Reducing household and other expenses during the hot summer months can save a lot of money.
A regular review of the following hints may prove to be valuable!
Electricity bills often soar during summer – especially in houses with air-conditioning. If you have air-con, then use it sensibly. Keeping your house cool by keeping blinds and curtains closed, especially early on hot days when homes can rapidly heat up.
If your house has upper floors, you may be able to cool most of the house by cooling the upper floors and letting the cool air fall through the rest of the house. (And warm your house during winter by heating the bottom story with hot air rising.)
Also, check the seals on your refrigerator. A fridge working extra hard to keep cool can chew up a lot of additional power – and dollars.
Air-conditioning in cars adds to fuel consumption. Studies show that air-conditioners use about 10 per cent extra fuel. However, at speeds of over 80 km/h, use of air conditioning is better for fuel consumption than an open window. So use a window shade to keep your car cooler while parked, and don’t use the air-con unnecessarily.
Cars break down more on hot days than at any other time. Overheating can lead to damage and costly repairs, so keep an eye on the water and temperature levels when you’re driving during summer. Make sure your radiator or coolant is topped up. Preventative maintenance is a cost-effective approach!
Water bills have increased significantly in recent years, so keep an eye on your water usage. Most areas now have restrictions on what and when you can and in summer. It’s better to water plants in the cooler hours, and washing your car on the lawn benefits the garden as well. Visit www.savewater.com.au for localised information on water saving ideas.
Cut Cold Drink Costs
Save money by careful expenditure on cold drinks. Buying a cold can of soft drink at a shop can often cost $2. For the same price, you can buy a two-litre bottle at the supermarket – or a bottle of cordial that will make dozens of cold drinks. Plan ahead and buy favourite drinks when they’re on special. They’ve started to sell iced tea at the same price. You can make better iced tea at home for a fraction of the price.
And be sure to take your own soft drinks, water and food if you’re going to the beach, to the cricket or to other summer events. It’s tough when you’re on a budget if you have no option but to fork out $4 for a bottle of water for a drink at a sporting event. Inflation hits consumer goods rapidly at these venues!
Sunscreen is another commodity that can be unnecessarily costly. The Cancer Council tells us that price does not determine the quality of sunscreen, as all sunscreens in Australia must comply with the Australian/New Zealand Standard. It simply recommends you choose broad spectrum sun protection factor (SPF) 30+ water resistant sunscreen. So buy a bulk dispenser with these specifications that will last you all summer, instead of smaller brand-name tubes. You can decant the large contents into smaller containers.
Save on Summer Clothing
Clothing is one of those necessary living costs – but it need not be expensive. If you need to expand your summer wardrobe, wait until after Christmas (if you’re living in the Southern Hemisphere!). You may be lucky enough to score the new shirt or shorts from Santa. And if not, you’ll pay less at the post-Christmas sales than before Christmas.
Learn How to Save Money and Reduce Debt
Particularly when first starting out, learning how to save money can provide the foundation for a prosperous future. Unfortunately with the temptation of easy credit and interest free terms confronting people at every corner, the idea of having money left at the end of the week is often an impossible dream.
People who consistently find their bank account empty with debts piling up can implement a few important steps to get their spending habits back on track.
Rise to the Challenge – Make the Decision to Save Money!
The decision to take responsibility for personal expenditure involves a change of mindset. People commonly think “I’ve done it so tough recently, I deserve a holiday!” And before they know it, there’s another $3000 on their credit card.
It must be accepted and embraced that when there is not enough money for everyday bills, an expensive holiday is out of the question no matter how warranted it seems. This principle applies to any item that life does not depend on such as designer clothing, expensive cars or the latest technical gizmo.
Make a Budget – the Best Way to Start Saving Money
It’s not sexy, but it is important to realise that using a budget is the first step on the road to financial freedom. The use of a budget it will quickly determine where money is leaking from, and it is through stopping up these leaks that new money is freed to pay debts. This becomes a feedback loop whereby using the new money to start paying outstanding debts frees up more money to work with, which allows more to be paid off the next time round. Once those debts are paid, there will be spare money to start saving with.
Sell Something to Reduce Debt
This is not something people enjoy doing, but it is an important part of money management and taking financial responsibility. Extravagant and unnecessary items that have been purchased with credit cards or loans should be sold, and the money used to pay off outstanding debts.
It is a common saying that if people are intent on appearing as though they are rich, they never will be. If an individual is struggling to make the payments on any debt, absorbing this philosophy will be vital to their success.
Earn More Money
Negotiating a pay rise or finding extra work is an effective method of raising extra money for debt repayment. Occupations that are usually in demand after-hours include waitressing, babysitting, (this may be taken a step further by starting a family day care – there are government grants available to assist with set up costs) mowing lawns, getting night-fill work…the options are unlimited.
However, earning more money will not improve finances unless you can master your spending first. Make a commitment to put any extra income straight toward debt repayment or saving.
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