Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Twenty Ways to Generate a Virtual Pay Rise

This post is for my hardworking NHS colleagues and anyone else out there who, like me, have had their pay frozen for the next two years. It's a bit of a bummer at a time when inflation looks like it's on the rise too.  But fear not, holidays, hobbies and health affirming treats could be safe after all!  I've put together a list of the money saving tactics that I employ routinely. Some seem to be  'little pain, lots of gain' no-brainers.   However I'll admit that a few of the others might require expending a little  bit of  time or effort.  Adopting just one or two of these could result in healthy savings and voila!  a virtual pay rise thus preserving the right to work to live rather than its grim counterpart.

  • Ecodrive to cut down on fuel and motor maintenance costs.
  • Avoid paying for parking at all costs!  Explore places that you visit regularly for suitable alternative places to leave the car that are in walking distance of your final destination.
  • Wash your car yourself.  Failing this bribe the kids to do it as a price less than that charged at the local garage.
  • Cut right back on  buying new copies of novels.  Borrow from friends or the library, charity shops and book stalls at fetes instead! Don't fork out on 'reference' books either until you're sure that it's going to be used often.
  • Read newspapers on-line instead of buying a print copy.  Could seeking out interesting articles on the Internet reduce the need for those expensive magazine subscriptions too? 
  • Dress so that you don't have to buy loads of ladder and hole prone tights (and that includes the men out there too!).   Think long skirts, trousers and knee length boots with opaque woollens.
  • Think in advance when purchasing shoes that you are going to wear a lot and factor in whether you're going to be spending money having them re-heeled on a regular basis.
  • Don't buy clothes that need dry cleaning weekly.
  • Reduce impulse purchasing clothes by having a planned wardrobe update twice yearly and buying new stuff from a shopping list.    Go for quality rather than quantity and you'll find, with time, that you'll need less and less new stuff in the long run.
  • Don't do designer gear for children.  They grow, its a waste of money and they can look great in cheaper brands and second hand clothes.  If they insist on the latest expensive fad make them save for it themself or buy as a special Christmas or Birthday gift.
  • Cut your washing by a load a week and save time and electricty by reducing the amount of ironing needed too.  I do this  by wearing things for a day or two longer than I used to and will rely on friends and family to let me know if they think I'm taking this habit too far!  Air-dry clothes unless it's a real emergency.   
  • Fight brand snobbery especially when it comes to cleaning products. No-one cares who makes your toilet paper or kitchen cleaner.  And basic food ingredients such as flour and oil are often discernible from their fancier counterparts. On the other hand, people are wrong if they convince you that supermarket brands of yeast extract or mayonnaise are just as good as Marmite or Hellmans!
  • Think carefully about whether you can cut cleaning and save time, electricity and materials without the house going to rack and ruin?
  • Buy seasonal fruit and vegetables and buy it loose not pre-packed.  Look out for meat on special offers and freeze ahead. 
  • Agree 'present amnesties' with other grown ups or make your own gifts.
  • Be a discerning buyer of cosmetics and toiletries.  Buy only what you need and use.
  • Replace retail therapy with other activities of a restorative kind.  You'll have much more time for hobbies, exercise and socialising as a result.
  • Kick regular coffee house, sandwich bar and takeaway lunch habits and save these for treats.   Does forgetting to make something to eat at midday feature as an excuse?  Stock up on crackers etc. kept in the office and have some decent tea and coffee availabe there too.  We're pooled resources and have created 'Ryvita Corner', an impressive array of crackers for sharing,  as well as a communal pack of Lurpak in our workplace.
  • Make better use of recording programmes on TV to watch later to cut down on subscription services and DVD rental. 
  • Cut down music purchases by using a Spotify free subscription and exploring YouTube to expand your  listening repetoire.
Okay, that's twenty for starters and I hope that there's a few ideas that might provide my readers with a virtual pay rise especially if the real thing is not going to be forthcoming.  I hope that taking up some of these ideas will ensure that there's a bit more money around for paying off debts and/or retaining the finer things in life.  As all these measures are already in place in the Lovelygrey household it's going to be harder for me to generate a raise for myself but I'll think creatively and see if I can rise to the challenge. 


    1. Great ideas there! Probably something you do already, but one that occurred to me just now when I 'nipped' to the supermarket to pick up a few items that got forgotten in the weekly shop was to make a commitment to shop just once a week, with a list. Not only does this save on fuel, but the small shops inevitably lead to additional purchases - how did that chocolate end up in the basket? ; )

    2. Great tips!!! love them. As oublic sector I was made redundant and have taken much lower paying jobs - prior to that as I was contracted out public sector ( grrr) had also not had a pay rise at all since 2008. Times are tough but with some ingenuity and a healthy dose of frugalism its do - able!!!

    3. PS - re some brand names

      Hellmans, tea and coffee - I need the better quality brands I am afraid however I znever buy them full price - I search and stockpile for PG tips, tetley, Gold Blend and Hellmans. When its on offer I buy with a view to consumption and sell by date!!