Thursday, 14 April 2011

Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves

So, Wednesday evening has rolled around again, and although the excitement was slightly eclipsed by the return of Desperate Housewives to out tellies, we settled in and have been taking tips from the penny-pinchers at Channel 4’s Waste Not Want Not.

Watch the episode at Channel

So what did we learn?

Well, 40% of us are unable to make our salary last until the end of the month. Tell us something we don’t know.

What can we do about it?

The little penny pinching things

Are your laddering tights the financial leak in your life? Apparently by putting them in the freezer we can make them last twice as long.

If your pesky kids or annoying visitors are using your loo roll like it’s going out of fashion; before use, give the tube a good squash. This will ensure that the roll doesn’t spin on the dispenser when pulled, and will save both your purse and the environment.

When you freezer is not full of your tights (or candles from last weeks tips) it might be wasting power cooling down the empty space around your oven chips. Fill it up with newspaper to ensure that it is working as efficiently – and thus cheaply – as possible.

Some bigger and more dramatic measures

Turn off the lights, unplug the TV and never leave anything on standby, and you will see an immediate difference to your electricity bill. (And you can feel a bit smug that you are saving the planet.)

Turn your thermostat down 2 degrees and save over £1000 annually on your heating bill. (After you have bought a thick jumper this will leave you £985 in profit.)

Get Bank Aware. This is surely the biggest lesson that we can learn from this week’s Superscrimpers. Did you know that the majority of bank accounts are paying 0% interest on savings? Do you know what your interest rate is? Call your bank now and find out.

People are blindly loyal to their bank. The average relationship with a high-street bank is 16 years. This is 2 years longer than the average long-term relationship. Your bank is not loyal to you, and will not take into consideration your supportive and dedicated love when you go into your overdraft or miss a payment.

If you have savings and your bank is not paying you a penny of interest on them – LEAVE. Move to one of the accounts below which are offering the best interest rates at the moment. It is categorically worth the small amount of hassle.

Halifax Reward Current Account, £6.25 per month

Santander Preferred Current Account, 4.89% (on balances up to £2500 for 12 months)

Lloyds TSB Classic Plus Account 1.49% (on balances up to £2500)

If you cannot be bothered to move your savings to a bank that will have the common courtesy to pay you interest on them, then at least move them to a suitcase under your bed. You will be no worse off, and at least then the bank cannot loan your money out to: 1. finance the arms’ trade 2. fund corrupt governments 3. support similarly dodgy endeavours.

Right, I’m off to move banks. Natwest and I are about to go our separate ways. It left the toilet seat up one too many times and I've had enough.

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