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MILKING IT - making money go further...

14th March 2013

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Personal finance expert Lucy Tobin knows how to make your money last longer with minimal effort. Follow her tips...

When eating out... ‘If there’s a pricey restaurant you’re particularly keen on visiting, it’s worth attempting some last-minute, light bartering. On quiet midweek evenings, for example, especially if the weather’s rubbish, it’s worth phoning to see if the manager will allow you to order off a lunchtime deal for dinner.’

When travelling… ‘Upgrades aren’t easy: a cheeky grin, smart suit and some light flirtation with the check-in lady is no longer enough. In fact, it’s quite likely to get you seated next to the loo instead. Instead try: Turning up early and asking politely. No luck? Ask again at the gate. The airline won’t know exactly what availability it has until everyone has checked in, so ask (politely) if there’s any chance of an upgrade here as well. Do dress up. It’s not going to help as much as it once did, but I can pretty much guarantee you won’t be upgraded in a Juicy tracksuit, a tank top and Ugg boots. And finally, follow your favourite airlines on social media. You’ll be the first to hear about great offers. And look out for sales on business-class flights, when they can be the same price as economy.’

When cleaning ‘Vinegar will clean all counter tops, clear drains and even the microwave - just put half a cup of vinegar and half a cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl and bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave.’

At home... ‘Make your home look expensive without great expense by buying lamp tables from a local junk shop and refreshing them with paint or varnish. New handles can also make all the difference. Also, use pictures of landscapes to draw you outside the perimeter of your room. Photographs and posters, prints, paintings all help. Try larger ones than you think you need, or groups to create views and trick the eye.’

With skincare... ‘For a deep, nourishing hand treatment with ingredients from your kitchen, exfoliate your hands with olive oil and salt then apply a thick layer of olive oil, put on rubber gloves and place in hot water – the heat of the water will help the oil penetrate and condition your hands.’

In the car Motoring experts say that driving at 55mph offers the best fuel economy. And they suggest that in summer, you embrace the idea of your car as your personal sauna, because air conditioning guzzles gas, and opening your windows when driving at high speeds means extra drag which brings down fuel efficiency. When you do need something to cool down, it's usually thought to be more fuel efficient to drive with windows open when travelling at lower speeds, but closing them and switching to air con when driving faster, because the greater resistance will make you put your foot down more to make up for it.’

Lucy Tobin’s book Ausperity: Live the Life You Want for Less is published by Quercus Books and is out now.

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