Saving and Living on a Tight Budget

All anyone ever talks about these days is the financial crisis that the whole world is going through and unless you are very rich it’s a very big worry for all the rest.  A situation that came about not through your fault, but through bigger powers out of your control.

But as your home budget and how you use or save it is under your control, below are a few suggestions which might help save quite a bit.

–  First thing is to hide all credit cards away in a drawer. Getting into even more debt with credit cards only makes matters worse.

–  Try and pay off any existing credit card debts if you can. Once they are paid off you wont have to pay the interest every month and you will have that amount in your bank account instead.

–  Don’t buy flowers for your home for the time being. They are very pretty but they cost money and then they die. A nice display of dried or artificial flowers will last years and if you used to buy a bunch every week at say € 15 that’s a saving of € 780 a year already !

–  This is not a time for buying clothes, shoes etc.  If it gets you down that you can’t have something new or different to wear for some occasion take a good look into your wardrobe.  Look at the clothes that you haven’t worn for a long time and so obviously don’t like that much and see if they can be altered or changed.  A dress that is no longer in fashion can be changed into either a top or a skirt just by taking a pair of scissors to the waistline!  A long sleeved winter blouse can be turned into a blouse for the summer just by cutting off the sleeves.  Other clothes can be dyed to different colours the same as old shoes.  A pair of jeans can be cut to shorts.  If you use your imagination you could rig up quite a few new outfits out of the clothes that you already have.

–  If you had a house cleaner it’s time to decide to tidy and clean your home on your own. It will make you fitter and if you just do one different room each day, another day iron, another day wash, another clean windows etc by the end of the week your whole home will have been done and you just start all over again the following week. You will probably lose a kilo or two by the end of the month and if you had a cleaner come in once a week for say 3 hours paying € 10 an hour that’s another saving of € 1.560 a year.

–  Try not to use your mobile except for real emergencies. No more chatting to friends on the phone about what you’ve been doing with your day!. If you want to chat make a quick appointment on the phone to meet somewhere for a coffee and then you can do all the chatting that you want for free. You can save a real amount here – anywhere from € 2.600 and upwards a year.

–  You can also ring up your mobile phone company to make sure that you have the most economic contract that they can offer you.  They usually suggest themselves ideas for keeping your phone bills lower.

–  Change all the light bulbs in your house for the economy ones. They last much longer than normal light bulbs and use far less electricity.

–  Buy rechargeable batteries.  One is always needing batteries to work things and so with rechargeable ones you never need to go out every again to buy batteries.

–  Try not to put the heating on except where really necessary and instead just put on warmer clothes with maybe even thermal underwear.  Anything that heats uses a lot of electricity. Getting under a thick and large sofa blanket to watch television will keep you nice and warm.

–  Shower instead of taking a bath. You use far less water in a shower.

–  When doing your food shopping always make a list of what you really need and stick to it. If you go without a list you always end up buying extra things that you didn’t really need in the first place.

–  Go on a diet and cut down on the food that you eat and hence buy. Have a good breakfast, a light lunch and in the evening try to survive with a hot bowl of soup and toast or a French omelette. Doctors are always saying that it is dangerous for your health to be overweight and so now is a good time to get slimmer while leaving your bank account a little fatter! You will probably find that you sleep better as well when you don’t have a heavy meal in the evenings.

–  If you used to be a member of a gym it would be a good idea to opt out for a while as this is another quite large amount used up every year. Instead get on your bicycle that you’ve probably forgotten about and maybe needs just a little bit of oiling to get it back into shape. If it’s raining and you can’t go out put on some good disco music and dance about in your sitting room for about half and hour. You’ll end up feeling it was almost as good as a work out in the gym.

–  Look after your car as much as you can yourself.  Make sure it has water, that the oil is up to the level marked, brake fluids up to the level, battery working well etc and etc.  The more you care for your car the less likely that it will get any problems and have to be taken to the garage where they will probably give you a hefty bill for putting things right.

–  Look around to see whether you can find another company who will offer you a cheaper price for your car insurance.  I know of one person that was paying € 900 a year for his car insurance until he found another company that gave him the same deal for € 400 a year.  Imagine the saving there!

–  Ring up your electricity company and make sure that you are have contracted the cheapest tariff such as the night one.  This is where you are allotted a cheaper rate of electricity during the night which is when you should put on your washing machines, dish washers, tumble dryers, water heaters and ovens for baking.  If you can’t wait till mid-night to switch them on as you are too tired things can be set to turn on at certain times with the use of ‘timer switches’. 

–  Don’t go out to eat at restaurants.  If you still want to be social then plan a nice dinner party at home and let each couple bring a bottle of wine between them.  Nowadays more people are entertaining at home and it’s just as fun.

–  No more speeding with your car or parking where you shouldn’t or anything like that.  You can’t afford to get any fines from the police so be extra careful and of course no drinking before driving as that is usually the heftiest of fines.

–  Try to learn how to deal with your hair at home without relying on hairdressers.  The tints and dyes on the market these days are really quite easy to use and if you need a bit of a trim see whether one of your friends could help you out here.

Hopefully some of these ideas will be useful to you and leave you with a healthier bank account!