One angry old man against the world
(Many people may find this somewhat OTT, but if your trying to exist on an English state pension, I think you will find it useful. -Spikey.)
In today’s climate of job uncertainty, reducing wages and rising prices, any way of reducing your outgoings can be very welcome and needn’t involve great sacrifice!
1/ Drafts are a major loss of heat in Winter and cause lots of dust ingress in Summer. Commercial draft strip can be expensive, I suggest the use of the 2inch wide Sellotape , just tape up any windows you don’t intend to open in Winter (or rarely open.)
2/ Switch off lights as you leave a room!
3/ Only put enough water in the kettle for your current needs!
4/ When you finish charging your phone (etc.) unplug the charger!
5/ Unplug, or switch off TV, satellite, and recorder, etc., when not in use!
6/ Use a microwave instead of an oven, when used correctly, the food is much tastier, the kitchen stays cooler, you use less pots and pans (less washing up to do) and it uses far less power: The average microwave uses about 1Kw, compared to 3-5Kw for an oven! Also, get yourself a good microwave cookbook!
7/ In winter near windows on the sunny side of the house, put dark or black furnishing, carpets, (etc.) to convert the sun to heat, in summer open the window to create a free air conditioner!
8/ Keep expanded polythene packaging, (both sheet and beads) they make great free insulation, (for roof space, hot water tank, etc.)
9/ In Winter, when you finish washing or bathing, leave the water in the sink or bath until it cools, keep the heat in the house, after all, you paid for it!
10/ In Summer, keep a large bottle of water in the fridge or freezer (don’t fill it completely, [expansion]) then on really hot days, stand it high up near where you sit, its a lot cheaper than an air conditioner!
11/ When shopping, look for special offers, don’t go by item price, look at price per Kilogramme for similar items! Buy loose rather than pre-packaged, why should you pay for the stuff (packaging) you don’t need?
12/ Learn to drive gently, hard acceleration followed by heavy braking just wastes fuel and therefore money!
13/ Clean out the car of junk you don’t need, keep the spare, jack and wheel brace, plus a few tools, anything else is costing you money to drive around!
14/ Keep the tyres correctly inflated, soft tyres reduce free running and cause uneven wear as does over-inflation! (Don’t forget the spare!)
15/ Better yet, trade in that ‘juice guzzler’ for a ‘greener’ model!
16/ Don’t use a credit card unless you can pay the full amount at the end of the month! Or go for a ‘debit card.’
17/ Never, ever, use a loan shark, its best to avoid any loans, but if you must, don’t touch anything with an APR of more than a few per cent/year!
18/ If something looks ‘too good to be true’, it probably is, so avoid it!
19/ If your not watching the TV, turn it off and unplug it. Your neighbours will love you and you’ll love the electric bill!
20/ If in daylight, you like to read, place your chair near a window, use the free energy, not the costly stuff!
21/ If you’re in the market for a new fridge/freezer, go with the low energy models. Any electrical item that’s running 24/7 needs to be ultra efficient! Do you really need that enormous American model?
22/ Learn some DIY skills, you will be amazed how much you can save, and it can be a very satisfying feeling to look at something and say “I did that”!
If something stops ‘working’, before you throw it out, take it apart (if you can and make sure you unplug it,) it might be something simple and obvious, like a broken connection.
23/ Don’t sign up with your credit card to special offers on TV, most are a rip-off and once they have your card number, you will forever receive ‘trail offers’ which they can charge you for unless you pay to send them back!
24/ In winter, wear extra clothes and try to keep active! Then you can turn down that inefficient central heating system!
25/ Avoid buying anything at the door! Remember, its you thats paying the guys wages!
26/ Try to avoid ‘disposable items’, in the long run, they often work out a great deal more expensive than the traditional methods.
27/ Don’t buy that ‘special offer’ unless you really need it! Many shops make a fortune on ‘impulse buyers’ and ‘two for one’ deals, so take care! (It’s not a bargan if you throw half of it away.)
28/ I know this is difficult for many women, but shopping as a method of lifting your spirits, is a very short term fix and often leads to heavy debt! Try doing something different instead, join a club, take up a sport, learn DIY (see 22).
29/ Giving-up smoking and/or drinking, is a great way to save a lot of money, it may also save your life, or a good part of it! Need motivation? Total up how much you spend in a year on what is just another addictive, destructive drug!
30/ Walk, or cycle wherever possible (even part journeys), instead of using the car, bus or train, even if its only once or twice a week, it will save you money and its good for your heath and the environment!
31/ Cook more at home, instead of eating out! Not only is it much cheaper, you can prepare it just how you like it! It need not be a time consuming chore, get yourself a good microwave and a cookbook, (see 6.)
32/ Switch your computer off at the wall socket, or unplug it when not in use! (Even though it appears to be shut down, it still uses power if its available!) Leaving it permanently on is just another scam by the energy utilities!
33/ Don’t throw food out because its a few days over its sell or consume date, it will often be good for weeks! If it smells OK and looks OK, it probably is OK!
34/ Buy supermarket ‘own’ brands, they are much cheaper than ‘big brand’ names and quite often produced by the self same ‘big brands’! So if you have a favourite ‘big brand’, shop around various supermarket ‘own brands’ until you find the right one!
35/ If you have a friend or friends who live and work near you, try arranging a car share pool! It will save you all money and the wear and tear on both your cars and your nerves!
36/ If you’re spending lots on computer software, consider LINUX, its completely free, comes with all the basics; word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, etc. All are compatible with windows stuff, plus the system is faster, more reliable, and less attractive to hackers and virus writers! Most other software is free or a lot cheaper than windows stuff!
37/ Don’t spend money on rubbish bags, use the plastic supermarket bags you bring your shopping home in!
38/ If your feet get cold watching the box, don’t turn up the heating, put paper bags on your feet instead! Much cheaper! Only use plastic bags if you live alone, they work, but make your feet sweaty/smelly!
39/ Live alone? Don’t throw away uneaten food, use it to make bubble & squeak, and/or reheat it later in the microwave!
40/ Don’t buy Christmas and Birthday cards, make them yourself, or if you have kids, get them to make them! Family and friends will appreciate them far more anyway, if they are ‘personalised’!
41/ If you must buy your Christmas cards, buy them after Christmas for the next year, from the many shops that overstocked them and are practically giving them away!
42/ Be wary of regular sales, many shops stock up on shoddy, cheap crap just for the sales, so examine the product thoroughly before parting with your hard earned cash!
43/ Don’t buy the ‘maintenance insurance’ offer, when you purchase electrical/mechanical goods, you always get at least a one year guarantee on all new stuff anyway, so the ‘insurance’ is a waste of money! Anyway, getting money out of an insurance company is always difficult to say the least!
44/ If you have cash, many shops will actually barter, you can save as much as 20% when you get good at it! Don’t try it on the normal staff, go for the manager!
45/ Don’t buy new jewellery as an investment unless you intend to keep it for many years, the mark-up is one of the largest in retail! Second hand jewellery is a different matter, if you do your homework, real bargains are possible! Look at car boot sales!
46/ Car boot sales are a good source of many usable bargains, but examine the item well before buying, there are no returns if you find it’s broken when you get it home!
47/ Cash & carry warehouses can save you money if you have the storage space! Remember you have to purchase a whole box of items, not single items! With food stuff, don’t buy perishables, its not a saving if you have to throw most of it away!
48/ Fill up your car at the supermarket, their fuel is often cheaper than the ‘normal’ garage! Watch for special offers!
49/ Fruits like bananas will last much longer in the bottom of the fridge provided they are not too ripe or bruised to begin with. The Skins will turn black, but you’ll find the the fruit inside is fine!
50/ Bread like French or rolls, can be frozen and will stay fresh for days, even weeks! Some types of bread freeze better than others! Stale bread can be revived by sprinkling with water and a burst on full power in the microwave!