Taking control of your spending whilst carrying our your weekly or even monthly food shop can be daunting task for many. Endless offers for the latest product, multi purchase discount and clearance items for next to nothing prices are just some of the causes for filling your shopping trolley with items that rack up your final bill.
Here’s a quick but effective list of ways you can make sure you leave the shop with things you actually went in for and nothing more – courtesy of the Healthy Hideout:
- Choose a basket – Although you may not enjoy using them as they require a lot more effort, go for a basket instead of a shallow trolley. With less space, you’ll be heading to the checkouts when your baskets full rather than trying to fill your trolley with extras you simply don’t need.
- Make a shopping list – It’s almost a given to make a list before you go shopping, but many of us still choose not to make one. Make yourself a list of the items you need and stick to it. There’s a reason why the milk and bread are often far apart or on the other side of the store at your local supermarket – You’ll have to pass many different aisles to get there buying items you don’t need.
- BOGOF’s (buy one get one free) are not your friend – Realistically, ask yourself how many biscuits you can eat in a week or how many apples you’ll consume in the same time. Supermarkets often provide offers on stock they need to clear quickly. This normally means means the consumer ends up with a years supply of Pringles they didn’t actually want simply because it was a “good deal” at the time. Buy loose fruit and veg as it often works out cheaper!
- Carry cash – By taking a set cash amount to the supermarket with you, you’ll be bound to stick within the allowance you have to spend on shopping. Taking cards tempts you to spend more than you actually need to on items you don’t really need.
- Get rid of the vouchers – Many of us find ourselves surrounded by vouchers offering savings for our weekly shopping bills. Stop and ask yourself if you would have bought that product or item if you didn’t have the voucher? Vouchers tempt us to buy items we wouldn’t normally buy!
- From top to bottom – When browsing the shelves at your local supermarket be sure to look from top to bottom at the products available. You’ll often find that supermarkets will place the most profitable products at eye level, causing the consumer the buy what the supermarket wants them to buy.
There are 7 key areas that you must address before starting your bathroom renovation. By planning ahead, you can save yourself both time and prevent many costly mistakes that may occur in the long run.
- Get the location perfect – Where is your bathroom currently located? Is it in the best place for the rest of the home? If not, now may be the best time to relocate. For example, it may be beneficial to move the bathroom from downstairs to upstairs or vice versa. Remember, this is your bathroom, so design the space to fit the features you want it to have, such as a walk-in shower enclosure or whirlpool bath.
- Is that the best price? – If you’re working with a limited budget, you don’t have to buy all your sanitaryware from the same supplier, or with the same brand. It’s useful to stick with the colour white as this will broaden your options, and be sure to check out your local bathroom discount warehouses and online retailers. Mix and match different installations to achieve the look you’re after at the best possible cost.
- Check your water supply – The performance of your water system will determine the outcome of water pressure within your new bathroom installation. There is no point in upgrading your bathroom without first checking that your water system will be up to the task. If your home currently has a gravity fed system, it may be an idea to check with your plumber to see if a pressurised system can be installed, so that you’re meeting a standard demand of 3 BAR (measure of water pressure). If an upgrade isn’t an option, then look towards electrical pump installations to give you that extra boost in pressure.
- Turn on the lights! – Imaginative lighting can make a big difference to your finished look – Don’t just settle for a single centre mounted light bulb. Experiment with spot lights on key features, such as the bath, with dimmer controls to create a real relaxing atmosphere. Low-voltage down-lights with directional fittings can provide clean bright lighting to create a spacious feel within your bathroom. Avoid pointing lights onto mirrors, and be sure to check that all your lights meet building regulations (IPX ratings etc).
- Consider your heating – The ideal option for bathrooms is underfloor heating, as it’s concealed and it can make a tiled or stone floor a lot more comfortable. Alternatively, you could incorporate hot water pipes between joists which can be added to your current central heating system (you will need a mixer valve to control the extra flow). Electric UFH mats laid within the tile adhesive are also another option. Towel rails are a no brainer – easy installation with maximum benefit both practically and cosmetically.
- Enough ventilation? – If you don’t consider ventilation properly in the early stages of development, your newly installed bathroom will quickly become victim to mould, and unavoidable musty smells. An electric powered extractor fan mounted into a top corner is the best option, and and can be vented straight outside or up through a ceiling. Some fans can be activated by movement or humidity level, but the common method of operation is incorporating it into your light switch.
- Optimise your layout – Having a shower, wash basin and WC is fine for a second bathroom or en suite, but a family bathroom needs to have a bath. Don’t try to cram too much into your new layout and try and stick to minimum practical working distances around each facility. WC’s for instance, require 45cm either side of the centre. Without spending too much cash, try using a computer program to help you decide on a layout. Google SketchUp (sketchup.google.com) is a great place to start.
So what are you waiting for? Get planning!
Source: Real Homes Magazine – June 2009