26 February 2016

6 Ways To Help Stretch The Budget

While every clergy/clergy families' situation, priorities and needs are different, part of our February project (Money in Everyday Life) has been to scope out different resources, ideas, and tools that might help make life a bit easier, particularly as many live on a small income. So here are our top 6 that come tried and tested:
  1. Simple Ways To Save Money - A great website with a huge range of advice, calculators, and problem solving aids. This particular article has simple suggestions that don't interrupt your lifestyle too much like eating a snack before you go grocery shopping (I've tried this, I can tell you it actually works!); If you purchase a new piece of clothing, make sure it suits two other pieces you already own; Find a bank that offers less fees and more interest for your everyday and savings accounts.
  2.  Ways To Save Energy: Clergy families are often provided with older houses to live in with inadequate heating/cooling options that can be very expensive to run. While it's not always possible to get new heating or cooling, some of these tips might help reduce the cost of running your home while still keeping you comfortable like:
    a) Wash your clothing on a cooler wash.
    b) Shut doors & close curtains (It's particularly useful to shut curtains/doors before the sun goes down in winter to keep the sun/heater warmth in!)
    c) Set a maximum & minimum for your thermostat (work out what you need to stay comfortable and add/remove clothing layers if needed).

  3. Energy Rating App - This great (free and small to download!) app is very useful. Basically it helps you know or find the best appliances that use the least amount of energy and money over the course of it's lifespan. It doesn't have every appliance but a good range of washer/dryers, computers, freezers/fridges, and washing machines so you can choose what might work best for you (or know where your current models stand!). Well worth a try!

  4. Tips To Reduce Vehicle Running Costs - A helpful 'basics' article that might come in handy if your car is used frequently for ministry in remote areas. Some useful tips in here include:
    a) Find out your tyres 'optimal' inflation and stick to it (saves on fuel costs and is safer too!).
    b) If you move frequently, make sure your insurance policy is up to date - some places charge less depending on where you live!

  5. The Coin Jar - This great trick gives you options when you didn't think you had any (and it's a great way for kids to get involved in saving!). Set a jar aside in a commonly used space (ie. kitchen) and write a goal on it - such as 'school outings', 'emergency chocolate', 'family day out' or 'date night' etc. All loose change goes into the jar and can be enjoyed at a later date. As trivial as it sounds, after a few months you'd be surprised how much you can save!
  1. Set A Daily 'Fun' Money Amount - It may sound extravagant after all this talk of saving money, but it is well worth knowing how much extra you have to spend each day so you don't overspend accidentally. While this may be $3 or $20, it can give you the freedom to enjoy the little things in life such as a biscuit with coffee and a friend, fun shoelaces for school shoes, or a nice pen/notebook for sermon writing.
We hope you find these helpful! Please comment below this article with your own tips - they may help someone else out in a tight spot. :)

~ Rachel

*NB: These are ideas only, we cannot take responsibility for outcomes of these suggestions or the opinion of those who wrote the above articles.