New babies to see – and a need for sun: why we’re saving for a holiday-filled 2022
Krishan Parmar and Matthew Weeks had big travel plans for 2020. A wedding in Italy, a birthday trip to China, Thanksgiving in Canada, where Weeks is originally from, and Christmas in Australia to stay with Parmar’s sister. The couple, who’ve been together for three years, had made travelling a big part of their lives together, taking advantage of the discounts Weeks got on flights from working in the airline industry.
That all changed when lockdown was announced last March. Weeks was put on furlough, and then made redundant due to restrictions on international travel. Parmar, who is self-employed as a personal stylist, also lost work as production companies had to stop filming and press junkets.
The pair had moved into a flat in south London together two months earlier, but had to tighten their belts to adapt to their fall in income. “I took a part-time job with a supermarket as a delivery driver and I ended up meeting some really interesting people, like actors, other stylists, even someone who worked on lighting design for War Horse. It was a star-studded cast working in the supermarket, which was kind of cool.” Weeks would later join him, working as part of the team that picks the groceries going out for deliveries.
Soon they found their rhythm.They discovered they could save money by planning meals in advance, buying only what they needed for the week and batch cooking. Weeks turned into quite the dab hand in the kitchen, baking banana bread, cinnamon rolls, and a nearby friend would drop off a regular supply of freshly baked sourdough. One of the upsides of lockdown was there were no dinners or drinks out with friends to find the money for, even if they’d wanted to. “We take those things for granted,” Parmar says. “This year has been really eye opening for me.”
Happily,stylist work started to pick up for Parmar in September, and Weeks is interviewing for a new job in the airline industry. They’re also making travel plans again, starting with a trip to Ontario, Canada, in October to celebrate Thanksgiving with Weeks’ family. Both have become uncles again during lockdown – Parmar’s sister had her second child and Weeks’ sister has added a third to her family. There have been weekly video calls getting to know the newest members of their clans but they can’t wait for a real-life cuddle.
A big Australian holiday is pencilled in for early 2022, to coincide with Parmar’s sister’s 40th, and there are talks of a European break in the coming months.“Just a holiday for us, somewhere with hot weather,” says Parmar. “Anywhere, we’ll take it!”
And the travel fund is growing. Parmar estimates they’ve already been able to put aside about £4,500, by adding a little to the pot here and there, especially since their outgoings have stayed low. “It’s been slowly building up but now it’s actually built up into something. The flights are going to be expensive so we’re just going to keep chipping away – it’s better to have more than less, isn’t it,” he says. “Both of us save with NS&I and Premium Bonds. I like the feeling that I could win.”
Unlike Weeks, who admits he’s not been great at saving in the past, Parmar has always been a natural saver. “I was brought up to put something away for a rainy day, so I think I’ve always been quite good at that.” And of course, that diligence is now being put to good use, saving for sunnier times and the end of lockdown. It’s been something of a mindset shift for them both.
Jill Waters, NS&I’s retail director, says many people are now focused on saving for good times and not just emergencies: “Traditionally we’ve all focused on saving for the unexpected, but we’re all learning to turn this around. Even more than before, visits to see family, treasured days out with partners and friends and annual holidays are something worth saving for.”
On the day we speak, lockdown restrictions are starting to ease. The couple have both been to get haircuts and Parmar has been able to visit the gym for the first time in months. Even though the world is starting to go back to something resembling normality, the two are sticking to the saving habits they picked up over lockdown. “We could have gone out tonight just for the sake of it,” Parmar says. “That’s what we used to do. Going out for drinks wasn’t something you’d look forward to, it was just something that happened.” Instead, they’re picking and choosing more mindfully (“We’re really looking forward to seeing our friends on Sunday,” says Parmar), as their big travel plans continue to inch closer.
Having something joyful to save towards can make putting money aside easier. Start saving for a sunny day with the help of NS&I. Visit nsandi.com for more information