Over the last few years we have all heard how we need to tighten our belts and save money where we can, but it is also a reality that between municipal costs increasing, a drought having a negative effect on the price of groceries, insurance and school fee increases etc., saving is not all that easy.
However there is a story told of how, in the 1990s, an American airline saved thousands by removing one olive from each of their inflight salads and more recently other airlines have seen the wisdom of creative saving with Samoan Air charging passengers by weight, United Airlines introducing a ‘paperless cockpit’ and lighter food trolleys and British Airways reducing engine taxing by having one engine shut down where suitable and descaling the toilet pipes, resulting in £635,000 in fuel savings1.
In the same way as these big corporates, you can make small changes in your lifestyle that will in time add up to great savings. Here are some tips on where to start.
Fill a 2 litre soda bottle with water and a little bleach and place it in the cistern of your toilet – this can save over 11 300 litres of water a year if you, as an average family of four, flush four times a day2. When washing your hands or brushing your teeth, turn the tap off until you are ready to rinse and when washing clothes in your automatic washing machine, use the lowest temperature and spin options possible, lowering your electricity usage.
If you’re likely to be spending some time at home, boil a full kettle and put the water in a flask so that you have water on tap for your tea or coffee without having to boil water each time. And while you’re at it, you can save a little more when you use one teabag for two cups of tea.
During the summer months, don’t turn on the lights until it’s absolutely necessary – even better, take time to eat your supper outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. In winter, close curtains early on to keep heat inside and invest in a gas heater – purchased in summer of course when demand is low – and keep inter-leading doors closed to retain heat in one room.
Another way you can save money is to cut down on your cellphone calls – rather make use of SMSes or WhatsApp to contact family and friends, especially if you have WiFi at home or work. And if you do have WiFi, consider cancelling your paid-for TV contract and signing up with a streaming facility such as Netflix or Showmax for your daily dose of the small screen.
On the road
Drive your car according to its specifications and do all the necessary checks and services to keep it running at optimal performance – but also take note of common sense rules such as windows closed during long journeys, tires at the correct tread depth, driving slower to use less fuel, not holding the car on the clutch and making use of the hand brake for hill pull-offs.
And still on cars, if you tend to do a lot of travelling from place to place, plan your route so that you go out to your furthest point first and then work your way back eliminating back and forth trips.
Look for your summer outfits at the end of the season, just before the winter clothes hit the shelves and for your winter wardrobe, do the opposite – this will help you take advantage of the end of season savings – but remember to purchase only if needed and never on credit.
These small savings, carried out every day will in the long run start adding up and you can take those savings and plough them into an investment or into paying off debt such as your car or house. However you plan to use the savings, just start today and you won’t look back!