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Top Ways to Get More Bang for Your Buck

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by Chrissy (subscribe)
Live life, love life, and above all, don't forget to laugh along the way!
Published December 10th 2012
Strapped for cash? Panic no more with these ideas
Stretch your dollar with these minor changes to your lifestyle.

By Nino Barbieri, via Wikimedia Commons

Save on cooling bills in summer
1. Close the curtains to keep the sun out. This prevents the sun from heating up the air in your house.

2. In the garden, plant leafy shrubs and trees to shield your house from the sun and to create shade.

3. Use the fan and air-conditioner at the same time. This is contrary to common belief but the fan will circulate the cool air faster, allowing you to keep cool while maintaining your thermostat at an energy efficient level (about 25 degrees Celsius).

By avilasal, via Wikimedia Commons

4. Clean your filters and check that your air-conditioning unit is working properly. Clogged filters and broken units use more energy to cool the home.

5. Use home-made ice-packs, easily done by freezing half-filled bottles of water or wet sponges stored in ziplock bags. Wrap these in a towel and hug them or place them at the back of the neck to keep cool.

6. Spend the hottest part of the day in an air-conditioned building, perhaps get some reading in at the local library.

Save on heating bills in winter

1. Check for drafty spots around the house and fix them before winter. Fixing these spots will keep the cold wind out of the house.

2. Keep the temperature at 20 degrees Celsius for maximum efficiency. Put on more layers if you still feel cold.

3. Check that your home is properly insulated against heat and cold. Fix this before summer or winter arrives.

4. Consume hot soups and drinks. These will keep you warm for short periods of time.

5. Winter is a great time to get active, whether it is by exercising or by doing household chores. The more active you are, the warmer you will feel.

6. Hot water bottles are great to keep warm without the heater. Put one under the blankets to warm the sheets before bedtime, or hug one to keep warm. Just make sure the hot water bottle is wrapped in a towel to prevent burns.


1. Cook more and eat out less. Leftovers can be used for lunch the next day, or made into different dishes. Some dishes, like roast chicken, can yield two or more dishes if you are creative. Give it a shot!

Homemade cookies

2. Make your own desserts. There are plenty of simple recipes online for brownies, cakes or cookies, and they taste great!

3. Take public transport or walk to nearby areas. If you have to drive, consider car-pooling to make the most of your fuel.

4. Have dinner parties at home instead of going to a restaurant. Guests can bring a dish each to share, and parties are always a good time to re-discover old-school board games.

5. Need new clothes or household items? Pop by the local dollar store, op shop or factory outlet first before heading to the brand name shops. A $2 ramekin does the same job as a $15 ramekin. Alternatively, have a swap meet with friends and breathe new life into unwanted items.

6. Consider buying homebrand products at the supermarket. Staples such as flour and sugar taste the same whatever the price.

7. Remember the old adage: Penny wise, pound foolish. Buy in bulk only when you think you will be able to use everything. Otherwise you'd still be wasting your money.


1. Unplug all electronic devices from the socket when not in use. Electricity can still leach out when the plugs remain in the socket. Switch of the air-conditioning/heating when you are not in the room.

2. Switch to devices that are energy efficient and/or use less water. This should be stated clearly when you buy the goods.

3. Use water left from doing the dishes to wash the driveway or water the lawn.

4. Keep your fridge at least full to ensure efficient use of energy.

5. Check the taps and pipes for leaks and fix these. Install an aerator on taps to control the flow of water.

6. Consider doing dishes by hand if you only have a small amount. This will save on the energy needed to run the dishwasher.

7. Re-consider your need for a dryer. Clothes benefit from a good sunning. This might be a little tricky in winter but still doable with a little bit of planning.

Take a look around your house and at your lifestyle this weekend. What other tips do you have for making the most of your cash?
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Your Comment
Why the difference in temperature between summer - 25 degrees C - and winter - 20 degrees C?
I have a Fujitsu split system A/C and the advice from both manufacturer & installer & energy supplier is to keep the temp between 21 - 23 degrees all year. Surely they all can't be wrong? Plus my house is warm & elect consumption and cost is manageable.
Hot water bottles - surely you jest as they are dangerous (OH&S) - why not invest in an aromatherapy heat pack - 3 mins in the microwave, wrap in a towel and the gentle oil released is relaxing as well.
by rtelc (score: 1|23) 2530 days ago
I really enjoyed reading your tips. I will be taking these on board. Thanks for the great article.
by Ms. Samantha (score: 2|362) 2525 days ago
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