Lowering Your Cost of Living – Part 1

Many people all over the world are really feeling the pinch due to the economic crisis.  Chances are that your annual pay rise has been smaller than what you’ve been used to in the past – some of us have had a pay freeze and the really unfortunate ones have been unlucky enough to have to accept a pay cut in order to protect their jobs!  We all seem to have less spending power, but the cost of living keeps on going up.  This is true in all areas of spending, from groceries and accommodation right the way through to energy costs and luxuries.  With this rise in the cost of living, accepting a pay freeze is actually like taking a pay cut.

Most people are on the look out for methods of saving on the cost of living, not in order to pay for luxuries, but very often just to be able to make ends meet.  There are things that can be done to save on the cost of living, and some of these don’t need to involve hardship – just a little bit of common sense.

It’s quite possible to save a substantial amount on heating costs over the space of a year by using your thermostat wisely.  By turning down the heating as little as one degree in the winter, you’ll hardly notice the difference in the level of warmth, but it could represent quite a bit of money saved.  If you opt to turn it down a little more and are feeling quite chilly, instead of ramping it back up, put on a woolly jumper (or a dressing gown) – you’ll be surprised at how much warmer you feel.  If you’re sat watching TV, cover yourself with a warm throw or consider using a hot water bottle. 

A really old-fashioned way of saving on energy costs is to turn everything off at the plug when you go to bed at night or when you’re planning to be out of the house for several hours.  We have many appliances that we leave on standby and the more of them we have, the more we pay to keep them idling.  Years ago, every household would turn off everything at the plug as part of the bedtime routine – we’ve become lax and lazy with our gadgets and they’re costing us a lot of money to run.

You can save on water charges by making sure that you don’t have any dripping taps.  A constantly dripping tap can add quite a hefty sum to your annual water bill – more than enough to pay a plumber to fix it.  If you’re something of a DIY enthusiast, you’ll probably be able to fix it yourself for the cost of a new washer.  Another way of saving water if you have an old-fashioned toilet with a large cistern, is to displace some of the water in the cistern with a brick.  The saves a volume of water equivalent to the volume of the brick every time you flush – a great way of saving water and money.

These are just a few things that you can do to lower your cost of living without having to really tighten your belt and go without.  There are other methods that can be used which will be discussed in the next article.

Article by Debbie who frequently writes about personal finance, foreign markets and foreign exchange.

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