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101 ways to save money

Froggybank has a new listing of 101 ways people can save money in the economic downturn

piggybank If you're having trouble coping with the credit crunch, it might be worth taking a look at Froggybank's latest tips.

Froggybank is a 'cashback' site - ie: it enables you to claim cashbacks for buying online. They then ask you to donate some of it to charity, which is the reason for Froggybank's existence.

Many of the tips, to be honest, come under the heading of 'Stating the bleeding obvious', but sometimes it's good to get a reminder to get off your backside and shop around for your mortgage provider, shop around for your credit card provider etc.

I have to admit to already doing pretty much everything on this list, though - you simply have to when you're a downshifter. We paid the mortgage off years ago (and yes it hurt, because we wanted to spend the money on a conversion). Cutting open my moisturiser tubes gives me enough cream for another three weeks. I save the centres of kitchen rolls and use them as firelighters. Every week in summer I pick up two orange crates and keep them for winter kindling. But this kind of thing is a way of life around here, where the average income is less than 12,000 euros a year. When I bluntly said to my optician recently: "That's far too expensive," I didn't get an argument, I got tips on how to cut the cost - he'd lose half his customer base if he priced too high.   

On Froggybank's list I loved item 10: 'stop impulse buys'. LOL. Now, if it was that easy, the UK wouldn't be in a credit bubble to start with. But the end of the past decade's zeigeist of 'I want it all and I want it now and I don't want to have to work for it' is going to come with some pain for many people in the UK. There is a whole generation of young people who have never experienced delayment of gratification in any shape or form. This is not good for the soul.

I was talking with a friend about this just the other week, remembering the first time I ever bought a sofabed. It was back in the mid 1980s and my boyfriend and I saved for months to buy it. We were so excited. It was £220 at a time when my take-home pay was £300 (tax, dear reader, was about 28 per cent in those days). Now, you can pick up a Clic-clac sofabed for about £120, and considering how salaries have leapt, in real terms it must be peanuts.

In the past 20 years, in the west, damn near everything has been commoditised to the extent that we now have shedloads of 'necessities' that we used to live without perfectly happily - mobile phones, tumble dryers, Ipods. I remember when I was a kid seeing Doris Day in a movie putting bread in a pop-up toaster and it was the most exotic thing I'd ever seen - we did ours under the grill. 

Still, I digress. There are many useful tips here and a lot of them are not only green but also healthy - drink less, stop smoking, buy your fruit and vegetables loose rather than packaged. And while you're there, if you're UK-based, why not sign up? It's no good for me because I live in France, but it looks like a good option for those across the Channel. 

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