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  1. #1
    still digging' my way out
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Leuven, Belgium

    Default 92 tips to live cheaper (source Humo: Belgian magazine)

    Hello everyone,

    Hereby the 92 tips that I read in a belgian magazine, Humo.
    Some tips are daft, but some are very useful! Originally there were 101 tips, but someone ripped out that page I guess I can't complain because the magazine wasn't mine, but yeah

    I don't know if everything is possible in the US since I don't know the market over there and my excuses if I made some mistakes while translating all the tips&tricks. Anyways, here goes:

    1. Change your deliverer of energy: choose which one is the cheapest, don't stick to the "ordinary" deliverer of your energy.

    2. Move to Asuncion. In an overview of the price of live in 143 cities of the world, the capital of Paraguay seems to be the cheapest. And there's lots of sun!

    3. Make a shopping list when you go out shopping , don't leave with an empty stomach. A shopping trolley is generally 20% less filled with impulse buying when you follow this tip.

    4. When you are at the supermarket, bend through your knees. The cheapest products are usually at the lowest shelves. Or on the really high ones. Whatever is at eye hight is usually the most expensive.

    5. Look out for advertising, coupons in the newspaper, don't paste a sticker saying "no advertising" on your mailbox, you might miss out on some bargains.

    6. Watch out you don't buy stuff you don't need, this often happens when there are coupons involved. Don't buy 3 packages of cakemix when you only bake cake every other year. Every (belgian) family spends 65 euro a month buying stuff that are never used!

    7. On stocksales and in outletstores you can buy stuff at low prices. You can find them on websites like for belgian people and I'm sure there are sites for this in America too.

    8. Buy when there are sales. Clothes, furniture and electronics are up to 70% cheaper in the sales period.

    9. Pay attention to where you buy sales. In some shops there are always sales going on, but sales on rubbish. It only looks like they're bargains, but actually they're not.

    10. Most telecom-operators make their most interesting offers (like a free dvd-player when you sign up) for NEW customers. Being loyal to one phone company doesn't pay off, so you could regularly change operator to get the offers.

    11. With VoIP (Voice over IP, calling through the internet) you can save some money on your phone bill.

    12. Use as much as TL-lights as you can instead of other light bulbs, because it is still cheaper and more friendly to the environment than other light bulbs. In 80% of the cases, 50% can be saved on light.

    13. Paint your walls in bright colours that reflect light. Dark colours absorb light and are bad for the efectiveness of your lighting.

    14. Want to send letters without paying? Write your own address on the front of the letter and on the back the address of the one you want to send the letter to. Cross your own address and write: "RETURN TO SENDER, ADDRESS UNKNOWN". Put your letter in the mailbox and there you go

    15. Check if you can get subsidized on anything you own or do in your house! Most governments do subsidize a lot of things, but 97% of all people do not know about it.

    16. Let your doctor make a "global medical file" for you. Having this global medical file you need to pay less for every visit.

    17. When you have a night and day rate for your electricity then you can wash and dry at night and in the weekends for a better price.

    18. Regularly polish and clean shoes! It lengthens their lifespan with one year. Never put wet shoes underneath the heating: the leather dries too fast and could tear up.

    19. Make a savings account on the bank and regularly put money on it. The interest is much higher on this kind of accounts than on a regular account.

    20. Don't go below 0 on your account: the interest gets much higher in this case!

    21. Easy spenders should pay cash instead of electronic, this way you realize more how much you're spending.

    22. Trade! Look for people in your neighbourhood who want to trade services (e.g. if I fix your sink will you babysit my kids?).

    23. Buy as less as possible ready-made products and microwave meals.

    24. Head to the market right before it closes: you can do some good bargains at that time.

    25. Put isolating foil behind your heating, this way you loose 5% -10% less warmth.

    26. Don't put furniture in front of your heating and don't use them to dry clothes or anything on. This could save you 80 euro a year.

    27. Choose for very thick curtains to keep the cold out and warmth in during the winter.

    28. Never buy shares from Lernout & Hauspie (this company went bankrupt by the way, and lots of citizens lost all of their money)

    29. Use the shower instead of taking a bath, you will need half of the water you use when taking a bath. Use a special saving-shower-head, this one uses 50% less water when showering.

    30. Put a brick in the back of your toilet or a full bottle of water this way you will save 2 liters of water whenever you use the toiletflush.

    31. An electronic thermostat is no luxury, you can program day and night temperature and sometimes even special settings for vacations or weekends.

    32. Check your car insurance. When you choose for a formula that suits you best (e.g. driving max. 10.000km a year) you can sometimes reduce the price of your insure by 50%. Buying a bicycle and selling the car is obviously even better.

    33. Look at the price per kilo in the supermarket, often a large package is cheaper than lots of little ones.

    34. Electronic machines like washing machines, dishwashers, fridges, freezers, .... all have got an energy label. Depending on their use of energy, they get an A label (not using much energy) to a G label (using a lot of energy). The machines with A+ and A++ labels are more expensive to buy but are much cheaper in use because they need even less energy than the ones with an A label. So buy machines with an A+ or A++ label!!

    35. Don't leave anything on stand by. Even the digital clock on the microwave uses more energy on one year than the oven itself.

    36. Your laundry often is not as dirty as you think. Skip the "prewashing" and put the washing machine on a lower temperature. You will see that your laundry is clean and you will save 10 - 20%!

    37. To wash a small amount of laundry at 30°C the amount of washing powder that is still in the washing container will be sufficient. There's no need to use too much washing powder.

    38. Don't rince the dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. Saves you water and energy.

    39. Divide the tablets for the dishwasher in two pieces. One halve will do the job just as good.

    40. A dash of cheap vinegar will work as a fabric softener and protects the colours of your clothes.

    41. Cancel double insurances. When you have a good insurance at your work (incl. death insurance), having a separate life insurance is of no use.

    42. Don't play on the lottery! The chance that you win is 1 on 1.000.000 for most lotteries...

    43. Smoking is useless: you might just aswell throw your money out of the window. Quitting smoking means saving money you would spend on cig packs AND saving money you would spend sometime at your health problems due to smoking.

    44. Bake your own bread! You will save about 200 euro a year.

    45. More and more people shop in night shops and fuel stations. The prices in those shops are a lot higher however!

    46. More expensive is not necessarily better: the anti-wrinkle cream Biocura of Aldi seems the best of all, according to Stiftung Warentest, a consumer care company. And this cream only costs 2,50 euro!

    47. Avoid frozen water sticking to the walls of your freezer. 2 milimeters of this raises the energy use by 10% a year!

    48. Depending on the type of car you drive with, the fuel efficiency lies between 70 - 90 km/hour. When you drive 100 km/h on the motorway instead of 120km/h, your car uses 20% less fuel. Try to drive as much as possible behind big vehicles, the vehicle covers you for the wind and has a sucking power which allows you to use less fuel.

    49. Make sure there is enough tension on your tires. Tires without enough tension use lots of fuel and will need to be replaced sooner.

    50. Using the airco or the heathing of the back window costs you 5% -10% extra fuel!

    51. Just get rid of your car. It costs a lot and sharing a car with a few people is cheaper.

    52. Search for frugal cars. On Febiac (FEBIAC) you can find a list of frugal cars.

    53. The only way to lower the price of having a car, BUT risking a fine when you get caught: use the oil you use for warming the house instead of diesel. There is no difference between them, only the red colour that has been added. There are however a lot less taxes on the house oil.

    54. Buy a house, don't rent one. Paying for a mortgage can be seen as a way of saving up, because the value of your house will rise in time. You can see the purchase of a house as a share without any risks.

    55. Always use the lid when you cook! A fitting lid aswell, this saves 60% of energy. Using the wok or steaming is even more lucrative.

    56. Only use herbes that you've grown yourself on the windowsill. You gain up to 2 euro's per meal!

    57. When you feel like organizing a party but haven't got any budget just let everyone bring something to eat or drink and there you go!

    58. Water in bottles is on average 1000 times more expensive than tab water. Tab water is usually of a good quality so you could drink that instead of water out of a bottle

    59. Kids... Let's face it, they do cost a lot. A studying kid from baby till graduating costs at least 135.000 euro. A baby on average uses on average 1.500 euro on diapers. Also, getting babysitters for your kids when you're working costs a lot, and so on....
    Only "purchasing" a kid doesn't cost a lot

    60. Instead of a jacuzzi which a lot of people can't afford you could get an air pump in an aquariumshop. A good pump is available for 15 euro and it makes a selfmade jacuzzi. The cheapest way to get a jacuzzi is of course by use of a can of beans

    61. In some cases you can hire a person to help you with the household for a reasonable price, because the government in some cases covers most of the costs for you.

    62. As little as 4/10 families have ever changed the bank they're with. Often you can save a lot of money by switching to another bank however, just look at the offers they have all got and look out for the one best suited for your needs.

    63. Buy your food in Germany! (maybe a bit dull for the American people, but for people living close to Germany it makes sense ) In Germany all the food products are a LOT cheaper! Same goes for the Netherlands, they are a bit more expensive than Germany I think, but they are cheaper than France and Belgium.

    64. Are there clothes in your closet that you don't wear anymore? Try to sell them to a second hand shop and whilst you're there you could look for anything to purchase, instead of buying it in a normal store. Second hand stuff are often just as good as the new thing.

    65. Have you got a headache in the mean while, reading all these tips? Before you take an aspirine, bear in mind that there are a lot of generic drugs on the market, which contain the same ingredients as the brand so they do their thing just as good!

    66. A few tips to save on your holiday budget. Try to book as soon as possible to get the lowest prices, the discounts can go up to 20% when you book early! Check the lastminutes and regularly check the offers on the websites of flight companies. You can make some good deals that way.

    67. ( I promised I would translate the whole article, so I'm going to have to translate this one too, but it's a "bit" inappropriate for American people, but no offence! I'm just translating...) The dollar is historically low so all the holidays you can pay in dollars instead of euros (US, Caraibs, Maledives, Galapagos) are the ones to go to now! American products are value for your money and are very cheap to buy now.

    68. Make sure that your heating is well taken care of. When it's clean and maintained the benefit can go up to 5% more.

    69. Take home made meals and snacks to your work. Seeing as though the package of a product in general makes up 20% of the price of the product, it's a lot cheaper to bring your own food in rubbermaid boxes or anything like that. Vending machines are in general a lot more expensive so really consider taking your own food to work!

    70. In Belgium it rains a lot. I guess everyone knows that, but it can be an advantage too if it rains a lot in the area you live in. Buy a big barrel to collect the water in, or make a well and use that water to clean, flush the toilet, water the plants in the garden, ...

    71. Living together is more advantageous than living apart. Tax-wise but also food wise.

    72. Fuel is expensive but compare prices between the different fuel stations, some are really cheap!

    73. Don't buy another cleaning liquid for every job. Use soda or the general products, they will do.

    74. Regularly do some exercise! With a bit of luck you'll save money for the doctor and when you're exercising outside you're not consuming any energy in front of the telly with the heating on. Jogging is the cheapest sport there is.

    75. Take every free soap, shampoo bottle and toilet roll with you when you leave a hotel Same goes for all the seperate sugar cubes, cookies and milk cubes you get in a pub.

    76. Saw something pretty in a display window? Delay your purchase with at least a weak. Most likely you'll realize by that time that you don't really need those shoes/trousers/blouse.

    77. Drink at home instead of at a pub! You reduce the price easily by 50% that way! And you don't risk alcohol controls that way, saving you more money.

    78. With a membership card of family unions you can sometimes do some deals in supermarkets or amusement park, check out whether there are family unions in your neighbourhood.

    79. Razor blades are pretty expensive. You can lengthen their life by NOT keeping them in the box they come in. The water goes to the cutting edge of the knife which makes it rusty. Just dry the blade after use and put it upside down on a warm place.

    80. Don't water the plants in your garden every day during the summer. Giving them a lot of water once a week is better. They will develope long roots which will help them to find water in dry times.

    81. Do a house-trade during the holidays. You will only have to pay your travelling costs and food.

    82. Hire a dvd instead of buying it.

    83. A dryer uses a lot of energy: up to 3x more than the washing machine! So you better dry the laundry outside or dry it halfly in the dryer (to make the fabric all nice and soft) and do the rest of the drying outside.

    84. If you're a woman and have just given birth: brest feed your kids. It's better for your baby and powder milk is really expensive.

    85. Stop showering a bit earlier. When every member of a family of four ends showering two minutes earlier, you can save 25 to 50 euro.

    86. If the water in your house is heated by gas, doing the dishes by hand is cheaper. If your water is heated with electricity, doing the dishes with a dishwashing machine is cheaper.

    87. Stay loyal, don't get mistresses. They cost a lot, not to mention the costs of a divorce!

    88. The bigger the refridgerator, the more energy is needed to keep everything cool. For one person, 100 liter is enough. Add 50 liter for every added family member. Defrost everything in the fridge: the cold emitted by the frozen product helps keeping the fridge cold.

    89. Putting the thermostat one degree lower saves you on average 70 euro a year.

    90. Do you have a mailbox in your front door? Taking the newspapers quickly out of the mailbox saves you 12 euro oil costs.

    91. Be aware of what you spend. Keep track of all the expenses, only then you can built in a reserve, change your way of spending money.

    92. Don't pay your bills too late (cause then extra costs are added) but don't pay them too early either. Leave the money as long as possible on your own account, this way you get a few days extra interest.

    Done! Those were the 92 tips of Humo!

    There you go, I'm done now
    Last edited by Ulrike; 04-23-2009 at 03:27 AM.

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  3. #2
    Budget101 Done Digging Niddi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Columbia SC

    Default Re: 92 tips to live cheaper (source Humo: Belgian magazine)

    Thanks for sharing. #60 made me laugh!!!

  4. #3
    still digging' my way out
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Leuven, Belgium

    Default Re: 92 tips to live cheaper (source Humo: Belgian magazine)

    And it would work I think! My boyfriend has got a pump like that and it blows harder than a jacuzzi I tell you! We've never tried it in a bath (he's got it in his pond), but I can imagine it giving loooots of bubbles! For a nice price

  5. #4
    Deal GURU Jane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: 92 tips to live cheaper (source Humo: Belgian magazine)

    I liked all of these tips, with the exception of this one:
    14. Want to send letters without paying? Write your own address on the front of the letter and on the back the address of the one you want to send the letter to. Cross your own address and write: "RETURN TO SENDER, ADDRESS UNKNOWN". Put your letter in the mailbox and there you go
    That my friends, is a FEDERAL OFFENSE punishable by fines AND Jail time as it is FRAUD of the US Postal Service. and if you think they won't nail you for it, you're wrong! I was a Postmaster and this will definitely get you nailed. Buy a stamp.
    I'm a Freak!

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