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.

Cut Consumption

Cutting consumption and streamlining your lifestyle is a great way to save cash. It’s usually possible to cut consumption in many areas, including;

Energy

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.

Fuel

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.

Food

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.

10 Comments

  1. Lance@MoneyLife&More Reply

    An emergency fund would also be useful to tide you over until the recession action passed.

    • @Lance – Emergency funds are great to have, but I know mine wouldn’t cover me during a recession, especially if that recession lasted more than a few months. Getting creative on cutting back expenses and increasing income are sometimes better ways to manage a recession.

  2. Roger the Amateur Financier Reply

    Definitely a pretty good list of suggestions. As Lance mentioned, an emergency fund would also be very helpful.

  3. That’s very easy to cut some cost on food by an appropriate meal plan. It just takes a little bit thinking.

  4. Very good tips! Not only they are doable, they are really sure to make a lot of difference in our expenses.

  5. In this period of recession, obviously these could be some pocket saving. Also they are not that hard to maintain. Thanks for the valuable tips.

  6. I hope that it’s a shallow recession.

    Cutting back and substituting are great ways to prepare. I also like to reconfigure my credit situation. PayExpanding your access to credit is also a good step. In recessions, banks stop lending so it might be a good idea to get lines of credit like an additional credit card (not use) to hedge against credit drying up.

  7. TB at BlueCollarWorkman Reply

    The ebay thing is a great way to take in extra income. I go “trash picking” a lot and end up getting things that need just a little fixing up and they sell great on ebay or Craigslist. You can get those things from Goodwill too or 2nd hand shops…sometimes they don’t know what they’ve got!

  8. Hi there,
    These are excellent choices to cut your expenses. I am sorry to say that the UK is exactly where the USA seems to be as far as people searching for ways to cut back or earn additional income. I intend to check with our utility company and see if they have anything like you suggested. Thanks for the tips.

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