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Cool Beans

A Guide To Living On The Cheap

Life is hard. You go to school in order to get a job in order to pay the bills in order to provide a shelter for your offspring in order to finally have someone to watch Bonnie Tyler with and then one day a recession comes along and ruins everything. Now I’m not sure whether we’re out of a recession or about to start a recession or maybe we’re half way through a triple dip recession with a chocolate flake, but the fact that you need to be prepared remains. And the only way to be prepared in this day and age is to have fat wads of cash in your basement. And the only way you’re going to get fad wads of cash in your basement is by increasing your income, or alternatively decreasing your expenses to such a minute amount that you end up with fat wads by default. I also promise that was the last time I use the term ‘fat wads’. Ok, just then was the last time. Cue top tips to living on the cheap.

1. We all know the trick of ringing out your used tea bags to facilitate future brews with the same teabag, but why must our re-usable bag ethics stop there? Bin bags - once they’re full, tip the contents out into the big bin outside and give them a quick wipe down. Play your cards right and you’re looking at one bin bag per annum. Same goes for plastic bags, body bags and boil in the bag rice.

2. Save money by striking up a long-lasting relationship on Christmas Day with someone who was born on 25 December, thus combining three annual days of expensive gifts into one.

3. Recreate an expensive night out in a UK city centre by sniffing some solvent, clattering your head with a boiling pan and shouting at your neighbour’s cat because it ‘looked at you funny’.

4. As the phrase ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ suggests, simply save a penny per day, and by the end of the year you will have put aside a whopping £3.65.

5. Food coupons and discount vouchers are a great way to cut down on your food bill. Sure, they don’t taste great and doctors don’t usually recommend you ingest paper on a regular basis, but mercy me, they’re even cheaper than Iceland scotch eggs.

6. Everyone knows that the richer you get, the more free stuff you get, thus the less you spend. So to live on the serious cheap, just get really rich. Wait, hang on...

7. Haircuts are an expensive luxury. Get rid of this mindless spending by lying down on a golf course next time the groundsman is going round with the walk-on lawnmower.

8. Weigh the cost of everything against how many hours of work it took to earn that money. Using this handy, super depressing approach, you will soon realise you can’t afford anything.

9. Gym membership is another needless expense. You really want to stay in shape? Key the next moving police car you see and run for your life. (NB: May result in prison sentence. Now Then Magazine and Advice Arnold not liable for blame)

10. Recreate visiting an expensive modern art gallery for free by throwing clothes all over your bedroom floor and spending the rest of the evening analysing the hidden meaning.

11. Be sure to sign up to the latest tax avoidance scheme. Not sure what that is? Give Gary Barlow or George Osborne a bell.

12. Get receipts for everything. If nothing else, they are very effective at mopping up tears.

13. And finally, amass all your literature from free publications. You don’t need a self-help column to tell you that.

Photo by Mark Leeming )

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