Winter Living Savings

The original post (The Facebook Stalker - page 2 of 3) has now been moved to join the start of the story. All the pages have now been recorded as one entire post. Find the complete story in my short story collection, 'Head Games'

At this time of year we tend to go wild with spending. I think this is because it can sometimes seem useless trying to save money on one hand, while splashing out on goodies for the family and more Christmas decorations for the tree, on the other. However, there are still some tiny ways in which we can try to minimise the outgoings in other areas of our lives. Our wallets will thank us for it in January during the wringing-of-hands season when the first bank statement of 2010 arrives in the post.

In and around the home

This is the time when cars get randomly attacked and vandalised in the street. We’ve had our cars smashed, used for a graffiti canvas, snowballed (which resulted in a broken side window), otherwise vandalised and a windscreen destroyed, all at this time of year when it’s dark and not many people are in the cold streets late at night. (And we live in a decent neighbourhood.) Make sure that you’re parking in a safe place and save yourself the stress. As you know, claiming on insurance is not totally free. They always get you back the following year.

Speaking of car insurance, if you park your car in your drive (driveway), or better still, in a garage, you get cheaper car insurance. Having a working alarm also helps lower the premium. If you’re older than 50, why not change your policy to one aimed at older people? If your senior parent lives with you, having them as the main policy holder and you as the second driver will save you a few bobs every year.

Reduce your hot water temperature at the source. You’ll be using a lot of it now and you’ll only be mixing it with cold water to cool it down. Why not save your boiler the hard work (electricity) of heating it up to that extent in the first place.

Register with cinema chains and take your kids to the cinema for free (at certain times). Win free tickets, music vouchers and cheap popcorn too. This is the time for presents. Get yourself and family some free stuff when you have the time to use them.

Let your printer work for you. Print your coupons from family days-out sites. Get fantastic deals and free trips.

If you have kids visiting who cannot sleep without a light on, use a night (plug-in) light instead of leaving your hall lights on all night.

Watch what you’re using your credit card to buy. If you used your credit card to purchase something which came at a discount of 10%, by the end of next year the interest you will have paid on the price of that particular garment/present will add up to significantly more than you ‘saved’ in the sale (unless, of course, you pay off your cards each month).

Eating ugly is good for you

Price depends largely on how attractive the item appears to the buyer. If you don’t mind eating a pear that’s gone, well – pear shaped, you could snap it up for 30% less than the actual price. Items are always priced to make a decent profit for the retailer, so don’t feel bad because you’re not getting it for less than it’s worth.

Most vegetables are sold as pre-packaged and loose versions. The pre-packaged ones are all neatly arranged, virtually the same sizes and are beautiful to behold. The loose ones are bent, ugly and of all different shapes and sizes. There is no difference in the nutritional value of these two groups of vegetables/fruit. The difference lies with the pricing. Don’t get taken in.

Bottled water

Purchase a jug with a filter rather than bottled water. Drink pure, fresh-tasting water for a fraction of the cost you now pay. A glass jug with a filter (which you change monthly) provides you with water just as pure as the bottled variety. The difference is in your wallet.

For more on money saving ideas, see my book, 'How To Spend Less.' Details on this blog.

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Anne's a published author, freelance writer and experienced editor. She's just signed her second publishing contract this year with 2 separate publishing houses. You can hire her or see her available books in the side panel on the right.
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