The days are longer, the nights are warmer and it seems like summer is right around the corner – spring is here! Some people (like me) love spring. We love going outside, meeting up with more friends and feeling like there are more hours in the day to get things done. Even if you don’t like spring, it is a brilliant time to be productive, so why not think about trying these money saving tips.
No matter where you are in the country, you have probably experienced at least one day of unexpected warmth. That means it’s time… time to bravely go to the boiler and turn off the heating. Don’t worry if it gets a little cold again, it is nothing you can’t handle. Don’t expect it to be summer just yet – keep lots of handy jumpers ready and keep your winter duvet nearby. But, there is nothing worse than keeping your radiators on when it is already hot outside, particularly if, like me, you like opening windows. You might as well be throwing your hard earned money right out of the window.
Similarly, don’t forget to turn off your lights on those sunny days when the sun is providing you with natural lighting. It’s easy to forget you even turned it on, but it is often completely unnecessary and just a waste of money.
Here I have two tips in one! First of all, clean out your belongings. Check the garage, the attic, the backs of your shelves, and anywhere else you may have left your old, unnecessary things. Once you’ve done this, you might even find some things to sell! Old games consoles, TVs, phones, laptops, as well as books, DVDs, clothes and many more items could add up to some serious cash. It’s always worth a try. Even if you don’t manage to sell everything, you can always donate it to charity where it can do more good than it was when it was just getting dusty in your garage.
My second cleaning tip is to make your own cleaning supplies. White Vinegar not only dissolves dirt, but also is a natural deodoriser so it can clean surfaces and stop terrible smells. If you are worried about the concentration, you can always dilute it with some water. Baking Soda is also a natural deodoriser, and is fantastic for scrubbing tough surfaces. Lemons can also be a great natural disinfectant, while smelling great. My favourite trick is cleaning a microwave by microwaving a lemon with some water. If being a natural chemist isn’t your cup of tea, then making your own cleaning rags may save you money instead. Old clothes, towels and sheets can all be repurposed as cleaning cloths. Depending on what they are used for, they could even be washed and reused.
If the longer, sunnier days motivate you to be more organised, now is a fantastic time to budget and organise your finances and debts. You can start the new financial year off in your stride by sitting down and calculating your total income and expenditure in order to understand your surplus income. You can set yourself short-term and long-term savings goals and prepare yourself for financial emergencies.
Most of the time, if people are scared to sit down and budget, it is because they are afraid of what they might find. Don’t worry if you are struggling with debt – spring is a perfect time to get on top of them! You might want to spend your time researching debt solution options, such as the Individual Voluntary Arrangement. There are many options other than bankruptcy, so just take a deep breath and dive in. There are also plenty of advisers who are more than happy to assist you in understanding your situation.
Another effect of the sun is that being outside is no longer freezing and soul-destroying, so you can spend more time outside, walking and cycling. This means you can kill two birds with one stone by saving money while getting fit for summer. Rather than taking the bus to work, ride your bike or walk. Try walking to meet your mates down the pub, and say no to taxis and ubers! Bit by bit, you’ll be saving money and getting fit – you’ll be ready for those summer beach days in no time. If you have a gym membership (that you feel guilty for not using), cancel it and take up running and other free outdoor activities that can keep you fit. As the sun and exercise can also help you psychologically, it is the perfect way to keep you mentally, financially, and physically healthy.
For those of us who love spring, undoubtedly the most beloved aspect is the feeling of renewal and fresh starts. Even more so than the ever-disappointing New Years, spring is the season that truly feels like new beginnings. After all, there’s a reason that Easter is dominated by baby lambs, chicks and bunny rabbits. For me, the best way to take advantage of this nature-inspired call for a fresh start is to do a bit of gardening. Even if you don’t have a garden, you can grow something on your brightest windowsills.
You should grow whatever makes you happy, from sunflowers to carrots. But my suggestion is to grow useful things as well. Fresh herbs are always a good idea because they smell delicious and make even the plainest food taste great. But, if you are looking for more substantial savings, there is plenty of fruit and veg that you can plant, maybe even from your natural leftovers! Kitchen scraps provide plenty of planting opportunities. Wash and dry your tomato seeds, and you can grow your own tomatoes from scratch! Root vegetables like carrots and potatoes also work well. Plenty of other fruits, vegetables and nuts may take a year or two before they produce food. But the sooner you start, the sooner you have fresh, home-grown, cheap food of your own.