Save the planet and your cash

Energy Saving HouseThere is lots of talk at the moment about our carbon footpring and being green however Saving Enenrgy can also save you money. Follow our top tips for painless ways to save energy.

  1. Turn your heating down by 1 degree. 
  2. Is your water too hot? Your cylinder thermostat should be set at 60°C/140°F.
  3. Wash your clothes at 30 degrees or lower.  Now if you have very mucky kids I would suggest buying some pre-wash stain remover or you will just end upwashing things twice!
  4. If possible, fill up the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher: one full load uses less energy than two half loads.
  5. Shower rather than take a bath.
  6. Hang clothes out to dry instead of using the tumble dryer.
  7. Check your tyre pressure so that less fuel is used.
  8. Clear all your clutter out of the car and the boot so you burn less fuel.
  9. Turn off appliances and lights when not in use.
  10. Use an energy comparison site like Uswitch to ensure you are not paying too much for your energy.

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EST_logoFind out what grants may be available to make your home more energy saving.   There are grants available for loft and cavity wall insulation for many homes.   Check the Energy Saving Trust to see if you can save.

Cheap children’s activites for a rainy day

rainy-dayWith the weather changing I thought I would write a quick post with some of my favourite rainy day activities that don’t need to cost the earth.  I have linked to some websites for you so you can get lots more ideas but the 3 below are my favourites.

Homemade play dough

This is really easy to make and the making is part of the fun.  Try and split the dough into a few pieces if you have more than one child and they can each make their own colours.  It keeps well in a sealed container in the fridge, you may need to knead it and add a little more flour when you take it out.

Your will need:

  • 3/4 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 3/4 to I cup of boiling water from the kettle.

Mix the dry ingredients together and add the water.  Start with 3/4 of a cup of water and add more as required.  Add a few drops of your favourite colour to the water or you can knead it in later if you want a few different colours.

paper snowflakePaper cutting

There are lots of sites with templates for you to use.  I would suggest starting with little people or snowflakes and see how it goes!  Paper aeroplanes are also ever popular. – Lots of instructions and videos for the little ones to watch. 


fimbles sportsSports Day

This is my daughters favourite rainy day activity.  We set up an obstacle course in the house, they make a slide off the spare bed and generally get rid of excess energy. 

Before you start you can do some arts and crafts and can print out a great set of badges and medals from cbeebies and their fimbles site here.  You can colour them in and decorate the winners trophy.

Some of our favourite games are:

  • An obstacle course with a blanket to crawl under, chairs to climb over and stairs to bump down on bottoms.  You can tailor this to the age of your children and their abilities.
  • Skittles with empty plastic bottles and beanbags.
  • Beanbag throwing into baskets and pots.
  • Musical pots and pans (if you can stand the noise!)

2p Increase in Fuel Duty Spetember 2009

2p increase in Fuel Duty per Litre
2p increase in Fuel Duty per Litre

Just a quick reminder that the fuel duty goes up by 2p a litre from tomorrow the 1st of September. Remember to fill up your tanks today and save a few ££s.

Motorists will be affected with the rise in fuel duty from tomorrow despite petrol prices of 105p a litre. This measure was delayed from last year because of high oil prices. It will generate £1.3 million a day in additional revenue for the Treasury, according to the AA, and means that the taxman takes 65 per cent of the price of a litre of petrol.

There is an indepth article here from the times online about the implications for the economy and business.

How to sell on Ebay

ebay logoEbay has been around for a long time now but many people have never sold anything on the site.  There are a lot more rules and regulations on the site than there used to be but it can still be a great way to clear out your unwanted clutter and raise some money.

Over the years we have sold all sorts of things from baby clothes and toys, books and dvds.  My most unexpectedly profitable item was an old knitting pattern from my gran that sold for £30.00.  I also use ebay to buy bits and pieces that can be hard to find, there always seems to be someone selling it on ebay!  If you want to have a look at what we are selling today her is our ebay page.   We are registered as a business and buy things to sell so you never know what you may find.  We mainly use Ebay now as a clearance outlet for our discount maternity wear store so you may find a bargain!

Before you start I would recommend having a good look around the site and read the rules and regulations

Where can I get photos?

You will need to take some clear photos of the items you want to sell, the better the image the more likely some one is to buy it.  You should take pictures of any damage or scratches on the item so buyers know exactly what they are buying.  Before listing try searching on the site for similar items to see what prices they are selling for, how they are described and if it is actually worthwhile listing.  Don’t be tempted to borrow others photos or descriptions as this will get your listings pulled.

mini gymHow much does it cost to sell?

Ebay makes its money from charging you a fee when you sell.  If you list an item starting at 99p on an auction there are no upfront fees so there is nothing to lose – only your time!  If your item is valuable you may want to start the auction higher and you will then pay fees to list.  You will be charged a Final Value Fee depending upon the selling value.  You will also be charged a fee by paypal for receiving the payment.  This is a link to the Ebay Fees.

What should I sell?

Popular items include baby goods, clothes, computer games and DVDs all of which we tend to have lying around.   Be careful with larger items as you will need to have packaging for sending so start small.

What about Postage Costs? 

Make sure you weigh your item as well and get a print out of the Royal Mail postage guide  from here so you charge enough for postage.  Make sure you package any breakable items well.  If it is a larger item you may find a good price for parcel delivery here at Parcel 2 Go.  If it is very heavy or delicate you may be better stating collection only however this will reduce the number of people who can buy.

Can I make real money on ebay?

If you get the ebay bug you may decide that you want to try and make some real money on ebay.  Well this can be done but it is not as easy as it looks.  Firstly you must register as a business with ebay and the tax man if you buy any items to sell.  You need to find a niche market, preferably something you are interested in as you will be dealing with lots of questions and need to make sure you buy the right things.  You need to check out the competition and see what price they are selling for.  The most important question is – Is there any money to be made?  You must cover your costs, ebay fees, paypal fees etc.   If you decide to give it a try good luck but don’t give up the day job straight away!!