I Cannot Save Money
I do not earn enough to pay all the bills, so saving is impossible.
The Hidden Costs of Living
If I gave you £50, would you take it?
I can help you save £1 a week, and that is over £50 a year.
It is about finding a few pennies here and there, constantly, week in, week out.
Then the £50 needs to be re-invested to save you more money.
How to Save the Pennies
- Every time you leave a room, switch the light off. This can save you over 10p a week. 90p left
- TVs, DVD players, computers and Sound Systems use power when they are on standby. Switch them off at the mains. This can save over 69p a week. 21p left.
- Limit TV time to 5 hours a night and do not leave the TV on as background sound. This will save you over 70p a week. £1.49 saved – over target.
- When you take milk, or anything else, out of the fridge/freezer – close the door and put the items back quickly. If you leave them out to warm up, the fridge uses more power to cool them down again. (at least 20p a week saved – £1.69 saved)
- Consider using lower wattage bulbs when you replace light bulbs, but only if it safe to do it. Usually saves about 20p per bulb per week, for often-used lights. (20p a week, £1.89 saved.)
- If you bake or cook in the oven, consider combining 2 meals or loaves in one baking. Save one baking a week can save over 25p a week. £2.14 saved.)
- Microwaves use quite a lot of electricity. Serve meals up as soon as they are cooked, not pre-prepared and reheated.
- If you have electric heating, turn the thermostats down 1 degree.
- Use rechargeable batteries if you have items consuming large amounts of batteries.
- If you are charging phones, tablets etc. up from the mains, unplug the charger once the item is charged up.
- Call the electricity company and check you are on the cheapest tariff for you.
Let’s assume £2.00 a week.
These are all estimates and are based on UK KWH prices as of October 2016. This will vary from country to country and size of family etc.
It is clear that by adapting to slightly better habits, it is possible to save at least £1 a week, just on electricity usage. In fact by becoming aware of how we use money can easily save you £2 a week on electricity. Later, I will show you how to re-invest to save even more money.
The same rules for baking apply to cooking on the hob by electricity or gas.
- Consider cooking several vegetables in one pot, instead of separate saucepans.
- Gas is often used for heating. Turn the thermostat down a tiny bit and wear slightly warmer clothes, only if it is safe to do so.
- Fresh air is good but central heating on with windows open is great for the birds but not for our pockets.
- If there are rooms usually empty, turn the radiators down in those rooms and shut the doors.
- Check timers. See that the heating comes on at sensible times when the heating is needed.
- Check the water temperature in central heating systems. The water in your hot water taps can often be turned down a little.
- Call the gas supplier and check you are on the cheapest price scheme for you.
Let’s assume £2 per week.
- Do you really need to run the engine to warm the car up before starting?
- Switch the engine off while you are waiting for someone.
- Keep the tank fairly full. Petrol tanks can acquire water and other contaminants which form a layer at the bottom of the tank. These contaminants and water can affect the plugs and jets in the engine and cause engine problems. If you keep at least a quarter full tank if possible.
- In the UK, the filling stations near supermarkets are often 3 to 5 p a litre cheaper.
- Consider walking.
Let’s assume £2 per week.
- Are you the sort of person who has at least 3 of every clothes item? Rotate your clothes to extend their life.
- Some people need to wash clothes more frequently than others. Consider washing outer clothes less frequently.
- An old-fashioned habit: consider mending, especially pockets and things which are not visible, rather than throwing clothes away and buying new.
- Expensive branded shoes are no better than good quality unbranded. ‘Nuff said.
- Keep last season’s clothes neat and clean and stored neatly. They appear more attractive when the season changes.
Let’s assume £1 per week.
- Call the water company and ask if you are on the cheapest price model for you.
- Cut showers down by a few minutes, wash faster.
- Fill baths up a little less.
- Ask if it would be cheaper to have a water meter.
- Do you flush the toilet too often?
- Some people suggest putting half a brick in the cistern to reduce the amount of water flushed each time.
- If you are a pensioner, there are often special rates for utilities. Ask them.
Get a jar and put very small change in it every day.
It is amazing how, left for a month or a year, 5 pennies a day can mount up to £18.25 in a year.
It is not enough for a new car or a new TV. Collect the little bits together:
Electricity £2 / week
Gas £2 / week
Petrol £2 / week
Clothing £1 / week
Water £2 / week
Pennies £0.35 / week
Total £9.35 / week = £487 per year
Loans and Credit Cards
Loans and Credit cards are a special area. If you must borrow money, do not borrow money to buy consumables. It is easy to imagine paying loans off but the reality is that if you need a loan to buy groceries, you will struggle to pay off the loan. Remember that if you borrow £10 to buy groceries and pay the loan off over a year or two, those groceries will end up costing you £20. Can you afford that?
I am not rich and I have credit cards and overdrafts and I have calculated what they really cost me, when I have used them. It is horrendous. My advice is to help you, not to preach to you.
The £$ relationship is so volatile that, at the moment, the potential savings are probably similar, for £ read $.
The Principle Remains the Same
Saving money is a matter of attitude, a mindset most of us have lost. Our grandparents had it much stronger than we have. Perhaps because so much of our money dealings are not done with cash we struggle with the reality of what things cost. We use cards, direct debits, bank transfers etc. All these hide the true amounts we are spending.
Other areas, we spend too much on, might be:
Telephones – landline and mobile phones.
Broadband – Internet access
A Slow Solution
It is not a quick fix to make these changes in the way we think. Imagine, though, after a year, you have another £487 in your budget, maybe more. The interest you have saved, by not using the credit card or borrowing money, can be added to that.
How to Re-invest
Save some of the money for a rainy day.
Buy larger bottles of shampoo, cleaning agents etc. The larger ones are cheaper per litre.
Pay off chunks of loans or cards. The interest and charges will add to next year’s savings.
I am sure you will find ways to sensibly use the savings you have made.
There are plenty more ways to save money and if you look at them and adjust your thinking it will be possible to gradually modify your lifestyle. Fewer debts mean lower stress. Less stress means fewer doctors’ bills and less time off work.
All this adds up to a happier lifestyle.
We are being conned and sucked in to money crippling arrangements these days, by companies desperate to use any tactics they can to get us to buy. “Buy now, pay later.” Check out these deals. What happens if you do not pay off the whole debt when arranged? The interest on the contracted deal is usually so high that the company hopes you DO NOT pay.
Always speak to your suppliers and try and negotiate better deals.
Try this one: “How can I pay less for the same…..?”
Thank you for reading and I hope I have helped you in some small way.
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