The University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica

Mona E-Connection

Keeping the Campus Connection Alive

Tips to Help you Cope in these Challenging Times

Hard economic times call for decisive action. Like many countries around the globe Jamaica is showing signs of a recession and everyone is feeling the pinch. To weather the economic storm and stay afloat it may be necessary to make lifestyle adjustments.

Here are a few survival tips which will help you get through these tough times:

  1. Did you know that gas expands when it gets hot? The best time to buy gasoline is in the morning when it is at its coolest and densest. This way, you will get more value for each dollar spent.
  2. Invest in energy-saving bulbs. They may be more expensive but you will save money in the long term.
  3. Take control of your finances by making a budget. This will teach you discipline and ensure that you have more money to spend on necessities.
  4. Prepare a list of priority buys when you go grocery shopping to avoid unnecessary expenditure.
  5. Take heed of the saying “money saved is money earned” and start saving today. Open a fixed deposit account which can constitute your emergency fund.
  6. Separate your “wants” from your “needs” and buy only what you need to get by.
  7. Review your cable, telephone and internet plans. Do you really need the premium package or will the basic one satisfy your need?
  8. Avoid using credit cards and use your debit card wisely as ATM charges add up.
  9. Make use of coupons. You can do yourself a giant favour by using coupons to buy goods and services.
  10. Pack lunch and take to school or work. You will save a bundle by avoiding expensive eateries.
  11. Think about an inexpensive and efficient way to exercise and keep fit. One way to do this is by cancelling that expensive gym membership that you hardly ever use and start walking.
  12. If you have children, try finding low cost and or free activities for them to participate in.
  13. Consider fewer social outings. Plan a link-up at a friend’s house instead of dining out. Reserve dinners and drinks for special occasions.
  14. Fast food might be relatively fast, but they aren’t cheap. Enjoy more home-cooked meals and count the dollars you save.
  15. Consider finding a part-time job that doesn’t conflict with your regular work schedule.
  16. Carpooling is a great idea. Coordinate transportation with your neighbours, friends and family members.
  17. Plan your travels to incorporate as many activities as possible on a given route. This will reduce the amount of gas you use daily.
  18. Turn off freezer or refrigerator every other night, especially if they are not opened often.
  19. When leaving home, turn off or unplug appliances that consume energy when not in use. For example, your microwave and cable box. This will certainly cut your energy costs.
  20. Shop in bulk. It might be wise to form a club with co-workers or family members and buy in large quantities to reduce unit cost.
  21. Keep water heater on for only 30 minutes and save a bundle on your utility bill.
  22. Iron clothes in bulk weekly or bi-weekly whichever is more practical for you. Repeated plugging and unplugging of your iron significantly increases energy consumption.

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