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Tips to help survive the financial crisis

Many of us are directly suffering the effects of the recent financial crisis and it is increasingly hard to get to the end of the month.

During these difficult times, we need to tighten our belts and think of ways of saving money without needing to make major changes to our lifestyle. It is important to learn how to run a household on less money until our personal circumstances improve. Even if your circumstances have not changed, why not try these tips and put the money you save on one side for a special holiday or treat?

Here are some tips on how to cut costs and survive the crisis. They are simple things that we can all apply to our daily lives without too much effort that can save us hundreds of dollars a year. Some of the tips are not suitable for everyone, but you may be surprised how easy it is to save money without really noticing!

saving-money

Home

The subprime crisis means there is an excess of properties available for rent, with very reasonable prices depending on the area.

Transport

The rising price of gas means you should learn to drive more economically to make a tank of fuel last longer. Drive smoothly, avoiding sharp braking, and check the tire pressure regularly. Avoid using your car air-conditioning unless you really are overheating!

And why not consider not using the car for shorter journeys? Take the bus, or walk or cycle. That’ll keep you fit too!

Bills

In winter: Get your house ready for the cold weather by insulating windows and doors to stop valuable heat from being lost from the rooms. Why heat a room so that most of the energy can be lost through the gaps in the windows? Keep the heating thermostat a little lower than usual, and put on a sweater. Neither do you want to feel cold at home, but in turn it is a waste of energy (and money) to heat your home in winter and then walk around in a t-shirt. Lowering the temperature on the thermostat means a large difference in your energy bill. You might be surprised to learn that leaving appliances on standby also adds money to your bill, so try to turn everything off at the wall every night.

In summer: Take it easy with the air-conditioning. Leave it off when you are not in the house and raise the thermostat a few degrees. You really won’t notice the difference, but you will notice the difference when your energy bill arrives. Consider ceiling fans, as they help keep you cool but are more economical.

Pack lunch

If you need to travel to work, don’t waste money on driving home for lunch, going to the sandwich bar or eating in restaurants. Instead pack your own lunch in a cool bag, such as sandwiches, pasta or rice salad, or yesterday’s soup in a thermos, accompanied by fruit and yogurt. If you can’t face eating every day at your desk, go to a local park for an al fresco lunch. This is also a good way of losing weight if that is your goal, as you control the amount you eat and know exactly what you are eating.

Shopping list

It is important to go to the supermarket when you have a full stomach and having made a full list of what you need. This prevents the temptation to impulse buy. Don’t buy large amounts of food that will soon be past the expiry date, as you will end up throwing things away, another waste of money. If you love meat but can’t afford the best steak, buy cheaper cuts and slow cook in stews.

Internet search

Use the Internet to research the cheapest prices of products in each store.

Take advice

Our mothers and grandmothers have been through moments like these, or worse, and can be a source of how to make the most of the ingredients you have available.

Own brand products

Supermarket own brand products are  usually of equally good quality as well-known brands. They are cheaper as they do not need to spend money on advertising.

Credit cards

Try not to use credit cards as the interest and charges charged by banks and credit institutions are astronomical.

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