6 things to buy during lockdown that are actually worthwhile

Posted: 9 September 2021 3:31 pm
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It's easy to over-indulge when there's not much else to do. But there are savvy ways to spend too.

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If you have a craving for splashing the cash during lockdown, you're definitely not alone. Lots of us have relied on retail therapy and spontaneous purchases to make it through.

However, next time you get the desire to drop some money on a 12ft kayak in the middle of winter (just me?) remember that there are sensible ways to spend cash too. Including:

Education

If you've grown sick of your job during lockdown, if you're keen to upskill or you've been thinking about retraining all together, now could be the perfect time to do it.

Many of us have extra time on our hands and fewer distractions, so online classes and homework are more feasible than ever before. Plus, adding some skills to your repertoire could put you in a better position job-wise, once we come out of all this.

You may be able to access subsidies or a HECS loan if you're enrolled in a Commonwealth-supported institution. However, if not, you can also apply for a personal loan for student costs, including courses, textbooks and equipment .

For example, SocietyOne offers personal loans of between $5,000 and $50,000 with interest rates starting as low as 5.95% p.a. for borrowers with excellent credit.

A young woman studies at her laptop.

Solar panels

Rooftop solar panels can not only give you greener energy and lower electricity bills, they can even add value to your home.

In fact, Origin Energy surveyed over 1,000 Australians and found 77% valued a home higher if it was installed with solar panels. International studies have also shown solar panels can add thousands of dollars to the value of your home.

Plus, with government rebates available to many buyers, the average solar panel installation might not be as expensive as you think.

A man carries a solar panel towards a home.

Home renos

If adding value to your home has piqued your interest, you might want to consider planning some home renos. For example, installing a new kitchen can add tens of thousands of dollars to the value of your home while reworking the floor plan to add a new room could add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the value. Yes, really.

Of course, the upfront cost is significant. Funding options include withdrawing from your home loan, remortgaging your home or taking out a personal loan.

For example, if you took out a $40,000 personal loan from SocietyOne to be paid back over 5 years with an interest rate of 5.95% p.a., you'd be looking at fortnightly repayments of $356. By the time you paid the loan off, you'd have paid an extra $6,343 in interest and fees.

However, you may have doubled or even tripled your return on investment (if you're savvy with your renos, that is.)

A man works on kitchen renovations.

A new skill

Learning a new skill doesn't have to be work-related. There are plenty of skills you can pick up which can give you that accomplished feeling you might have been missing during lockdown.

If you don't have your licence yet, you could learn to drive a car or ride a motorbike. Alternatively, you could take a photography course or enrol in language classes.

A young woman fastens her helmet on a motorbike.

Hobbies

Hobbies keep us sane and healthy. If you have a hobby you love and it has been your lifeline during lockdown, why not treat yourself by upgrading the equipment required for your hobby?

That could be new photography gear, music instruments or even more extravagant items like bikes, boats or cars.

A young woman plays guitar next to her girlfriend.

Medical procedures

If you've been thinking about cosmetic surgery or even an expensive dental procedure, lockdown could be the time to get it booked in.

From braces to veneers and rhinoplasty to liposuction, there are lots of procedures that can be life-changing even though they're categorised as cosmetic. Of course, if you're in lockdown right now or facing restrictions check that the procedure you want is currently available.

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Paying for it

Of course, many of these expenses come with a pretty big price tag. For example, a TAFE floristry course can cost more than $8,000 if you're not eligible for subsidies.

There are ways to make the expense more manageable though, including credit cards and personal loans, which allow you to spread the cost over a longer time period.

However, generally speaking, credit cards are more suitable for repayments over a shorter time frame while personal loans are better for long-term repayments.

For example, if you borrowed $8,000 from SocietyOne, with an interest rate of 5.95% p.a., to be paid back over 3 years, you'd be looking at repayments of $243 a month, including interest. By the time you'd paid it off, you would have spent an extra $755 on interest.

In comparison, the average standard interest rate on credit cards is 19.94% p.a., according to the Reserve Bank of Australia. Borrowing $8,000 and paying it off over 3 years would cost $298 a month, without factoring in any ongoing fees. By the time you'd paid the loan off, you would have spent an extra $2,694 on interest.

Fund your home improvements with a personal loan from SocietyOne

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Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Application Fee Monthly Service Fee Monthly Repayment
SocietyOne Unsecured Personal Loan

From 5.95% (fixed)
5.95%
$5,000
2 to 5 years
from $0 to $595
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.95% p.a. and 19.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
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