Money Saving Tips, Beat the credit crunch
The credit crunch is here, we're on the brink of a recession. Its time to batton down the hatches, tighten your purse strings and save some money. Of course don't over do it. Pick and choose what you can do without spoiling your quality of life. Here are my top money saving tips:
#1 Fuel. Most people can easily save 10% or more your fuel costs by changing their driving habits. First set off early and drive more slowly. Don't accelerate too hard and don't let your revs get too high before changing gear. Avoid unnecessary braking by keeping a good distance from vehicles in front of you. Anticipate needing to slow down and let your vehicle decelerate rather than braking late. Also ensure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure. All of these will save you fuel.
#2 Water. While its nice to stand in the shower relaxing, remember its pennies down the drain if you're on a metered supply. Get in, wash and out promptly. Half the time in the shower is half the cost of the water and the electricity/gas to heat it.
Don't wash a few dishes, wash a lot at any one time. A full sink (of dishes) or dish washer is more economical on water. If your washing machine has an economy mode, use it. If this heats up the water in your system like mine does, this is an ideal time to run hot water for washing dishes etc. as you don't have to run off cold water to get the hot water to come through.
#3 Electricity and Gas. Don't use your tumble dryer unless you have to. Plan ahead, get clothes outside to dry or on your radiators or hung up in your house if you have the heating on anyway.
Do you have an ornamental fire? It may well be best left off and using your central heating system if you have it. Speaking of which, knocking a few degrees off your thermostat can make a significant difference to your heating bill. Turning off lights / electrical appliances when not needed should be obvious.
Cut the grass every week? I cut mine every 2 weeks. That's half the fuel and time. While its start to look a bit raggedy at the end of the second week its not that bad, and it doesn't seem to take much longer to cut than a weekly cut. Bonus - saves you a lot of time too.
#4 Luxuries. Do you really need those extra cable or satellite channels - do you watch them that much? Do you like to drink (alcohol) a lot. Do you get a lot of takeaway meals. Decide what you can do without or less of and make changes. Do you play World of Warcraft? Cancel your account now and get a life - that's what I did.
#5 Shopping. Buy cheaper brands of the same product if there's no significant difference. Example: For years I used Brand X toothpaste. My parents used it so I used it. It was habit and I had confidence in it. For God's sake it was toothpaste! What possible significant difference could there be between Brand X and the cheap shop brand. I switched to cheaper brands a long time ago. Sure there's no fancy packet or coloured stripes in the toothpaste - but my teeth are just clean, breath just as fresh and I've never needed to visit the dentist in all that time.
Don't shop on an empty stomach. You'll usually buy a lot more of the kind of stuff you can perhaps do without or make impulse purchases of items you might not have otherwise. Take advantage of special offers, but only on products you would have bought anyway. Then you are really saving money.
Car share for shopping! If there's a drive involved, sharing with parent or friends will cut the cost of fuel to get there. Also a combined shop might take you over the limit to get special vouchers such as 'over £50 gets 5p a litre off fuel'. You can also take advantage of special offers like 'buy 1 get one free' and split them between you. Make use of points cards and take your own bags, especially if that gets you extra points.
Get extra life out of dish cloths by putting them in with your next batch of clothes washing.
You can often get away with a little less of regular items you use like toothpaste, washing up liquid, shampoo etc.