‘Grow cucumbers and wear a balaclava in bed’: old-fashioned ways to cut your bills

A combination of tax rises, household bill increases and inflation is putting the biggest squeeze on finances in decades.

But this is not the first cost of living crisis our readers have faced. Many will remember the 1970s, when inflation hit 25.3pc, while some will remember the 1950s, when post-war Britain was still rationing food.

Telegraph Money has asked its readers to submit their old-fashioned money saving tips. We’ve collected some of our favourites below.

Grow your own vegetables

Now is the perfect time of year for the green-fingered among us to get planting. According to research by Garden Buildings Direct, committed gardeners could save as much as £300 a year by growing their own vegetables.

Reader Cliff Finch said: “Now is the time to plant. Look for spaces between shrubs and flowers to grow peas, broad beans, spinach, lettuces, spring onions and, later in the spring, runner beans.

“Tomato plants, cucumber plants and others can go directly into the ground or in pots. Potatoes can be grown in bin bags full of good soil. All this can be done with little effort, but with big savings on the food bill.”

Save water

Patricia Vernon insisted her water saving trick was deceptively frugal. Her method is simple: “I use water more than once,” she said. “For example, any extra water in the kettle goes into a small bowl by the sink and is used for washing berries for breakfast and again for a quick rinse of the plates before they go in the dishwasher.”

Diana Cawdery goes one step further: she fills her mugs with water before pouring into the kettle to ensure no more water than necessary is boiled.

Cut down on heating and using appliances

There are plenty of easy ways to keep bills down, said Catherine Frazer. Always turn the lights off when they are not in use and keep heating down to 20 degrees. Draw window coverings to keep the heat in, don’t use the washing machine for small loads and only tumble dry when absolutely necessary. Instead, use the line outside.

You can change what you wear, too, she advised. Wear a vest, a warm sweater and socks around the house. One reader took that to an extreme. Christopher Calver wears ex-army surplus thermal clothes around the house to save on heating. He said he avoided having to heat his bedroom by wearing a thermal balaclava to keep his head warm. “In the old days people used bed caps,” he added.

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