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Small steps to save cash

Save the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves. That's a very old saying but, goodness, is it still relevant today! Small, small things will add up and when things are tight I am constantly thinking of how I can be miserly. I try to take all things I touch and 'shorten them up'. It might not be by much, and one may think it's a waste of time, but try this as a family exercise.

Without them knowing, count how many toilet rolls are used over a week for two or three weeks. Then ask everyone to count how many squares – on average – they use and challenge them to reduce these squares by a quarter each visit. The family target is to use a quarter less each week and that means a quarter more money available which, after a year, will have added up to a tidy wee treat.

Now, partner this up with the toothpaste, the washing powder, the dishwash liquid and the hair shampoo and you will end up with a family treat that is not so wee.

I employed a staff of five once, caring for a team of horses at a busy equestrian centre. Naturally, there were a few spills in the feed room. I swept it up one day and measured a cup full. Not much you might say ... but it weighed just over 200 grams. Add that up for a week and it totalled more than a kilo of feed extra I was having to buy!

The staff were lined up and asked what they would like to do if I gave them a $74.80 treat and, as an explanation, one cup of feed was placed beside two full bags of grain – the equivalent of what was being tossed onto the floor each year. The explanation had an impact and, at the end of the year, three hundred and sixty five cups of feed heaved in the right direction added up to a great Chinese Banquet!

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