27 April 2008

5 Ways to Make A Difference to Your Finances

These days, with prices and interest rates rising in the blink of an eye it can be a real adventure trying to make ends meet and last from one pay cheque to the next. But don't despair, this week's list is here to help inspire you to make your money go the distance. From short term quick fixes to get over a cashflow hurdle to more long term lifestyle changes to make your life easier in the future.

1. Get rid of things you don't need
If you have an unexpected bill to clear away, or some sudden unplanned expenditure is looming in your horizon you could try going through your cupboards to find goods you no longer require that you could sell. That breadmaker you used once, the exercise equipment that never made it out of the box, baby clothes . . . Just imagine how much extra space you will have once you have cleared some of this clutter.

2. Use your car only when you really need to
Try carpooling to work or to the grocery store with your neighbours. Walk your kids to school or ride a push bike. Walk to the corner store. Use public transport. Not only are you saving on petrol and wear and tear on your car, but you will be getting more exercise as well - so you won't be needing that gym membership anymore!

3. Be sparing with your electricity
Turn your lights off when you leave the room. Use eco lightbulbs (but be sure to dispose of them properly). Hang clothes outside to dry whenever you can. Turn the thermostat down a notch. Insulate your hot water cylinder and pipes. Open your curtains to let the sun warm your house during the day and close them at night to keep the warmth in.

4. Pay off your credit cards and other debts as fast as you can afford
The quicker they are paid off the less interest you pay. Enough said!!

5. Make your own fun
I know that sounds like something your Grandma would say . . . but it really is true that you can have a blast without spending a fortune. Rent DVDs instead of going to the movies. Have a Pictionary Party (or Cranium - my personal favourite, Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly . . .). Organise a dinner party at home instead of going out to a restaurant. Take your family to the beach or the park for a picnic.

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