It’s that time of year again: the annual Budget report. Cash Genie is well aware that this year hasn’t been a good one for many of us, as it’s been full of bad news for just about everyone. Spending cuts, tax hikes, and then, to top it off, a fragile economy and more trouble from overseas. Whatever the changes are, it’s fair to assume that lots of us are going to be worse off afterwards.
It was looking hopeful earlier this year, as the economy was set to be clawing its way back out of the dip. That was before the snow took its toll on growth figures, and raised questions about what the immediate future held. The most recent cause for concern has been the cost of fuel, which will impact every person in the country; even the ones that don’t use a car will still rely on businesses and freight that is driven across the country. Aside from all the tax rises – fuel duty and VAT, with more expected soon – there has also been the concern about the price of oil. Pushed up by conflict in North Africa and the Middle East, oil is finding highs not seen for over two years, and – if Saudi suffers from the same kind of problems – could sky-rocket far higher than we’ve ever seen before.

What can families do to bring their outgoings down? Well, for starters, make sure your car is in top condition, with tyres pumped up and engine serviced. Drive conservatively – avoid sharp accelerating, high speeds and hard braking unless strictly necessary – and don’t switch lanes on the motorway more than you need to. Plus, make sure any unnecessary weight is cleared out (how many of us have rubbish cluttering the boots of our cars?). Good driving habits and well-maintained cars can significantly reduce fuel consumption, and at somewhere between £50 and £80 a tank, that can all add up nicely.

Aside from that, Cash Genie recommends you start considering lift-sharing – there are loads of sites out there dedicated to finding you a journey-mate if you don’t already have one in mind – and, of course, avoid journeys that you don’t need to take in the first place (plenty of health, economic and environmental benefits there). You might even like to think about working from home if you’re a big commuter – even one day a week can make a substantial difference (the average daily commute being an hour), as well as giving you more time to spend with friends and family – it’s win/win.

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