Saturday, 27 September 2008

KEEP YOUR ELECTRICTY BILL DOWN

I overheard two women talking yesterday in my local shop and, although I caught only a few words, what I did hear absolutely astounded me! They appeared to be talking about washing and one of them said to the other "Oh no, I've put my line away now - I'm tumble drying everything now".

Probably the most electricity-hungry piece of equipment we can have in our homes is the tumble drier. Quite apart from the very "
un-green" aspect of that silly woman's statement - she obviously has no idea what her electricity bill costs every month (or is too rich to care).

I have a tumble drier, but I do everything possible
not to use it. Today is a beautiful September day- it is very warm, very sunny and only just a tiny bit breezy - and my washing is drying on the line. I will bring it in before the sun goes down and hang it carefully on the airer (I don't iron unless it is an absolute emergency!) so no electricity spent on drying that load of laundry! It smells better and costs less!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

SAVE MONEY ON CHRISTMAS CARD SENDING!

COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS!
91 days to go and money is tight - start planning now - it's not too late. Send e- cards, donate your money to charity instead, design your own.
More ideas at Happy Frugal Christmas

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

10 WAYS TO SAVE ON YOUR WEEKLY SHOP

  1. Beware the BOGOF (buy one, get one free). Buy them only if you would normally use the item and, a) you can eat it soon, b) it’s freezable or c) it will store for a long time. Otherwise, you may just be buying stuff you will eventually throw away – not very frugal!
  2. Leave the kids at home. Pester power can cost you a whole lot more on your weekly shop and those mini supermarket trolleys for your kids to push around may get you some peace for a few moments, but it will come at a cost!
  3. Pay attention – the supermarket easy listening music is played to slow you down – a slower shopper looks longer and then buys more. Stick to your list and concentrate.
  4. Organise your cupboards, fridge and freezer and check them, list in hand, before you go shopping.
  5. Talking of lists – plan your weekly menus and stick to your list.
  6. Keep a record of what you are spending every week. If you are popping out in your lunch-break to pick up a few things, add it all up. The end of the week total may give you a shock. You can freeze enough milk and bread for the week (remember to defrost the night before you need it).The more times you visit a supermarket, the more you spend.
  7. Don’t always buy the biggest size if a smaller size is on offer (e.g. if it’s buy 2 for £2 instead of £1.50 each or BOGOF), check the price against how many grams you are getting and work out which size is cheaper- this is a good workout for your brain too (but take a calculator if you need it!).
  8. Check where all the reduced food is – and it’s not always in one place – it’s often left on its original shelf for a while until staff get around to moving it. Scan the store for the reduced labels – but again buy only if you will use the item. Buy reduced fruit and vegetables only if you know you can cook/eat/freeze them that night.
  9. Use coupons that you can cut out of newspapers and magazines. You can get info on where they will be from sites like www.moneysavingexpert.com
  10. While we’re talking about coupons, think about getting printable ones off the internet. Just Google for money off vouchers or coupons.

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Tuesday, 9 September 2008

10 THINGS YOU CAN DO WITHOUT AS THE CREDIT CRUNCH BITES DEEPER

Daily newspapers - read the news on-line, watch it on TV or listen to the radio. This could save you around £6 per week depending on which newspaper you buy. Saving per month £24

Coffee from the coffee shop – even just 2 cups a day will save you around £14 per week – depending on supplier, size and type of coffee. Take a flask from home – or if you can, get it free at work! Saving per month £56.

Sandwiches from the shop around the corner- make your own at home, with fruit, cake or cereal bars from the supermarket. 5 bought lunches (a sandwich, drink, cake, piece of fruit) is likely to cost you at least £20 per week. Saving per month £80.

New Clothes - yes the new autumn season’s clothes are in the shops – but you don’t need to buy them. Evaluate your winter wardrobe critically – make sure you have 2 or 3 outfits for work, check the condition of them e.g. rips, missing buttons etc., and do the mending. Only buy new if a key piece in your wardrobe is worn out or damaged beyond repair. Think carefully about whether you need anything new - perhaps for a special celebration, it’s understandable, but otherwise plan a capsule wardrobe from items you already own, only purchasing the odd small item or accessory, if you really have to, to make up an outfit. Before you buy, go round the charity shops with a list – you’ll be helping someone else then as well as yourself! Try to stop seeing shopping as a pastime or hobby. Only shop when you absolutely have to. Saving per month – anything from £20 to whatever!!

New Shoes – as above, check soles and heels, start polishing your shoes to protect the leather and check out how much it will be to re-sole or re-heel them at the menders if they need it. Do not buy a lot of cheap shoes that have easily breakable straps and heels or thin soles. Saving per month average £20 – based on a shoe habit of £40 per pair, 6 times a year.

Takeaways – they are expensive and high in fat and salt. If you need a pizza or curry “takeout fix”, buy it from the supermarket and heat it up yourself. But limit yourself to no more than 1 or 2 a month. Savings will be around £40 per month (at least).

Magazines – stop that habit of picking up several magazines with your shopping every week, do you really have time to read them all? Decide which one magazine you really, really enjoy reading and subscribe to it. This will save you money – especially if you use Tesco deals vouchers to pay for it (in effect it’s then free). Saving per month based on three £3.95 magazines a week, purchased from the supermarket - around £48.

Parking Fees – yes, that’s hard, but see if you can car share (and share the cost) or alternate walking to work (if it’s possible) with taking the car or sharing with a colleague - try registering for a car share with the Liftshare website. If parking costs you just £1 per day and you can halve that, it will result in a possible saving per month of £10 (and, I know, parking is usually a lot more than that).

Sweets and Chocolate – yes, that’s really tough, but they both make you fat and rot your teeth (which will result in higher dental bills!). Try changing the way you see these items, from just something you pick up each time you go to the corner shop or supermarket, to looking at them as rare treats to be savoured now and then, not just munched on the hoof. Buy good, high percentage cocoa solids chocolate and occasionally savour a couple of squares with a coffee at home in the evening. The stronger flavour of high quality chocolate means you’ll want less and it more than makes up for the slightly higher price. Saving per month on for example, a Mars bar everyday – around £11.

Smoking – just stop. You know all the health risks and the cost is ridiculous. The average packet of 20 cigarettes costs £5.60, so if you’ve been smoking a packet a day and you give up, that’s a saving of around £160 per month.

So if you cut out all of the above you will be almost £500 per month better off! That’s £6000 per year! Think what that £6000 could do for you – pay your credit card, overdraft or mortgage off quicker, allow you to get some savings behind you, start paying into a pension, pay for next year’s holiday, replace your old banger of a car…
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