Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It's not always easy...

...but it's definitely worth a shot. 
I was crunching numbers the other day and discovered it's going to be very tight money-wise these few next months until I hear back from my grant application. Every year it's the same. October to December I always seem to have to tighten my belt. Not impossible, but definitely not as easy as what I'm used to. That's why I began to think about as many money-saving tips as I possibly could, so I thought I'd share what I came up with, with you. 

1. Plan meals and make shopping lists. This way you know exactly what you have to buy and don't just guess while you're at the supermarket. You'll avoid spending extra pennies on food that will go bad and end up in the bin. 

2. Car-free year. I'm unlucky (or lucky) to not have my own car at the moment. True, catching the bus everytime I want to see my parents is tiring and also means spending that extra dough, but it also means I can avoid even bigger expenses sucha as car insurance and maintance, at least 'til next year. So I've declared this year car-free year!! 

3. Be gone with the Stand By. That little red dot you see staring at you every night from the TV or the microwave or any other electronic device, does not run on air. That means if it's on, it's using electricity, which means you're paying for it! Stop!! It only takes 2 seconds to pull the plug from the wall and plug it back in in the morning (Careful, though, don't go unplugging the fridge!!). 

4. Cheaper brands. Most supermarkets already have their own brand and usually it's not that bad once you've tried it. And it's so much cheaper than the foods advertised on TV. For example, normal Cola = 1,29€ (at are usual supermarket), at LIDL = 0,49€. Ohhhh, yes!!!  

5. Keep foods simple. Everyone enjoys a steak (well I know most people do). But everyone also knows they aren't cheap. At the moment it's just me, sometimes two of us, so making elaborate dinners every night is just a waste of time and money. There are so many delicious cheap meals to make, there's no need to eat posh at home. 

6. Cut back on heating and fans. We know winters here are cold but this year I'm lucky to live in a building with central heating. That means no more heaters. It might mean breaking out the blankets until they turn it on, but it's something I can live with. As for fans during the summer, I'll try to keep windows and doors closed during the day and open them at night to let the cool air in. 

7. Keep an eye on the laundry. We have to keep it real. Now that I'm sharing a flat with 3 other girls, we each do our own laundry. And honestly, I don't get through that many clothes a week. I'm going to cut it down to 2 loads a week: one light colours and one dark and wash towels and sheets every two weeks (thank gosh we have extras!). 

8. Love your home. Meaning "no going out for dinner every week". Cut back on eating out and take aways (though I don't go out that much anyway, but just in case). You can still mark one special day a month, such as your anniversary day, and splurge a little then. 

9. Vegetable patch. It's not a lot, but growing a few vegetable plants at home, even if it's just herbs,will save a few pennies and now a days, every little helps. What you don't buy at the supermarket, you don't pay for!!

10. Puppy sacks. For those of you with dogs, dog food comes is a variety of sizes. And usually the biggest is the cheapest. The 20kg sack they sell at our usual supermarket has a resealable package, so the food will stay fresh once it's been opened. If you do the math: 4kg = 3€ and 20kg = 10€. It a 5€ save! 

At the moment these are all I can remember. I hope you found them useful!! Do you have any money-saving tips?

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