Every other week Roy drags our big black bin and our recycling out the back of the workshop, down the lane and all the way down to the main road so that it may be picked up by the council. He might put it out around 9pm the night before or 6am in the morning before he goes to work. The bins don’t get collected until perhaps 10am or even 11am on our specified day and so our rubbish could be sat exposed for twelve hours or more.
When I consider how much paper I receive as a business owner, never mind the household bills and mailings that seem to pour through the door, leaving our rubbish out (which could be littered with personal info) makes me feel somewhat uneasy. Or it did…
Fellowes are strongly supporting National Fraud Prevention Month and have asked me to spread the word, sending me what may only be described as a rather gorgeous (and seriously effective) shredder to help me sort my own piles of paper securely. As part of the scheme Fellowes are challenging parentts to give their family home a “Shred Over”, ensuring that the family’s identity information remains secure, even on recycling day.
During half term Fellowes invite you to take part in the fun #shredoverchallenge – shredding your unnecessary paper properly and perhaps even having a bit of fun in the meantime (shredded paper makes great stuffing for homemade toys, for filling a sensory hide and seek box and in my home, snow which may be sprinkled from one side of the house to another).
We emptied the office of unnecessary paperwork, got rid of junk mail and sorted the “home” files and was rather amazed to find that even shredded into tiny pieces we managed to fill two whole big black bin bags to the top. Had even half of this hit the bin without being properly shredded (as opposed to torn up and scribbled on) identity thieves would have had a field day in our names.
Fellowes have provided these handy hints and tips, as well as identity fraud information to get people started and educate us all a little more about staying safe. ID fraud really is something that needs to be considered these days, with households having so many accounts, banks, clubs and so many documents relating to them sent through the post or being printed off.
Don’t forget to tweet Fellowes at @FellowesUK and show off your shredded paper crafts or your bags of shame (our two bags have been collected by the recycling now so I don’t have to think about how much paperwork I’d accumulated and previously not discarded effectively).
Budgeting, cutting costs and making your money go further is something that the majority aspire to. The UK economy over the past decade has hit many hard with the gap between price rises and wage increases widening, the overall cost of living rocketing and firms downsizing or closing down meaning a loss of jobs.
While the economy does seem to be improving most are still working hard to ensure that they live well within their means in case of being bitten by financial uncertainty in the future. I myself have completely reorganised the way our family finances work as Roy has been made redundant twice in the past year. We are mindful of meal planning, have cut our food budget considerably, have a wealth of fun activities for the kids dreamed up which cost little or nothing and have worked to become a very green family (both cutting energy costs and helping with the environment).
The one set of expenditures which we have struggled with are our transport costs. Roy drives to another town now for work and so our petrol costs which were negligible before as he often walked to work have jumped up considerably. We’ve also had to take into account the fact that we have more wear and tear on the car to consider so the potential for higher maintenance and repair bills is ever present.
From a fuel point of view we’ve taken advantage of the Tesco Fuel Save scheme which sadly ends in February next year as well as taken steps to reduce our fuel consumption. As far as spares and repairs goes Roy likes to take on some of the work himself, saving himself hundreds of pounds of garage labour costs. Keeping an eye open for vouchers or discounts for places such as Euro Car Parts means that not only does he eliminate labour charges but that he also cuts the costs of parts and equipment.
As I don’t drive myself public transport is something I rely upon quite heavily during the week or through school holidays when Roy is at work and the kids and I fancy a day out. I’ve managed to make real savings using the Family and Friends Railcard, booking in advance and watching for special offers which do of course all add up. To further cut public transport costs I’m considering the idea of us becoming a biking family (don’t laugh!). Look at Wiggle discounts it seems that it might be possible to make real savings off accessories and more associated with biking so we’ll see. First I might need to borrow a bike and see if I can stay on it for more than thirty seconds!
We already walk where possible and fortunately at the moment don’t need to pay for parking at work (Roy) or nearby as everything is again within walking distance.
For all my frugal readers or those wanting to cut back on transport costs what have you got in place to help reduce transport costs? Do share your top tips!
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