While millions have lost their jobs and experienced financial challenges since the coronavirus pandemic began, about 1 in 10 Americans say Covid-19 has had a positive effect on their budget.
That’s according to a new TD Ameritrade survey of over 1,000 U.S. adults contacted between April 24 through May 4, 2020. About 78% say they’ve saved money by not going out to eat. That’s savings of around $245 on average since the pandemic started.
Three out of four respondents experienced major savings by opting out of vacations, while 64% say they’ve saved money by holding off on major purchases, such as buying a new car, the survey found. On average, forgoing these two types of purchases netted people over $7,000 in combined savings.
Despite saving on dining out, many say they are spending more on groceries, takeout orders and cleaning supplies. Just over half of respondents say they’ve spent more on food they’re making at home, about $282 on average since the start of the pandemic.
However, in many cases, the surge in grocery spending is not just because Americans are eating at home more. The price of food is also on the rise. Consumers paid 2.6% more for groceries in April than in March — the largest one month increase since February 1974, the Labor Department reported earlier this month.
For those seeing their grocery budgets grow, it may be worth shopping at stores other than your local supermarket, says Phil Lempert, food industry analyst and editor of SupermarketGuru. Instead, try budget retailers like Aldi and Lidl. Part of the secret to these stores’ low prices is that the vast majority of their products are private label, so you’re not paying for the marketing and advertising that many brands use to attract customers.
Another silver lining: 82% of survey respondents realized they don’t have to spend money to have a good time. And 6 in 10 Americans say that the pandemic helped them get more in touch with their finances.