We’re all looking for ways to make the most of our hard-earned cash. With a little attention (and minimal effort), there are small things that can have a big impact on our budget.
Many appliances these days have a standby mode. When you turn them off you’ll still notice a red light glowing because, when they’re in standby mode, they still use electricity. Make sure that you turn them off fully, using the actual off-switch on the appliance, or the wall plug.
We waste a lot of money on impulse shopping. So make a list of things you really need each time you shop – even if it’s only three or four items. And then only buy those items. This will stop you from spending money on things you don’t actually need at the moment.
It may sound unnecessarily frugal but, if you get into the habit of drinking water with meals, or when you’re thirsty, not only will you save money – you’ll be healthier too. Water is the best way of keeping yourself hydrated and it doesn’t contain all kinds of harmful ingredients. And you won’t need to buy all kinds of unnecessary beverages.
We all love convenience food – ready-made meals that we can warm up, or takeaways. But they cost a lot more per meal than it does to make yourself. To save time you can make meals in advance and store them in the freezer, so you just have to warm them up when you need them.
These may cost a bit more initially, but they will last longer and use much less electricity, saving you money in the long run.
Yes, we’re all tempted to indulge in some comfort shopping when we’re feeling stressed or depressed. But, not only does this waste money, it also doesn’t really work. It’s far more effective to exercise or meditate.
Unnecessary acceleration wastes petrol. The most cost-effective way to drive is to keep the accelerator in a constant place with your foot. (On most cars this 'sweet spot' is a third of the way down). Learn to anticipate traffic movements so that you don’t have to brake and accelerate, but can just lightly move the accelerator to adjust speed.
There are very good reasons why your car manual tells you the ideal pressure for your tyres. The right pressure is crucial for safety. But your car also uses more fuel if your tyre pressure is too low. Make sure you check your pressure every time you stop at a garage.
We usually buy more clothes than we need because we have too many different colours and styles. By categorising clothes into colours (hanging or resting), we gain good insight into what we wear the most. Make an effort to record what you don't use, have a jumble sale or donate the clothes you don't need to charity. By compartmentalising your wardrobe, you won’t need to buy so many clothes.
You can save a lot of money on food bills by growing your own veg and herbs. And you will also have the benefit of eating organically.
The only real difference between branded items in supermarkets (like paper towels or dishwashing liquid) is the price. You’re paying for the brand name. In most cases the quality is the same with no-name or store brands. Buy those instead.
Whenever you’re tempted to buy something on impulse, pause for half a minute and consider if you really need it. Remember, if you haven’t needed it before, you won’t miss it if you don’t own it.
You know the old adage: you get what you pay for. Obviously you want to avoid buying items that are too expensive when there are cheaper alternatives. But do your research first. A cheap appliance that you have to replace after six months will end up costing you more than a more expensive item that lasts for three years.
You don’t always have to have the latest and greatest. At the rate that technology is changing, if you wait six months or a year to get an appliance or a device, it will have drastically dropped in price because it will have been replaced by a newer version. But it will still have all the power it has now – and that’s usually more than enough.
If you didn’t need something before, chances are you won’t need it in the immediate future. Don’t give in to marketing jargon or advertising spin that’s designed to make you think you need a product/service. Work out what you need and don’t fall for consumer culture traps.