Never Too Late to Save Money for Winter

I know it’s the back end of summer at the moment, but before you know it we’ll be keeping ourselves warm for the winter. For many households, winter can be the most expensive time of the year, with boiler breakdowns, car repairs and Christmas combining to put a real strain on budgets. For this reason, it’s essential to look at every way possible of saving a bit of money â“ and there are a number of things you can try.

As strange as it may sound, one of the best ways to save money could be to spend it more wisely and potentially devote more of your budget to certain things. For example, insulating your home or getting boiler insurance may require an initial outlay, but you’re like to see the savings in the coming months and years.   Here’s a guide to how these things could, help along with a few other top tips for good measure.

Quite simply, the more you insulate, the more efficient your home will be. So look at lofts and cavity walls â“ these are among the places where the biggest savings will be seen. Then also consider insulating your pipes and water tanks â“ this will come in especially useful when the temperatures go sub-zero. In many cases, you’ll recoup your outlay within a few months or years.

Arrange boiler insurance
Each passing winter seems to break the record for the lowest temperatures ever recorded. So it’s no surprise that the nation’s boilers have taken a battering in recent years, with record numbers of breakdowns recorded by home emergency specialists. With boiler cover in place, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to call on a fully qualified Gas Safe Register approved engineer to carry out the work â“ and the cost is only likely to be your excess, rather than a repair bill running into hundreds of pounds.

Repair windows and doors
If your outside doors have seen better days and you’ve got small chips or cracks in your windows, then it’s best to get these fixed before winter sets in.  Not only could the adverse weather damage them further, but could also make your property increasingly inefficient.

Don’t ignore your garden
If you’ve been tending to your plants and lawn in recent weeks and months, don’t let the harsh winter weather undo all your hard work. Protect particularly vulnerable plants by moving them into containers and putting them in the shed or conservatory. Cover anything that’s vulnerable but can’t come out of the ground with sheeting. And if you keep fish in a pond, put a tennis ball in the water which can be removed to let oxygen circulate when the pond freezes over.

Putting in a little time and effort ahead of the winter could really help you reap the rewards â“ so don’t delay and get cracking as soon as possible.

Top Tips to Recycle Unwanted Gifts

You have heard of white elephants and we all have them, but the real question is how to recycle them. Throwing an unwanted gift away is not just plain bad manners; it is downright wrong. The landfills are overflowing with legitimate trash but the gift is not trash; it is simply not something you desire. Cycle unwanted gifts back into the gift pool. Be creative, have fun and recycle your gifts this season.

Re-gifting Party
Have a re-gifting party this holiday season. Everyone must bring one gift, wrapped and identified as a gender neutral, male or female gift. Further separate into other categories such as kitchen items, bath items, jewelry and so on. Collect the gifts as the guests arrive and place on a table. Each guest will later choose one gift. A great party game is to have each guest guess what it might be and from whom. The stories here can get pretty outlandish. Great fun and no one spends any money.

Have a Black Friday Sale
Place ads in the local paper or online for a Black Friday Sale. Plan this event way in advance to assure plenty of opportunity for shoppers to include your special sale on their shopping agendas. Collect all the new and unwanted gifts you have been storing in the hall closet for the last several years. Plan to be up early, serve coffee and be prepared. The economy has shoppers looking for the best deals. Don’t be shy about publicizing your sale; put some super deal details in your ad and think like the large retailers. Market your sale for maximum traffic. One family, who was moving shortly after the holidays, planned a Black Friday Yard Sale. They were well organized and very well attended. They sold not only their unwanted gifts but also new and nearly new household and clothing items, including books and DVDs. They netted over $2,100 in less than six hours. However, that is not the half of it. The items they didn’t have to pack saved them another $550 on the moving company’s overall bill. Twelve hours of planning, pricing and organizing netted one family $2,650.

Clothing Exchange
A clothing exchange party gives a whole new meaning to shopping in your girlfriend’s closet. It’s a great way to get your girlfriends together and have fun. Set the mood for your event, choose a great music CD, have fun finger food and several bottles of wine or sparkling cider. Set up a clothing rack in your living room and as each guest arrives she places her new and nearly new unwanted clothing gifts on the rack. A little mood music, a little bargain basement shopping and voila, an instant fashion show. Each guest has to model at least one newly acquired item!

Sell your unwanted CDs online

Another idea to find a new purpose for your unwelcome gifts comes from the services of  Music Magpie. All you have to do is enter or scan the barcode of your CDs, DVD or even games and proceed to the check out. A nice and simple way to get rid of those annoying tunes while make that extra money that you need.