- Personal Finance
How to do Quantitative Easing without printing Money
In today's straitened economic climate every cent or penny counts . The governments may be able to print money but there is no way legally that the man (or woman) in the street may do that without serious consequences! However all is not doom and gloom and there are many ways to save a little here and there in all areas of life which bear out the old proverb "look after the pence and the pounds will look after themselves". I know it takes some self control, a little scheming and perhaps learning new skills but you will be the beneficiary in the end.
The first two points to learn are the most crucial:
1. Lock your credit card away and create a budget.
2. Learn and appreciate the difference between NEED and WANT.
For those who go out to work it is important that you do not skip breakfast. Resist the temptation of the extra few minutes lie- in and make time to eat, preferably a low GI food such as porage or wholemeal toast and an egg, or both if you want. This will keep you satisfied until lunch time and so you will be able to resist the mid morning muffin! I know the powerful pull of the smell of freshly ground coffee emanating from Starbucks etc but you really do not need that 'latte to go' because, remember, you have had breakfast. Lunch boxes are a great way to save money and alot healthier. They can be prepared the evening before and kept in the fridge until morning and they save you the hassle of queueing for that burger, panini or whatever takes your fancy and you have what you want not just what is on offer. If you travel by car then explore the possibility of car sharing or car pool and if you use public transport then weekly or monthly tickets work out cheaper than buying daily tickets.
When food shopping it always pays to shop around. Own brand goods are always cheaper than branded ones and the difference is minimal. Look out for BOGOF(buy 1 get 1 free) offers and 2 for 1 offers and team up with friends or neighbours to share with. If you have a large family group then explore the possibility of bulk buying. Be sure and scan the newspapers and periodicals for money off vouchers but only for those items you use or need. Another tip is to watch the sell by date as those items nearing the date are often reduced in price and can often be frozen. Similarly, bread and cakes that are made fresh daily may be drastically reduced near the shop's closing time. A very good investment is a stewpot, even cheap cuts of meat taste delicious when cooked slowly and vegetables added at the appropriate time and it saves using a separate pan and cooking appliance. To stretch the meal even further make small Yorkshire puddings in patty tins using the fat drained off the meat when it is browned (to seal in the flavour) before putting it in the stewpot. As a child we always finished the dinner by mopping up any gravy or juices left with a piece off bread. Takeaways, on a regular basis, are definitely off the menu as they are expensive and often laden with calories.
When it comes to cleaning forget about different cleaners for bathroom, kitchen, work surfaces etc. The only things you need are white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice and your sinks, basins or baths and taps will be sparkling clean and shining with little effort. To clean the toilet and to get rid of any limescale buy a cheap tin of cola and pour it into the toilet and leave overnight and in the morning the loo will be fresh and clean (it does make me wonder what too much cola does to your insides!). When washing floors I dissolve a tablespoon of Bicarb in a half bucket of hot water and add 6 drops of tea tree or pine essential oil , it cleans beautifully, smells nice and it also disinfects. For furniture polish get a small pump dispenser bottle and put into this a small amount of sweet almond oil (the sort used for the base of massage oils) and add a few drops off essential oil of lemon or orange. Spray lightly onto wooden furniture and polish off with a soft rag and you will be protecting the wood and leaving behind a fresh fragrance. There is no need to buy expensive room sprays or scented candles as you can achieve the same result with a simple oilburner and tea lights. Instead of oil in the burner use water into which a few drops of your favourite essential oil have been added and of course you can vary the fragrance according to your mood. Windows and glass will sparkle when cleaned with white vinegar and crockery stained with tea or coffee will be like new when Bicarb is used as a gentle abrasive. The same treatment can be given to saucepans etc. The beauty of natural cleaners is that they are not harmful to the environment and are easy on the purse.
Clothes and shoes, when properly cared for, can last a long time. I know fashion is great but it is far better to buy a few classic pieces and vary your accessories. Leather shoes and bags should be cleaned and polished regularly and repaired before they become literally down at heel. At this point it would useful to know basic sewing because so many shirts, blouses, dresses etc can be given a new lease of life by the simple addition of a change of buttons, say something more colourful on a plain white blouse, or embroidery motifs sewn on to a sweater.Long sleeved shirts can be made into short sleeved ones when the cuffs are frayed and when white garments have lost their pristine newness, how about dyeing them?Tee shirts that have seen better days make ideal vests for colder days! Organise a swap evening where everyone brings their impulse buys that seemed like a good idea at the time but when viewed at home were completely wrong, either in size, shape or colour. You may also suggest that each person brings some small food offering to share and make it a social or a skill swap evening (e.g I teach you how to knit/embroider and you teach me how to make cards).
Think about your lifestyle. If you go to the cinema on a regular basis then maybe think about renting a film on DVD instead and have a cosy night in either alone or with friends and how many of us have joined a gym as a New Year resolution only to fall by the wayside after a couple of months? You can still get fit in your own home, the bottom stair is a great place to do step ups and a couple of cans of baked beans make ideal weights and if you put the radio on you can boogie while baking! Magazines, periodicals and newspapers can account for more money than you realise and most of them can be accessed online and local libraries, which are free to join, always carry a good selection and are usually warm, comfortable places to while away an hour!
Being thrifty is a good habit to acquire but it will take patience and good humour but in the end you will have a liitle more wealth and a little less worry.