Times are tough for everyone at the moment, and with the UK entering a double dip recession and the Bank of England warning about possible mortgage rate rising, it doesn’t look like things are set to improve any time soon.
It’s sensible for all of us to look at our lifestyles and see what steps we can take to minimize the effects of the recession. Often, small changes can yield big results. Consider the following suggestions to ‘recession proof your lifestyle’ and make sure that you’re in the best financial position possible.
Cutting consumption and streamlining your lifestyle is a great way to save cash. It’s usually possible to cut consumption in many areas, including;
Becoming more energy efficient can be as good for your pocket as it is for the environment, and there are many easy ways to do it. British Gas offers customers a Smart Meter so that they can track their energy consumption and see where to make changes. The EnergySmart service combines a Smart Meter with easy to use online tools, making it easy for you to identify areas of concern.
Simple ways to cut energy consumption include swapping light bulbs for energy saving versions, installing cavity wall and loft insulation, fitting draft excluders, turning off appliances rather than leaving on standby, and choosing to replace appliances with energy efficient versions.
The cost of fuel continues to rise, meaning that running a car has never been more expensive. Cut your fuel consumption by choosing to walk, cycle or take public transport where possible. You should also take the most fuel efficient journey (most sat navs can calculate this), keep your car well maintained and empty your boot of any unnecessary weight.
When you have to fill up the tank, check Petrol Prices for the cheapest petrol station near you.
Cut down on food (and money) waste by carefully planning your meals. You could also cook in bulk and freeze extra portions to save on food and energy.
Another way to save on your grocery bill is to switch to non-branded items. Better still, start shopping in a budget supermarket such as Aldi or Lidl. Not only are they well-priced, but they tend to have less choice than the big name supermarkets meaning that you’re likely to buy less automatically.
Shop Around and Switch
Look at every bill that you pay and see if you can find a better deal. Online comparison sites are a great tool. Alternatively, you can check with your energy provider to see if you’re on the best tariff for you. British Gas has a handy online tariff checker tool that’s easy to use.
Fix and Insure
Homeowners with a SVR (standard variable rate) mortgage may want to heed the Bank of England’s rate rise warnings and switch to a fixed rate product. It’s also a good idea to insure certain essential appliances such as boilers, to give yourself peace of mind that you won’t face a large bill should the worst happen.
Cut Your Commitments
It’s always worth looking through your bank statement to see exactly what you are paying out for, and see if there’s anything that you can cut. You might actually be surprised at what you discover. Magazine subscriptions, TV channels that you never watch – there may be many direct debits that you have going out every month that you could cancel painlessly.
Up Your Income
When you’ve finished with your money saving mission, why not look at ways to up your income instead? Ebay can be a great place to get rid of unwanted items, or do it the old fashioned way at a car boot sale.
If you have a spare room, why not consider taking on a lodger? The rent a room scheme means that you can earn up to £4,250 a year tax free when you rent out a furnished room in your home.
While jobs are thin on the ground at the moment, you could set up a side-line from home to bring in extra cash. There’s a myriad of small businesses that can be run from home, from virtual administration to making jewellery. If you have a skill or a talent, make it work for you.
Whatever your current situation, recession-proofing your lifestyle can help you to save and earn cash, leaving you better equipped to deal with the current financial uncertainty.
Take simple steps to recession proof your lifestyle now and enjoy the peace of mind that you’re in the best financial position possible.