Being in debt, or permanently just skirting it, can be really stressful. It can feel like you’re trapped in a swamp – the more you struggle, the deeper in you feel. Of course, setting up a debt management plan is your first priority, as you’ll feel – and be – more in control.
Once you feel you’re headed in the right direction, you can take even more control – and maybe even bring a bit of fun (remember that?) back into your lives. Saving money can be a source of amusement and solidarity and can offer a sense of purpose – no matter how bonkers some of the ideas are. Here are four of the more out-there (but no less effective) ones.
Train your cat to use the toilet
As insane as this sounds, the cost of owning a cat can be more than £1,000 a year when you factor in food, vet bills, de-worming meds, toys and so on. You can’t nix the food and vet parts, but you can reduce or eliminate the cost of cat litter, which can total more than £100 per year. There are lots of toilet-training guides online, but if your moggy really doesn’t like it, then you’ll have to find another way of saving £2 each week. Like forgoing that fancy coffee.
Changing font before hitting “print”
Domestic printing is notoriously expensive – it can often be cheaper to just replace the printer and use its starter ink supply! Not using the printer at all would be the ideal answer, but it’s a necessary evil sometimes. Bring in some damage limitation by decreasing the size of the font and the font itself. Apparently, Century Gothic uses around a third less ink than the more commonly-chosen fonts. Using draft mode is also handy, but don’t go too far with this and with decreasing the font size – teachers don’t like using magnifying glasses to grade homework…
Make the world a cooler place
We all know how turning the thermostat down a degree can shave off 10% of your heating bills. That’s great, but how about having a chilly challenge? That’s right. No heating for one day a week, or for a few half-days a month. Our forebears managed it. Choose sunnier autumn and winter days and try to go as long as possible before sparking that boiler up. Even if you only manage a couple of hours, it’s something, and you can come up with some fun ways to stay warm, like hanging out in the kitchen and batch-cooking (which is another good money-saver; just not quite as bizarre…).
Wear too many clothes onto the plane
You’ve found some cheapo flights on a budget airline! Yay! But what’s this? Your luggage is a couple of kilos or centimetres over and you’re being charged £20? You can eliminate this risk, which is often a problem on return flights, by wearing some of your luggage – two jumpers, a skirt over trousers – you get the picture. You could also develop heat exhaustion, though, so do watch what you’re doing.