Interactive Investor

Forget inflation baskets, coronavirus has taken Britain back to basics

16th March 2020 11:23

Myron Jobson from interactive investor


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During these tough times, it's worth reassessing spending habits stresses interactive investor's Personal Finance Campaigner Myron Jobson.

The contents of this year’s so-called ‘inflation basket’ of goods have today been revealed by the Office for National Statistics. But given the recent coronavirus-related panic buying of toilet roll, paracetamol, nappies and other ‘essentials’, it already feels out of date.

The basket of goods helps measure the changing cost of products and services over time. It is updated annually to reflect consumer behaviour, showing the changing tastes and habits of UK shoppers.

Most notable in the 2020 basket is the reusable bottle/mug, which reflects greater focus on environment concerns and a move from single-use plastic to more sustainable items.

Myron Jobson, Personal Finance Campaigner, interactive investor, says: “The inflation basket might be a sign of the times, but it has been rendered largely academic this time around. Vegetable crisps, crumpets and ‘cocktails in a can’ may now be languishing on shelves as the nation heads back to basics, with panic buying of toilet rolls and paracetamol the new norm. Hopefully this will not be the case for long – nobody needs to turn their home into a warehouse.

“Reusable mugs and bottles are in the 2020 inflation basket, but coronavirus concerns have sadly changed the story here too in the short term, with fears about how they might spread germs. We all have our own inflation number – our tastes, spending habits and spending power are all different – but with holidays out and basics back in, we could all be having a much more frugal summer. 

“It is not a bad time to reassess spending habits more generally by keeping your own record of your spending. You might be a more frivolous shopper than you think, which could impact how much you need to save for your long-term goals, or it could make you adjust your spending.”

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