If the economy is not getting better - what should you do?

Posted on: 07 February 2010 by Gareth Hargreaves

We can't influence how our savings and investments perform too much, but we do have the power to control our consumer spending and household bills.

Yesterday I was saying that I’m pretty sure this ‘recession’ is going to hang around for at least a couple more years and that its aftermath will last for a generation. So if you’re planning retirement or are semi or retired how can you mitigate your exposure and still live a good life?

Spend less is one way! It’s amazing how wasteful as consumers we are! We throw perfectly good food away because it’s reached the ‘sell by’ or ‘display’ date. These are there for the retailer’s use not you. Stop being wasteful and over a twelve month you’ll save hundreds of pounds. Buy in bulk and get the saving and store for future use. All the supermarkets have to ‘end line’ goods past the ‘display date’ – there are bargains galore there just for the taking.

Buy fresh food – better than prepared and a lot better for you. There’s a shop in London which has displays of self serve prepared food and all at a pick’n’mix price. If you buy mashed potato there its £18 a kilo! Madness!

Energy is a massive cost to us now and is going to rise  – stop wasting it! In rooms you don’t use turn the radiators down enough to take the chill of the room. Turn off all of those silly ‘standby ‘red lights and turn your heating down from 20c to 18 c. These tips alone will save you a couple of hundred pounds a year.

Live alone? Then get your 25% Council Tax reduction; this alone could save you up to £500 a year. Switch to a water meter rather than a flat rate if you are a low water user. If you have a big garden that needs watering, or a swimming pool, or a fish pond – stay as you are!

Home, car, pet or travel insurance – shop around and switch. Could save you as much as £500 on all four. Well worth the effort – when did you last get paid that much for a day’s work?

Still got money sitting in bank accounts paying no interest – then switch to a building society that will pay you a fair rate. You can check interest rates on line or in the broadsheet newspapers at the weekend.

Are you just about to retire? Shop around for the very best annuity rates you can get - a bit of effort now will yield you thousands of pounds over your retirement lifetime.

Considering Equity Release? Re-consider and think about downsizing and putting the cash balance on deposit to yield an income. Equity Release should be considered only as a last resort.

A few ideas and thoughts for you to ponder – do them all (if they apply to you) and you could save/make thousands. Do a few and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you review your outgoings.

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