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Millions of Brits have adopted a war-time style ‘rations’ mentality in order to save money amid the continuing economic downturn, has been revealed. Researchers found common austerity tactics include sitting in the dark rather than putting the lights on, moulding old bits of soap together to create a new bar and only flushing the toilet when absolutely necessary.
Borrowing power tools, lawn mowers and vacuum cleaners from neighbours instead of buying their own is also a frequent ruse, as is driving at a lower speed, only calling friends and relatives during ‘off-peak’ times and re-using tin foil, wrapping paper – and even cling film.
The study also found as many as nine out of 10 Brits admit they now do anything they can to get by at a time when the cost of living is permanently on the rise.
Additionally, eight in 10 people claim to be more conscious than ever before of overspending, and try to budget to get to make it through to the end of the month.
Interestingly, people over the age of 46 were the least embarrassed about borrowing items from neighbours, and were more likely to opt for clever money saving measures.
Eight in 10 of those nearing 50 said they ‘learned long ago’ that it’s pointless trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ by comparing material possessions to those of peers, friends and relatives, the report found.
Stacey Stothard, Corporate Communications Manager at Skipton Building Society, which conducted the study of 2,000 adults, said:
”It’s great to see that rationing has returned for the modern day, and while we’re not clear what’s driving this lifestyle change, whether it’s financial fear or just a revival of true British determination to get the best deal possible, we do know that people are thinking of their budgets when making their day-to-day decisions.
”This can only be a good thing. What is important, though, is that they take this one step further and actually turn their hard-won leftover cash into lasting savings they can fall back on.
”If they take the time to count up what savings they’ve made and put that money aside into a savings account, they’ll be amazed how quickly a nice amount can build up.
”It’s noticeable that many of our older respondents are the least embarrassed by borrowing and sharing items.
”Perhaps this is because they remember stories from the war when rationing took hold of the country for years and thrift was an essential skill. They know that you can get by on much less than you thought.
”They also know that saving up for the future is key to being able to achieve your aspirations, and a couple of quid here and there makes a real difference over time.”
The poll shows that when it comes to buying and eating meals, Brits are doing everything they can to battle rising food costs.
A third of people visit the reduced aisles in supermarkets at times when they know the best deals will be on display, and one in 10 will only go shopping on a full stomach.
Eating left-overs for lunch, having a vegetable patch and making a massive meal at the beginning of the week to split and freeze are other ways people lower their food consumption and reduce shopping bills.
Nearly half of those polled only boil enough water for one cup of tea, and a quarter has started to regularly bake their own bread, cakes and jam.
Many people are getting savvy at saving money around the house – by using hot water bottles or dressing in layers to avoid putting the heating on, switching lights off when leaving rooms, and turning gadgets and appliances off at the wall.
A third of people now buy everything in bulk – filling cupboards with toilet rolls, washing powders and bumper packs of tea and coffee, while a fifth choose to dye or cut their own hair at home, rather than visiting the hairdresser for a proper cut and colour.
Other money saving measures include sharing bath water, using the library rather than buying new books and cutting the end of a toothpaste tube to get the last bit out.
Stacey Stothard added:
”Brits now think nothing of borrowing ladders, power tools, carpet cleaners, and garden equipment from the next-door neighbour, and it’s a pretty sensible money saving measure.
”The study seems to suggest people are no longer embarrassed to be careful about their finances – there’s something quite impressive about someone who manages to exist by spending very little.
”We are now living in an age where it is quite cool to think of new and innovative ways to save money – and we actually admire those people who manage to do so and are not afraid to crib some helpful hints and tips from the older generation.”
The study shows 18% of people have borrowed clothes, shoes or accessories from others rather than buying a new outfit for a night out, and 14% have bought a new item from a shop, worn it once and then returned it back to the shop to save money.
Six in 10 people occasionally sell items via car boot sales and auction websites to try and save a bit of cash, and 36% have been known to completely clear the house out in a bid to find things to sell.
A fifth of parents avoid shopping with children so they don’t have to give in to pester power, and three quarters of people now shop online because they spend less than on the high street.
More than half of Brits claim to be spending less now than they were 12 months ago.
TOP 50 MONEY SAVING MEASURES
1. Switch lights off as soon as leaving a room
2. Shop around for the best products
3. Re-using carrier bags
4. Only boiling enough water for one cup of tea
5. Taking part in focus groups and online surveys to make money
6. Turning off the tap when brushing teeth
7. Cutting out coupons, money off vouchers and discount website links
8. Switch gadgets off when not using them
9. Bulk buy toilet rolls, washing powder etc.
10. Only turn lights on when it’s really dark
11. Opt for own-brand products over expensive options
12. Wearing lots of layers instead of putting the heating on
13. No buying something until its cheap or you can find a voucher for it
14. Hanging clothes around the house instead of using the tumble dryer
15. Going to the reduced aisle in supermarkets at specific times
16. Driver at a slower speed to lower fuel consumption
17. Saving coppers and using change machines to convert into cash
18. Asking for presents you need rather than want
19. Waiting until after 6pm to phone anyone from the landline
20. Write a list for the food shop and don’t deviate
21. Re-heeling shoes rather than buying new ones
22. Using all the samples stuck in magazines
23. Bake cakes, jam, bread etc.
24. Saving unwanted presents and giving them to other people
25. Having left over dinner for packed lunches
26. Re-using wrapping paper
27. Buying an old car rather than new
28. Making kids packed lunches instead of buying school dinners
29. Patching up old clothes rather than buying new
30. Cutting up Birthday and Christmas cards to make present tags
31. Make a massive meal at the beginning of the week that you can split and freeze
32. Cutting / dying hair at home rather than going to the hairdressers
33. Only flush the toilet when absolutely necessary
34. Use the library rather than buy books
35. Park miles away from the shops rather than paying to park close by
36. Grow your own vegetables
37. Buy clothes and toys from charity shops
38. Fold up tin foil and cling film to use again
39. Give ‘cheap but nice’ presents like a photo in a frame
40. Sharing bath water
41. Using a hot water bottle instead of putting the heating on
42. Sit next to one radiator instead of putting all radiators on
43. Use tired clothes as pyjamas rather than having actual pyjamas
44. Waiting until it is a cheaper time to park
45. Cut the end of a toothpaste tube to get the last bit out
46. Stick the end bits of soap together to make sure none is wasted
47. Only go to the cinema on a Wednesday
48. Only use one or two sheets of toilet paper to make it last longer
49. Use old knickers as dusters
50. Only go food shopping after a meal, as an empty stomach leads to temptation