displayed and re-sorted at the top of the table. For more information on how we’ve selected these “Sponsored”, “Featured” and “Promoted” products, the products we compare, how we make money, and other important information about our service, please click here. Rates correct as of February 27, 2024. View disclaimer.

                                  How has your personal financial situation changed during COVID-19?

                                  “My wife Chloe and I still have our jobs at this time, fortunately -- however with the situation constantly evolving, we are definitely monitoring how other industries are performing and what this means for construction,” Mr Rowe told Savings.com.au.

                                  “We’re starting to review our finances and planning our budget in case of a complete lockdown or if something happens with our jobs.

                                  “It’s nothing too fancy, but we’re taking small steps like increasing the ‘buffer’ of savings we put away each month whilst we are lucky to still be employed.”

                                  It’s generally recommended you have between three and six months (at least) of living expenses saved up in the event of an emergency in case you can no longer work (such as during a COVID-19 shutdown).

                                  What non-essentials have you cut out?

                                  “I think streaming is quite common and definitely increasing these days, but we don’t have Netflix or home internet so we’re saving on those monthly subscription payments.

                                  “More recently with the current climate of social distancing we’ve had to cut out spending on little luxuries like going out to the cinema, entertainment and restaurants.

                                  “That’s a small sum of money we are now able to put aside. We’re only going out for essentials at this time.”

                                  Not having internet obviously won’t be possible for many of us, especially if you’re working from home. But some Telco companies such as Optus and Telstra are offering COVID-19 support options such as:

                                  • Waiving late payment fees on phone and internet plans
                                  • Offering extra data at no extra charge (or a reduced charge)
                                  • Suspending disconnection and credit collection activities
                                  • Expanded access to their financial hardship programs

                                  If you’re having trouble paying your phone and internet bills, contact your provider to see what they can do for you.

                                  Is there anything you’ve increased spending on?

                                  “In all honesty, we are trying to be careful with how we spend money - although stocking up on necessities is costing us!

                                  “Otherwise, we have also been spending a bit more money on buying groceries and condiments, since Chloe and I are now preparing more meals from home.

                                  “But we generally consider ourselves more on the ‘saver’ side and would like to keep it that way until the end of the pandemic.”

                                  The Rowe’s aren’t alone in spending more on the essentials. In general, Commbank credit card data found food spending rose by 49% year-on-year as at March 24, while grocery spending rose by 74%.

                                  The data also revealed which areas of spending have experienced the biggest falls, including:

                                  • Recreation spending (down 16.4%)
                                  • Transport spending (down 7.1%)

                                  How easy was it to review your finances? What was the hardest part?

                                  “We are pretty much your average household - we try to save a portion of our salary every month, pay our bills and split up what’s leftover to manage through to the next payday. At the same time, we try not to be too hard on ourselves when it comes to spending.

                                  “So far we have been lucky enough not to have gotten to the “hard parts” yet, as we’re both still working full time from home, but we are aware of our options. Our financial commitments are moderate. Our main commitment is our car loan which we have through the Bank of Queensland – although our situation is normal for now, Bank of Queensland were proactive in contacting us to offer their support and guidance should our situation change in the future.

                                  “As we are still trying to balance this with other expenses and saving up for our very own house, we’re trying to avoid dipping into our savings as much as possible.”

                                  Although it can be tough to look at your transaction history, doing so is key to separating the essentials from the not-so-essentials. Here’s our ultimate guide to budgeting and saving to help you get started.

                                  Need somewhere to store cash and earn interest? The table below features introductory savings accounts with some of the highest interest rates on the market.

                                  Provider

                                  010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
                                  • Earn up to 5.40% pa by depositing $1,000 in the previous month
                                  • No account fees
                                  • Easy access to your money

                                  Saver Account (<$250k)

                                  • Earn up to 5.40% pa by depositing $1,000 in the previous month
                                  • No account fees
                                  • Easy access to your money
                                  020001$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
                                  • $0 monthly account fee
                                  • Dip into your savings without losing your bonus interest

                                  Home Saver

                                  • $0 monthly account fee
                                  • Dip into your savings without losing your bonus interest
                                  02000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
                                  No monthly fees
                                  • Download the App to open your account
                                  • Get better visibility of your spending within App!
                                  • Deposit $200 per month to activate bonus interest
                                  No monthly fees

                                  Save Account

                                  • Download the App to open your account
                                  • Get better visibility of your spending within App!
                                  • Deposit $200 per month to activate bonus interest
                                  4000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
                                  • A high-interest online savings account with no monthly fees, easy withdrawals and award-winning digital banking

                                  Savings Account (Amounts < $250k)

                                  • A high-interest online savings account with no monthly fees, easy withdrawals and award-winning digital banking
                                  020000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                                  HomeME Savings Account ($0 - $100,000)

                                    02001$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                                    Growth Saver ($1 - $25k)

                                      010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                                      Target Saver

                                        010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
                                        For customers aged 14-35 years
                                        For customers aged 14-35 years

                                        Future Saver Account ( < $50k)

                                          05001$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
                                          • Maximum Age - 24

                                          Goal Saver

                                          • Maximum Age - 24
                                          010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                                          Boost Saver

                                            00.011$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                                            Reward Saver Account (31 years +) ($0-$100k)

                                              01000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                                              Bonus Saver Account (Amounts < $100k)

                                                0201$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                                                Reward Saver Kick Start (Amounts ≤ $1m)

                                                  00.010$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                                                  Life (< 30 years) (Monthly deposit)

                                                    5000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                                                    NetBank Saver

                                                      000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                                                      ANZ Save

                                                        010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                                                        Savings Maximiser (<$100k)

                                                          050$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                                                          Young Saver Account

                                                            0501$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                                                            Save up

                                                              02000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                                                              Bonus Saver (<$1 Million)

                                                                Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

                                                                All products with a link to a product provider’s website have a commercial marketing relationship between us and these providers. These products may appear prominently and first within the search tables regardless of their attributes and may include products marked as promoted, featured or sponsored. The link to a product provider’s website will allow you to get more information or apply for the product. By de-selecting “Show online partners only” additional non-commercialised products may be displayed and re-sorted at the top of the table. For more information on how we’ve selected these “Sponsored”, “Featured” and “Promoted” products, the products we compare, how we make money, and other important information about our service, please click here. Rates correct as of February 27, 2024. View disclaimer.

                                                                Can you put a $ figure on how much you’ve saved?

                                                                “Currently, we’re saving roughly 30% of our combined income. We’re trying to increase this to 35% over the coming weeks and months in case the COVID-19 situation worsens.”

                                                                Cutting back where you can during your time in isolation can definitely help you up your savings to that 30-35% mark. So for a worker earning around $55,000 per year, they would be putting away over $370 a week ($19,250 a year) in savings at that rate, or roughly $300 per week after-tax ($15,567 a year).

                                                                The number one tip for saving during COVID-19

                                                                Alan and Chloe said their single biggest tip for saving at the moment is to be realistic about what you can afford to save, and then up it by 10%.

                                                                “By creating a buffer you’re giving yourself the flexibility and leniency that if you ever need to dip into your extra pot of money on occasion you can still meet your original savings target,” they said.

                                                                Three savings tips from a banker

                                                                BOQ’s General Manager of Product Andrew Toone offered Savings.com.au three of his own COVID-19 savings tips you can do from your own home:

                                                                1. Use a high-interest savings account

                                                                “We often hear of the importance of putting away money for ‘a rainy day’. Having a savings account as a buffer when things go wrong is more important now than ever,” Mr Toone said.

                                                                “In addition to simply setting aside some money, you should also look into what high-interest savings accounts are out there, so you can make sure your money continues to grow!

                                                                “A high-interest savings account will pay a higher-than-average interest compared to traditional savings accounts.”

                                                                The table below features savings accounts with some of the highest non-introductory interest rates on the market.

                                                                Provider

                                                                02000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
                                                                No monthly fees
                                                                • Download the App to open your account
                                                                • Get better visibility of your spending within App!
                                                                • Deposit $200 per month to activate bonus interest
                                                                No monthly fees

                                                                Save Account

                                                                • Download the App to open your account
                                                                • Get better visibility of your spending within App!
                                                                • Deposit $200 per month to activate bonus interest
                                                                010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                                                                Savings Maximiser (<$100k)

                                                                  010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                                                                  Boost Saver

                                                                    Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

                                                                    All products with a link to a product provider’s website have a commercial marketing relationship between us and these providers. These products may appear prominently and first within the search tables regardless of their attributes and may include products marked as promoted, featured or sponsored. The link to a product provider’s website will allow you to get more information or apply for the product. By de-selecting “Show online partners only” additional non-commercialised products may be displayed and re-sorted at the top of the table. For more information on how we’ve selected these “Sponsored”, “Featured” and “Promoted” products, the products we compare, how we make money, and other important information about our service, please click here. Rates correct as of February 27, 2024. View disclaimer.

                                                                    2. Make a list before shopping

                                                                    “Always make a list before shopping. No matter what you’re shopping for, making a list will help you stick to a budget,” Mr Toone said.

                                                                    “Shopping with a list gives you a close estimate as to what you’ll be spending so you don’t go over budget. These days when basic necessities can be hard to find it’s easy to grab anything you can get your hands on.

                                                                    “Make sure it is something on your list that you will actually use, otherwise you are just wasting your money.”

                                                                    3. Be mindful of appliance use

                                                                    “It’s an obvious one but turn off lights and appliances when you aren’t using them.

                                                                    “Being home more often means we are using these appliances more than we would, make sure to turn off everything at the wall when not in use to make sure your power bills aren’t going to skyrocket during this time.”

                                                                    Savings.com.au’s two cents

                                                                    Everyone’s situation is unique, so there’s no guarantee that what works for one couple will necessarily work for you also. But things like sitting down and reviewing your budget, cutting out all non-essentials and ensuring that at least some of your pay each week is going towards an emergency savings fund could see future-you be thankful for the scrimping you do now.

                                                                    Other useful COVID-19 guides and news: