Just to make a change from the usual News24 political or sport harangues, here are some practical tips on savng money in these tight times.Read the ingredients on medicinesGet used to reading the ingredients on over-the-counter medicines. If for example you buy painkillers with codeine, paracetamol and caffeine/doxylamine succinate, you can pay around R40 per 100 or else double that for half the amount of well-known brands. Same goes for anti-inflammatory gels; there are unadvertised brands that cost half as much. Also ibuprophen. And liquid antacids - there are brands with the same ingredients costing almost half as much. Read those ingredients and check for yourself!Buy house brandsYou'll find your washing comes out just as clean with supermarket house brands as with all the 'clever, miracle' highly-advertised washing powders. (Also set your machine on 30 degrees and 'Timesaver' setting if you have one.) Try it for yourself - you'll save plenty. Also go for house brand bran flakes etc. Same stuff, far cheaper.Cook with a microwaveYou can cook a whole1.2 kg chicken in a casserole dish in 30 mins in a microwave (preferably 34 litre size). Remove the giblets, sprinkle with salt, pepper and chicken spice and it comes out great, at half to a third of the electricity usage of a conventional oven. Peas and other veges cook fast as well, with minimal electricity usage.Bargain with your Internet Service provider.I threatened to change my ISP and reduced my monthly cost from R211 to around R75 (dependent on usage). If you don't ask you don't get. If you're a Discovery member and don't make use of Vitality, can it. You can get a store Club Card cheaply and still enjoy your movies at half price.Check your bank costs, and bargain.Banks cost you plenty in 'hidden' costs. Detail them, go and talk, and change banks if you don't get satisfaction.Stay warm with an airconditionerYou can be cold if you like, but if you have an aircon in your house, you can heat a room at about one third of the electricity cost of an equivalent electric-element heater. Aircons use an energy-efficient heat-pump principle to heat, not an electric element. Also switch to a heat pump or solar to heat household water. This will repay itself in a couple of years; especially as Eskom is apparently going to be charging R2 per kW in a couple of year's time.Switch to LED lightsThese are currently expensive but you can get bulbs for under R100 (search on Google). I found a place in Honeydew that sells ones that use only 5 watts yet give the output of a 50W halogen. And they are reputed to last about 20 years, so you save in the long run.I have found all the above tips to work in practice. What are yours?