7 Tips on How to Save Money in Hard Economic Times
1. Save money by not idling your vehicle. For every 10 seconds of idling, it uses more fuel than restarting your engine. Every 10 minutes of idling costs about 1/5 of a litre in fuel. So if every driver in Canada reduced idling by 5 minutes a day, it would save 1.8 million litres of fuel.
I know the cost of gas is higher in Canada so I have based my figures on fuel costs for Canadians. They also use more fuel during the winter months by letting the vehicle idle more while it warms up before you drive. For those who are not familiar with metric, a gallon is equal to 4.546 litres.
Car emissions also create smog, acid rain, climate change and air pollution. It has been stated that in Canada, 50% of the greenhouse gas emissions are from vehicles.
In some communities and cities, they have “Idle Free Zones” to encourage the reduction of unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. This should especially be done around schools and parks where more people congregate outside to enjoy the fresh air.
We can also improve our health and the lives of others by reducing the car emissions. Children and senior citizens are especially vulnerable to asthma and cardio-respiratory illnesses.
When you idle your car it delivers zero klms per litre. Too much idling is also not good for your engine because it isn’t working at high efficiency. The fuel doesn’t get completely combusted so it leaves the vehicle with dirty spark plugs and contaminated engine oil.
2. Save money at home by getting a leaky faucet fixed. One faucet can waste up to 11,000 litres a year. That would be equivalent to 55 full bathtubs! What is more annoying than the constant drip, drip, drip of a water tap. So fix it and save money.
Also an energy saving shower head can reduce your water consumption by as much as 1/3. Maybe even set a timer so that showers only last 10 minutes instead of 20 and you will save twice as much money.
Check your insulation in your home and give it an update. Even a small room that is not insulated can lose a significant amount of heat increasing your heating bill and sending your energy savings through the roof. Even drafty electrical outlets can cause cold air to seep in. These outlet insulators are very cheap and it just takes a few minutes to install.
Did you know that even your television and DVD player consume energy when they are in standby mode? Many electronics such as DVD players, home theatres, stereo, flat screen, media, CD players, etc all use power even in the standby mode so you may want to buy a single power bar that you could switch off in between times when you are not using them.
3. Here’s a bright Idea. You could replace five bulbs with qualified compact fluorescent lights and thus reduce your electricity bill by at least $30. per year. The good thing is that fluorescent lights can last up to eight times longer than incandescent bulbs. Just think you will save yourself time and energy not having to replace the bulbs so often especially those that are high up in the ceiling that you have to use a stepladder to reach it.
4. Time for new kitchen appliances? The EnerGuide label shows you how much electricity the appliance consumes compared to other similar size units. Of course, the lower the number, the more efficient the appliance. Just remember, the cheapest price is not always the best deal. In the long run, you will be paying for higher energy consumption for many years which will cost you more money. Instead, buy your kitchen appliances wholesale or on sale but get one that is energy efficient.
The fridge is one of the highest energy users in the home. Make sure you adjust your temperature settings so that the fridge is not too cold and your produce freezes. There should also be a setting for the freezer and you should adjust that too so that your ice cream and other freezer items are not too cold. A good reminder too is that you should clean the back coils of your fridge by vacuuming and washing down the back of the fridge area at least once a year. A fridge can use from 85 – 100 kWh. A microwave will only use 10 – 30 KWh. A clock will use about 4 kWh and a coffee maker will use between 4 – 8 kWh.
A crook pot is an excellent energy saver and you can put your whole meal into a pot, and it will be done in about 4 to 6 hours. These kitchen appliances are an ideal way to save you time and money. When you get home, your meal is ready.
5. A scooter is an economical way to get around in your town or city. It saves you money on gas and is great for the environment. Many of them have a basket or place to carry something should you wish to stop at a store to pick something up. They vary in prices, styles and comfort. They are easy to drive and convenient to store. There are electric scooters and gas scooters. There are also scooters for children that are fun and safe to use. It is advisable to purchase a helmet for safety and their protection.
6. GPS – Saves you time and money. Have you ever been lost? We like to do a lot of traveling throughout Canada and the United States. Sometimes we have maps that are old and sometimes the map doesn’t show all the streets or all the details. Recently we had to drive to Edmonton, Alberta for a funeral. We had never driven in Edmonton before but we had a GPS and what a difference. We just put in the address and it instructed us on ever turn and we never got mixed up once. What a stress reliever and it sure saved us time as we had a schedule to meet. Compared to the anxiety before of not knowing where you are going, if you are lost, or are you heading in the right direction. Needless, to say it was a much more pleasant trip.
7. Save money by not putting everything on credit. The credit cards are just so handy to use but the interest you pay on them is astronomical. If you need to buy furniture or more expensive electronics, just put some money aside for a few months and then when you have enough saved, purchase the items you need.
Try to pay down your debt first and have a goal to live debt free. You might have to check with different banks to get a cheaper mortgage rate. If you are paying your mortgage once a month, try paying half of that amount every 2 weeks, and you will notice that you are saving yourself more money. It doesn’t hurt to shop around for cheaper rates of insurance, credit cards with lower interest rates, buying vehicles that are more economical on gas.
Set yourself some goals to pay off your loans and look for areas where you can save yourself even fifty dollars a week. If you saved $50.00 a week, over a year that would help you to have an extra $2,600 to put towards your debts and dropping the amount of interest you are paying.
Many people set up a budget and then it is easier to see where all your money is being spent and how you can adjust your spending habits. Also when you buy electronics or gifts, don’t forget to buy wholesale instead of retail and save yourself even more money.