This week I was invited on BBC Radio Scotland’s MacAuley & Co show this week to talk about how to save money at home by making household things go that wee bit further. I thought you guys might enjoy some of these too so let’s take a walk round the house together;
FRONT DOOR AND LIVING ROOM
You can save money right away by having a good doormat at the front door. A doormat can help double the life expectancy of your carpet. Walking into the house from the great outdoors means we bring in all the grime and dirt of the outside world on our shoes. We then step on the carpet and it takes up to 9 steps to dispel all the dust and grit onto the carpet and it is this debris that gets into the fibres of the carpet and wears it down. Having a good doormat (and asking folks to use it!) means that this can be cut down drastically, so that when someone steps off the mat and on to the carpet they have left a lot more of the outside debris trapped on the mat and not walked all over your expensive carpet.
Dust from the kitchen is sticky with grease from cooking and this filter through the house settling on the furnishings and carpets. Use an extractor fan to whizz the air out before that sticky dust can do its worst.
Furniture should be moved regularly so that both the furnishings themselves and the flooring are not always receiving the same light damage and wear and tear. If you keep the sofa in the same place for years at a time you are constantly walking a path around it and always wearing out the same areas of the carpet. The sofa is also covering the same spot on the carpet and receiving the same light damage every day. Move the furniture every six months just to shift things about a bit and distribute that wear and tear.
Curtain life can be extended by lining with black out blinds to stop the sun fading the fabric. Another idea is to simply move the curtains from one side to the other when you take them down for washing, ie; re-hang them so that the edge that was in the centre of the window is now the one on the outside edge. This means that you won’t get that bleached out line with the curtains always having the same part exposed to direct sunlight every day.
Whether you have the luxury of a real room as your office or you have a computer in the corner of the livingroom, chances are you have a printer lurking somewhere and that little beastie has a drink problem – printer ink! This stuff is now as expensive as champagne and not nearly as tasty. Make your ink cartridge go further with these tips;
Only print what you really need and use Fast Draft printing format.
Change the font on your documents to the super economical Ecofont that you can download from the internet. This font has tiny white dots in it (so small we can’t see them) but it means that the printer doesn’t print these dots and uses half the ink.
Don’t always believe your computer when it tells you that you are running out of ink. Many cartridges are ‘programmed’ to tell you that you are running out even if there is up to 24% ink in the cartridge. You can actually reset the little circuit board on the base of the ink cartridge by pressing a paper clip into the little hole directly above this little circuit board. This effectively resets the board and it won’t tell you that you are running out early.
A good mattress is a big investment. Make yours last longer by rotating it and turning it every quarter. Don’t just flip it over (always easier said than done!) once a year, instead flip, then turn, then flip then turn the other way. This way all areas of the mattress get equal wear making it last longer.
Make-up doesn’t come cheaply and you can make mascara go further by resisting the temptation to pump the wand back and forth in the tube when you are applying your mascara. You can also run the tube under the hot tap when it is running low to soften the mascara and make it go further. Remember to have the lid screwed on tight or you’ll end up like a panda when you use the stuff!
Razors can have a longer life if used on wet skin as this softens the stubble and are always wiped dry after use as the dampness on the blades corrodes them faster.
Aah the heart of the home and the place we can waste most money of all.
Shop with a list; the less you bring in the less you waste. Shopping with a list (and sticking to it!) stops you being lured into special offers etc and buying more than you really need.
Store food wisely; onions and garlic need air around them so hang them in an old pair of tights in a cool dark place. Potatoes like the dark too and fresh air.
Just because fruit and veg gets a bit shrivelled doesn’t mean it has to be condemned to the bin it can still taste just as good, revive carrots and lettuce by soaking in a box of cold water in the fridge for half an hour before use.
When storing veg in the fridge put a layer of kitchen paper on the base of the chill drawer to draw out excess moisture.
Store cream and yogurt cartons upside down to create a vacuum at the top which makes it more difficult for bacteria to take hold.
Freezer; put empty boxes in the freezer when you are running low on food so that the machine isn’t freezing empty space.
The Joy Of Jars! Make jam go further in the best way possible. Never throw out the last bits of jam in the jar, instead pour in a shot of your favourite tipple (rum, vodka, gin etc) into the jar, add some ice and a slice of any lurking fruit and maybe even a mint leaf if one is to hand, pop on the lid and shake like blazes – Voila! You now have a Jam Jar Cocktail – cheers!
The same applies to jars of mustard. Pour in some olive oil, vinegar, honey and lemon juice and some chopped herbs and shake – instant salad dressing.
Our car is an important member of the family albeit a mechanical one. It gets us from A to B but with rising costs of fuel it can cost us more and more to run every year. Make your mileage money go further by;
Drive at as even a speed as possible, you use most fuel when going from zero to 5mph.
Change gear. You use 25% more fuel going at 37mph in 5th gear than you would if you were in 3rd gear.
Don’t idle this wastes fuel, switch off the engine.
Less weight less waste. Chuck out the luggage rack, junk from the boot, kids, granny whatever is surplus to requirements for your journey (okay you might need to keep the human content but you get my drift, excess weight in the car means more fuel needed to move it).
Tyres; make sure these are inflated correctly because if the pressure is wrong they heat up and wear out faster. Don’t park right against the kerb, this wears the sides of the tyres and makes them easier to puncture.
My favourite of the lot – well it has to be the Jam Jar Cocktail of course.
Go on save some money today and raise a jar to making things go that wee bit further.