St. John’s Antigua-
Control utility costs
Unplug all appliances, computers, refrigerators and other devices that are not being used. Take shorter showers. Turn your water heater temperature to medium. For those with lawn sprinklers, change the setting to water only once or twice a week. Do not let the TV run in a room where there is no occupant. Walk around your house turning off lights. Only have a light on in the room you are in. For those with air conditioning in their homes, do not cool the entire house if you do not have to. If your AC is zoned, only use the zone that you are in. Do not use electric heaters for heat unless you have to. These are very expensive to run. Sign up with any energy saver programmes with your utility provider.
Sell whatever you don’t use or need
Offer to sell other people’s items. In other words, become the neighbourhood yard sale manager and on the basis of a share of the profits. For the women, sell jewelry that you don’t wear. Sell that extra car if you don’t’ need it. Try to get by with using only one car.
Reduce or eliminate various other household expenses
If you can’t do without cable TV, you could reduce cost by reducing the number of channels. In any event you normally watch only five or six and there is a lot of garbage on TV anyways. Do you need both a land telephone and a cellular? Eliminating one could save cost.
Never discard loose change
Buy a bag of coin holders or plastic bags and secure coins in them. You would be surprised how much money is laying around in loose change.
Plant a garden
If you can do this, the production of fresh vegetables would save you some money at the grocery.
Look for bargains/compare prices
Avoid purchasing on the spur of the moment especially for higher priced items. Call around and compare prices before leaving home. Listen for sales or bargains and take advantage of them if you can.
It is expensive and the tobacco producers would serve the world better if they grew food instead. For those who can’t quit, you have the option of reducing the number of cigarettes per day and thus reduce such cost.
For many the various ideas I have articulated may appear small, so what I would urge is that after trying all of them, compare your costs to see what they used to be and what they are now.
While it is important to manage your personal finances along the lines I have suggested, it is important for me to stress the need for you to take care of yourself. The last thing you want in these difficult and challenging economic times is health problems especially if your job and access to health insurance is shaky. Major health issues such as diabetes and cancer are expensive to treat and consequently a drain on household wealth.
What I would urge is that you put the odds in your favour by taking charge of your health. Specific actions such as losing weight, exercising regularly, eating right and quitting smoking provide many associated financial benefits. No matter what, health is indeed the greatest wealth.
The economy can seem out of control today but the best remedy for economic uncertainty is controlling the things we can. Numerous studies have confirmed that people, who maintain some measure of control over their lives in times of crisis generally, cope better and feel less powerless than those who don’t. Making plans and revising them is a characteristic of financially savvy people. Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
Furthermore, Northwestern Mutual insurance recently conducted a study which found that people who do things that constitute good planning tend to be happier than those who don’t. Specific practices that made planners feel better about life included setting financial goals, taking steps to achieve such goals and spending within a budget.
Accentuate the positive-
Yes, these are tough economic times but it is also the best time to grow as a person. Learn new skills such as cooking or sewing. Enjoy more time with your family. Cultivate a simpler lifestyle and you won’t regret it.