In these troubled times, we need to take a step back and rethink our short term plans. Our money needs to stay in our pockets, just in case…
This is my personal, unqualified list on how to be prepared. I will be sharing ideas in much more detail over the next month or two.
1 Stop spending. Take stock of what you have in the cupboards all be it food, clothes or decorating materials. Refrain from buying more until really necessary. Check utility bills to make sure you are on the best tariff. Is there anything you are paying monthly for that you don’t use, club membership, magazine or gym subscriptions?
2 Cooking & Cleaning Use the washing machine on a lower cost programme, maybe at a lower temperature and hang clothes to dry outside on the line. Thank goodness summer is on it’s way! If you have a slow cooker in the back of the cupboard, it is cheap to run. Batch cook, freeze ahead, eat less meat, use left overs and whatever is hiding in the fridge. Plan meals and write a shopping list. Try the Love Food Hate Waste app for inspiration or Olio for FREE food.
4 The Car. If you can walk, then do. Lift Share. Check your tyre pressure. Don’t over fill with fuel. Keep your speed down and windows closed. For a long journey remove excess weight, including the roof rack if you are not using it. Phone around for MOT prices or for when work needs doing. Halfords offer two FREE (no obligation) car checks, very handy if an MOT is due – I have done this myself. Apparently it also saves money to reverse park, enabling you to drive away forward. Last but not least, never automatically renew the insurance, haggle or change provider, same goes for breakdown cover.
5 Keeping Fit If avoiding group exercise, FREE fitness trails and outdoor gyms are all around us. When was the last time you had a quick kick around in the park with the children? Try running, cycling or walking apps. Online tuition is available if you are missing exercise classes. Try a DVD or find out if your usual class instructor is running online classes whilst studios are closed. When the weather picks up take a trip to the coast for some swimming.
6 Books, Films and Music Find the favourite books, dvd’s and cd’s stored in the loft. Load new books via your Kindle for FREE. On-line Book Clubs are available. Maybe try a television subscription, just remember to cancel before the FREE trial ends. Music is every where, you can even get free instrument tuition on-line.
7 Hobbies Group activities may be out of the question, how about gardening, genealogy, photography, painting, fishing, trainspotting, baking, crafting, geocaching, the list is endless and we all have abandoned projects. How about writing the one book we all have in us?
8 Children Remind yourself of the games you played as a child, Hangman, Simon Says and Hop Scotch. Where are the board games and jigsaws? A roll of lining paper for art work, colouring books, making Playdough and baking biscuits kept ours quiet for hours. Rock painting is popular now. Spring is here – if you don’t have plants to split or seeds to sow, grow greenery from carrot tops, or fruit stones. Make a bug house or bury a time capsule.
9 Apps Keep in touch: organise video group chats, Whatsapp groups, Skype and Email. Failing all, phone and talk in person. New to me, are the apps I can make and save money with using my phone. Receipt, task, loyalty and activity apps I can gradually add pennies to my Paypal account. I know I will not, by this time next year, be a millionaire!
10 Random Acts of Kindness Litter Pick. Write a letter to an older relative in a care home or someone who has given you good service. Walk a neighbours dog, cut their grass or hedge (ask first). Have a clear out and donate items to charity. Pay a compliment to a stranger. Organise donating blood. Feed the birds/ducks with peas or uncooked oats. Offer to help someone or an organisation. Put your phone down and talk to the person you are with. Tell someone you love them.