Even during lockdown your generosity can 
throw others a lifeline

In these uncertain and difficult times, it can be tempting to take actions which may bring us a bit of instant comfort but could harm others.

If you find you save money stocking up online, give the difference to  good causes.  Picture: PA
If you find you save money stocking up online, give the difference to good causes. Picture: PA

Empty supermarket shelves due to panic buying have left many people struggling to find the things they need in recent weeks.

By contrast the UK government has announced a wide-ranging package of measures to support people and businesses through the coronavirus crisis. But it’s also worth thinking about how we can all do our bit, if our finances are able to stretch to it – spending responsibly and thinking of ways to help make a difference in the long run.

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Here are some suggestions from Adam Bullock, UK director of website TopCashback.co.uk.

Could you use those tickets in the future?

If an event or trip has been put off, consider whether you would be happy to delay it and go another time in the future, rather than cancelling altogether and asking for a refund. You could be massively helping industries that are suffering now, in the long run.

Be mindful with online shopping: While staying at home, you may end up spending more time than usual browsing online for the items you need to stock up on. But don’t panic buy. If you do use cashback websites, such as TopCashback, you could also think about donating any extra spending money saved from your shop to a good cause, rather than keeping it for yourself.

Carry on supporting charities if you can: Honour commitments you’ve already made to charitable causes. Many events have been cancelled, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should cash in a refund that you’ve already pledged.

Don’t forget to tip: Pay it forward by tipping more than usual. If you’re ordering food deliveries online, or safely purchasing in person, up the tip percentage by an amount you can afford. Every little helps after all.

Shop local: Think small rather than just visiting the big supermarkets. Check your local food shop for supplies. It’s good to be doing this anyway, but even more so now to help keep them afloat.

Chip in as a volunteer: Donate some of your downtime and volunteer from home. Use the time you may save commuting, or just to mix up your evening routine. Perhaps this could mean giving someone who is feeling lonely or particularly low at this time a friendly phone call. See how you can get involved and help from afar.

Can you help your neighbours? If you’re buying groceries, think about your neighbours – perhaps they don’t order online, or can’t get out at all. Those who are elderly may be finding it particularly difficult to get hold of the shopping they need. Many local communities are organising help for vulnerable people in their area, so go on social media and see if you can 
join in.

Support local food banks: Food banks have unfortunately feeling the negative aftermath of panic buying, so donate a few bits that you can live without.

Use social media for good: Help spread any useful tips and messages of positivity you come across on social media. The situation may seem bleak, but all the more reason to support each other and the businesses and brands you love.

Virtual support may not be as good as physical cash, but it’s better than doing nothing. Perhaps give some of your favourite businesses a boost by leaving them positive online reviews.

Show support in different ways: Look for other ways you could support your community, shops or people, even if you can’t be there in person. For example, if a concert or gig has been called off, think about buying some merchandise instead.

Don’t panic buy: It’s difficult, but try to keep a level head. Make and stick to a sensible budget, don’t panic buy 
and help others where possible.

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