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As Brexit looms mere weeks away, the British Government is sending out messages along the lines of: “No need to stockpile before Brexit”. If there’s anything we’ve learned from 2020, it’s that, when we hear communications like that, we’re suspicious! Does that mean we SHOULD stockpile, really? Will there be shortages of food and products? How will Brexit impact our finances – and can stockpiling save against sudden price rises in 2021?
First of all, we’re not here to cause panic. We all remember the Toilet Paper Crisis of March 2020 and we don’t want to see a repeat of that, thank you.
Stockpiling, however, might suit SOME people for SOME products. It does NOT mean “take everything on the shelf and leave nothing for anyone else”. It means “Pick up one extra (or two, if you must for an oft-used essential) and leave the rest for your fellow neighbours”.
Stockpiling can be useful for some things, such as:
- Dried goods like pasta and noodles
- Tinned foods
- Frozen food – if you have space in your freezer
- Items you use regularly like toothpaste and shampoo
It’s not ideal for:
- Fresh produce (unless you have a way to freeze or preserve it)
- Short-dated products (the yellow sticker shelf)
- One-off items you rarely use
- Taking everything off the shelf so no one else can get it
Stockpiling for Brexit is something many MoneyMagpies have been doing for a while now, too. Michelle says: “The last few months, I’ve picked up an extra tin of something here and there to put in the cupboard – particularly when I see something like a buy-one-get-one-free offer. I hope Brexit doesn’t affect things too much, but with the pandemic and a shielding husband, it made sense to me to prepare ahead of time just in case.”
She points out some good reasons for adding extra food to her pantry:
- It saves on fuel costs by reducing the number of grocery shops required
- She takes advantage of savings and offers to help keep costs down
- It prepares her for another lockdown with a clinically vulnerable household member
- The stuff she adds is what she’ll use anyway – nothing new or unnecessary
- She could save on future price rises on her most-used products.
However, as with any debate – there are two sides to every story.
There are many disadvantages to stockpiling. The first, and most obvious, is that more selfish people will take everything for themselves and leave nothing for others.
Other disadvantages to stockpiling for Brexit include:
- Taking up unnecessary room in your home
- Not having access to a freezer or pantry for storage
- Food going out of date before you can use it
- Not really saving money – is that deal really a deal?
- Buying things on offer you’ve not tried before – and realise you don’t like (wasted money)
- Encouraging panic-buying of others that leave shelves empty unnecessarily.
Unless you KNOW a product is going to go up in price (and, at time of writing, we couldn’t find concrete evidence of this happening), you might not make any savings. You could also end up spending more money than you would without stockpiling because you’ll buy products you don’t like or need!
These are the reasons the Government are telling us we shouldn’t be stockpiling. However, with reports of Brexit causing delays at the border, what could this mean for our supply chain?
Will prices go up on produce after Brexit? The truth is, we don’t know. It’s likely we could see price rises as increased import/export duties impact manufacturers and suppliers both in the UK and EU. However, these rises could soon level out or even dip as the inevitable shaky start is smoothed out over time. In addition, many companies will already be adapting to make sure they can continue supply in the UK – so this could counteract some of the price rises.
At the time of writing (16th December 2020), we still have no information on the Brexit deal. This means it’s incredibly tricky to predict what could happen and how to protect our finances in the future. There are, however, some things to consider:
- British ex-pats living in the EU should switch to an EU bank provider as soon as possible. UK banks are closing account for UK citizens living in the EU
- EU banks have a further three years to operate in the UK – and could extend this with future legislation – so UK residents with EU bank accounts need not worry
- New job opportunities could be created in the wake of Brexit – meaning additional or new income streams for entrepreneurs
- Rules for working abroad – and with clients in the EU – will change. Check your working status and visa requirements as soon as possible.
- After 1st January 2021, you’ll need to apply – and pay – for visas to most EU countries, so factor this cost into your holiday budget
- Pet passports may not be sufficient – factor in at least four months prior to travel to arrange pet travel to EU countries (adding extra expense)
- Mobile roaming fees may be charged when you’re in the EU – consider switching to Vodafone, Three, O2, or EE, who have committed to no re-introduction of these fees
- Pound sterling is expected to bounce after the first few months of Brexit (though of course, this isn’t guaranteed) – so it could be worth getting your Euros for next year’s holiday now (or get at least half now, to mitigate some risk here)
- Negative interest rates are unlikely in the near future as UK banks aren’t set up for them
- House prices are likely to dip (especially after the end of the Stamp Duty Holiday)
- New mortgage applicants may need to be UK residents (Santander has already declared this and other banks are expected to follow)
- Energy prices could rise – so it’s a good time to reassess your tariff and switch supplier.
We’ll continue to monitor the situation and advise of changes as-and-when they’re published.
As you can see, Brexit (and, let’s face it, Covid-19) will have a huge impact on our finances in some form. Stockpiling for Brexit is just one thing to consider – and even then, it might not be worth it. Are you stockpiling this December? Comment below!