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Top Tips to Save Money

Jan 31, 2011

The cost of petrol and diesel is rising, food prices are on the up and gas and electricity bills are pointing in the same direction.

The climbing cost of living is putting a real strain on household budgets, but what can you do to combat the increases?

We've compiled these lists of top tips to help you keep your household and motoring expenses in check during these days of peek prices:

Beat Inflation

  • Energy
    Consider switching to another utility company to reduce your bills. Try a price comparison website such as www.uswitch.com to see if you would save money with another supplier. If you pay by direct debit and manage your account online, you could save more.
  • Food
    The average household throws away a third of the food bought, much of which is edible. Store leftovers in the fridge and use your initiative when it comes to items just past their use-by date. Avoid expensive ready meals - homemade can be cheaper and healthier. Buy shops' own-brands and try shopping online to avoid impulse buys.
  • Telephone
    Shop around for a cheaper phone provider and try to make calls at the weekend when it's less expensive. Get on the right tariff for mobile calls and save money by sending text messages instead of calling. Remember that emails and online video phoning are free!
  • Council Tax
    Are you in the right band? Visit www.voa.gov.uk to check and make sure you claim for any discounts you may be entitled to.
  • Childcare
    Make the most of Childcare Tax vouchers - a little known way to pay for childcare out of pre-tax income.

Cut Car Costs

  • Don't buy big - reducing the size of your car could mean cheaper road tax and less fuel
  • Compare insurance deals - shop around instead of relying on your renewal quote
  • Check out petrol prices (enter your postcode at www.petrolprices.com and you can find the cheapest fuel in your area)
  • Staying safe is cheaper - avoid sudden acceleration and braking and you'll reduce your fuel consumption
  • Share the driving - do you have a friend or colleague who drives the same route to work?
  • Compare prices for repairs and maintenance - they can vary greatly from garage to garage
  • Find a space - do you need to use a pay car park or are there free roadside spaces nearby?
  • Tyre test - driving with under-inflated tyres uses more fuel, so keep an eye on those tyres
  • Last but not least - do you need to drive? Try walking those shorter distances and you could be fitter, greener and better off.

Domestic Bliss

  • If you regularly run cold water into a running bath or sink, turn the thermostat on your hot water tank down to 60° C
  • Clean windows cheaply - mix vinegar and water together and apply to windows with a piece of scrunched up newspaper
  • Use soda or sparkling water on carpet stains
  • If you have children, consider joining a toy library
  • Drink water from the tap and store it in the fridge rather than buying bottled water
  • Dust down the coils at the back of your fridge (they can waste energy) and defrost the freezer regularly
  • Make use of online auctions to sell unwanted belongings
  • If you work regular hours, time your heating to go off 30 minutes before you leave the house in winter
  • Insulate your loft and walls to save on heating bills (a grant may be available, check www.energysavingtrust.org.uk)
  • Reduce paper use - do you need to print? You can reuse envelopes and wrapping paper, too.

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