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Spence MacDonald.

IT'S that tight month of January again. It's nice to be paid a little bit earlier but there are so many things to steal your hard-earned dosh between December and January paydays that it's like being mugged by proxy.

You get to the point when you hope your card won't get declined at the checkout like a tramp at the Savoy.

I actually get so close to bankruptcy at this time of year that I get cash from the machine before I go into the supermarket to make sure I have enough funds in there to avoid the embarrassment of the cashier telling me that my debit card is about as much use as a plaster on a severed head!

So naturally my mind turns to saving money at this time of year and I have a few tips that you can take on board if you want to tighten your belt at this most difficult of fiscal times.

The first is to quite literally tighten your belt as if your stomach feels squeezed there's less food required to fill it - so crank it up to the last notch and have an apple - you'll feel full and your food bill's down straight away! Get even smaller belts for your other immediate family.

Next up is to light some candles every mealtime at home.

Your partner will think you're being extra romantic when in truth you know that you're only doing it to save on electricity and get those blasted winter fuel bills down!

Next, cancel your gym membership. If you pay PS40 a month and you use the gym 10 times a week, great. If not, cancel it and run up and down stairs with tins of beans. Same result - lot cheaper.

My final tip is to trade down your car.

So, you bought a sports utility vehicle that nets 15mpg on a whim. Obviously we''re all very impressed - especially by the personalised number plate. But can you honestly justify the ongoing expense? If not, get rid of it.

I recently down-traded my 1.9 TDi VW Golf for a horse. The fuel's cheaper with diesel last priced at PS1.39 per litre.

A bale of hay is a LOT cheaper and a horse easily fits in the garage where my car was.

It can also be rented out to jockeys for weekend race meetings when I'm not in work.

So there you have it - I think you'll find that Martin Lewis is not THE money saving expert, I am!

? Spence MacDonald is one half of Heart Breakfast with Spence and Angela, from 6am-10am weekdays on 97.1FM across the Wirral, on 96.3FM across North Wales and on 103.4FM across Cheshire and North East Wales. Also online at heart.co.uk

The first tip is to quite literally tighten your belt as if your stomach feels squeezed there's less food required to fill it
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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Jan 16, 2013
Words:486
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