Change Your Habits and Save

After a month of indulging, your belt is probably feeling a little tight! I know mine is. I cannot resist food. It should loosen up in a few weeks after we return to our regular eating habits. While we are on the subject of belts and habits, why not try to change some of our spending habits so that we can tighten our belts?

I have a few suggestions for your New Year resolutions list:

1. Turn down the thermostat a few degrees. Layer up. There is no reason to be in a t-shirt and bare feet in the middle of the winter.

Turn it down a few more degrees at night as well. You will sleep better. Buy a timer or make it part of your routine by turning it down an hour before bedtime and turning it back up when you wake up.

Keep it down, if you are going to be away for the day.

2. Try to buy most of your groceries when they are on sale. Read the weekly flyer on-line or pick-up a paper copy when walk into the grocery store or pharmacy.

Know what the regular price of the items you buy the most are and stock up when they are on sale. Beware, I have been caught a few time with colored labels thinking something was on sale but actually was not. Lift the label to see what the regular price is.

Learn when the big brand sales are, usually twice a year, and stock-up on your canned goods, paper products, cleaning supplies, etc.

3. Invest in a chest freezer. Not only can you store the food you bought on sale but also your leftovers if you won’t be able to eat them. It breaks my heart when I have to throw them out. Freeze your ripe bananas and used them later for baking. We do not want to throw out our hard earned dollars in the garbage.

4. Re-use your aluminium foil and storage bags if possible. Sometimes they only need a quick wipe. Cut-up your old t-shirts into cleaning rags and reduce your use of paper products. It’s better for your wallet and the environment.

5. Start using a needle and thread. Mend your clothes and your socks. Give a new life to a shirt or cardigan by sewing on some new buttons. It may not be possible if it has gone out of style but it’s an option if it’s a classic. This is an idea from my maternal grandmother who used to buy inexpensive white shirts and make them look better by sewing on nicer buttons on them for her children in the late 40s.

6. Wash your clothes in cold water and hang them to dry. They may last longer as well - your jeans and your dark clothes will fade less quickly.

7. I used to be able to park my car in the garage but not anymore. I could see the dollars signs and toxins coming out of the exhaust when I was warming it in the morning, so we have invested in an extension cord and a car heater. What a difference it makes. The car is nice and toasty and I am sure it will add a few years to its life.

These are just a few ideas. Try asking your family and friends if they have any tips to give you. You will be amazed at what they will tell you, especially from the older generations since they have a life experience that we don’t have.

We can’t change our habits overnight since they didn’t happen overnight. However, if we are conscious of them and make small changes during the year it will make a difference, a big one, in the long run.

Wishing you all the best for 2012!