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Thrifty

Increasing your discretionary income #thrifty #frugal

Discretionary income is that money you have left after paying for all the essentials like housing, food, heating, essential transport, clothing and communications. These days what is essential is quite different from years ago. We consider communications as essential because it allows us to access services in an emergency such as a medical emergency or when our car breaks down.

discretionary income

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DIY and save money #thrifty #frugal

DIY can save you pounds.  Whether it is car maintenance, home decorating, gardening or cooking. DIY (Do It Yourself) is the way to go. You might not be able to do all the maintenance on your car but just checking basic things before it goes in for a service like fluid levels and maybe checking the tyres and wiper blades can save a little.

DIY can save you money

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The age of falling incomes #thrifty

There was more evidence this week that people are less well off. In the public sector, there is a pay freeze and while the incomes of the highest paid seem to continue to grow. So for many people being thrifty and frugal is not a choice it is a necessity. We are in an age of falling incomes because when inflation is taking into account many incomes are falling leaving families struggling.

falling incomes

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Habitual savings #thrifty #frugal #habits

If you make being thrifty and frugal habitual, you can save money without too much effort. Don’t treat yourself because you’ve just been paid. Make some things a challenge. Can you cook a delicious but frugal meal on pay day instead of splashing out? Some people ‘treat’ themselves to a takeaway on Fridays. I tend to cook egg, chips and peas. Besides being an old favourite, it is also a cheap meal! Acquire some habitual savings to save money without even noticing it.

habitual savings

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Splash the cash? #Thrifty #Frugal

Splash the cash? Yes, even though I watch the pennies and watch the pounds I do sometimes splash the cash on something expensive. This involves parting with large amounts of money without an anaesthetic. Believe me, I have needed a bit of pain relief just lately. I changed my car and that was more expensive than I had expected and this week I had the awful experience of changing my insurance. I was insured with the AA who were very nice about losing my custom. I switched to Saga via a price comparison site. I decided to have the breakdown cover but would have preferred to stay with the AA. I had the home-start before but now I have a car a couple of years old instead of 20 years old. I didn’t bother with that. When I rang the AA they said they would have cut the price for me and done a cheaper deal. It was too bloody late by then!

splash the cash?

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Bulk buying and other strategies

Some warehouses allow the public in and bulk buying can save you money. Asian supermarkets will often give you a discount on bulk buying as well. You can also do a bit of bulk buying when there is a promotion such as buying half a dozen T shirts for the summer when there is a promotion. The 2 for £6 and 3 for £10 offers in Asda can save you money and although it isn’t exactly bulk buying it is the same principle.

thrifty bulk buying

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Have a nice day #thrifty #frugal

Just driving to the supermarket these days is stressful and so isn’t it a relief when to find the checkout person is pleasant and helpful? Well run companies know this and train their staff to de-stress us at the checkout knowing we will do almost anything to avoid stress. Stress costs us money because as we walk around the supermarket we are tempted by sugary foods like chocolate and by alcohol. It is worse for smokers who will gasp their way to the cigarette kiosk and then hurry outside to light up.

Have a nice day

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Bargain hunting odd items #thrifty

Sometimes we bargain hunt for the unusual item. We are going to a fancy dress party and need some vintage clothing. Where do you start looking for those odd items? One great place is your local charity shop and you can also look at Oxfam’s online shop for great bargains on good quality clothing and other pre-loved goodies.

 Looking for those odd items

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The changing face of money #thrifty

I went to a meeting last night and it happened to be in a club with a bar so I had a pint. That’s three times this week that I’ve actually parted with cash. The days of money being slips of paper and metal coins seem to be coming slowly to an end. Earlier in the week, I did my food shopping and paid with my debit card and I used cash to pay the window cleaner yesterday. With a purchase that I made in a small shop earlier in the week, that is only four times I’ve used money this week. It makes it so much easier to keep track of where the money goes. The changing face of money, moving from cash to cards, helps us to keep track of where our money goes.

the changing face of money

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Having the right tools for the job #thrifty

If you have the right tools for the job it can make work much easier. That can mean buying tools for doing the garden, DIY or even cooking. I prefer to buy quality when it comes to buying tools but we can still look for value for money. My motor mower from Screwfix was expensive but it is self-propelled and I just follow it around the lawn. I am still worn out when I finish the lawn but it is a lot easier than a hover-mower. It was value for money for me.

right tools

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Looking at products, good and bad #thrifty #frugal

There are a lot of products at Aldi that I would recommend and some I wouldn’t. The cycling special buys this week includes the clothing and importantly the cycle lighting but the one product I don’t like is the 2 in 1 bike trailer and stroller.  Please don’t put your child in one of those especially not around where I live in the Black Country. It would be far too dangerous. That might be a good product for use on the streets of Amsterdam but not Wolverhampton!

looking for products with value

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Coping with rising prices #thrifty #frugal

The falling value of the pound has meant many prices have increased since the Brexit vote. The price of imported food has gone up and so too has the price of clothing. Coping with rising prices if you’re on a fixed or low-income can be difficult.

coping with rising prices
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Looking for value for money #thrifty #ideas

I recently changed my car and the new one has lots of new gadgets. I like the display that tells me how many miles to the gallon I’m getting. It reads 99 MPG when I’m rolling downhill in 5th gear! I paid cash for the car and so my bank balance isn’t quite as healthy as it was, so I’m thinking even more about getting value for money, than usual.

value for money

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A better standard of living #thrifty

The latest inflation figures suggest that CPI is now close to 3% and food prices are rising even faster than that. In certain parts of the country the housing shortage is past critical and so house prices are now beyond the reach of ordinary people. Food and housing are essentials, as is keeping warm in winter. Taxes aren’t essential but we have to pay them anyway. The money left over after paying for all these essential costs is our discretionary income. That is the money we have left to enjoy ourselves and have days out and holidays. The more thrifty and frugal we are the higher our discretionary income becomes. In fact, if we are thrifty and frugal as well as saving and investing our money; that discretionary income can be as much as double what it might otherwise have been. That means we can essentially have double the standard of living and double the luxuries in life. We can have a better standard of living despite inflation.

A better standard of living

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On this election day #thrifty #GE

Yes, it is election day when we get to participate in an election that will determine the next government and the future economic policy of Britain. One principle of economics is supply and demand. If there is a glut of something, as there is with oil at the moment, then prices tend to fall. Conversely, if there is a shortage of something prices tend to rise. However, that is only the supply side.  Demand can be increased by publicising and advertising. An increase in the money supply also increases demand and so tends to increase prices. Do we really need to understand any of the economics that affect our personal finances? On this election day, it is worth thinking about.

thrifty thinking on election day

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Socialising and entertainment #thrifty

The best way to save money on socialising and entertainment is to stay in and watch TV but that can get a little boring. It gets boring because it is repetitious and you can change that by trying to break the routine. If you’re in the habit of watching the same soaps week after week, then see if there is something better to watch. We do have a lot of channels these days and if you have a smart TV you also have internet channels. We put a lot of value on entertainment and so it is something we can consider carefully and try to get value for money when we look at socialising and entertainment.

socialising and entertainment - thrifty

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The creative ways to save money #thrifty

There are lots of creative ways to save money and I look upon it as a bit of a challenge. It gets intuitive after a while. I changed my car last week and when I was asked how I wanted to pay for the car tax. I didn’t think about it. I taxed it for a year because that is the most cost-effective way despite having just parted with a lot of money for the car. You can be creative and find new ways of saving money by being creative with food, for example. I like photographing all sorts of things and in summer we need refreshing things to eat so I’ve been experimenting with tinned fruit, jelly and soya milk to make a dessert that looks good enough to photograph and tastes delicious. I’ll put those photos on a future post!

creative ways of saving money

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Learning from the vegetarian #thrifty #ideas

It is National Vegetarian week in the UK. I’m not a vegetarian, I like eating meat but we can learn from the vegetarian lifestyle that we don’t need to eat so much meat and still stay healthy. Some would say healthier! My main problem with being a vegetarian is getting enough protein because I can’t have gluten or dairy.

vegetarian ideas

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Cooking up some savings #thrifty

I rarely eat when I’m out because it is simply too much trouble. I have to stick to a gluten-free diet and so I can’t eat battered fish and buying chips mean asking for them to be plain and then waiting for them to be cooked. So when I’m cooking I  try to make the meals look good as well as taste good and of course, I try to save money.

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Saving on the big bills #thrifty

The maxim, ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves’ is still true but we also need to look at the big picture. We need to keep household accounts and look at the big bills that occur only occasionally. The big bills can be the water bill once a year or changing the car every few years.

big bills

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Loss leaders and introductory offers #thrifty

We have to be quite shrewd these days if we are going to save money. Supermarkets and other retailers have all sorts of tricks to relieve us of our money. The loss leader is a product that they will advertise at a much lower price then their competitors and then make their profit on the lines that aren’t advertised. These offers have to appeal to a large number of people so they can’t be on lines that we only buy infrequently. They have to be on products that most people buy regularly. So sugar is a good product for a loss leader and staples like potatoes and bread can also be put on offer. Some offers will be on products that they have a good profit margin on that they can afford to cut and still make a profit, as well. Loss leaders can be a good bargain but there is always a catch.

loss leaders

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Finding the spring bargains #thrifty

There has been a big shift in recent years to online shopping and that has changed our high streets. We still have to shop locally for fresh foods like fruit and vegetables. You can shop around and the small shops have lots of bargains but struggle to compete with supermarkets that bulk buy. The bigger shop can also do loss leader which can save us money on our shopping bill. Watch out for spring bargains on fruit and vegetables that are just coming into the season. In Aldi this week the super-six were just 19p. I had the leeks and cauliflower. The super-six has changed again today and has fruit and veg on offer at 45p. I might have the onions when I shop at the beginning of next week, warming soups are still worth cooking in spring.

spring bargains

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Smart shopping in the modern world

It has been scientifically demonstrated that more intelligent people can imagine the future better than less smart people. They are less likely to need instant gratification and so aren’t tempted so much to use credit or finance. Smart people tend to be more patient. Patience can save you money and it can even make you feel better and stay a little healthier.

smart shopping

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What drives us to spend so much money? #thrifty

I am an admin of our history page on Facebook and so I know we can learn from the past. Gas and electricity have given us all our modern gadgets, but before the development of gas, people had to cook on open fires. That was something of a chore and even today cooking on a modern gas cooker seems like a chore to many people. So we have seen a proliferation of takeaways and fast food joints spreading across the UK this century. We don’t just have fish and chips on Fridays, fast food and eating out has become the norm for many people. Delicious foods zap our reward centres and it is our reward centres that drive us to do most things. We are addicted to pleasure! The smooth delicious taste of chocolate drives us to eat more than one bite and we end up eating the whole bar.

Thirst drives us to spend money

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