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.
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.
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.
People want more than just food to satisfy hunger these days. they want an experience and that is one of the reasons that eating out has grown massively over the years. Barbecues have become popular for entertaining at home and turning it into an event. You can do other events at home that are cheaper than eating out, all you need to do is think laterally for interesting food ideas.
Researchers at Leeds University performed group experiments where volunteers were told to randomly walk around a large hall without talking to each other. A select few were then given more detailed instructions on where to walk. The scientists discovered that people end up blindly following one or two instructed people who appear to know where they’re going. The results of this experiments showed that it only takes 5% of confident looking and instructed people to influence the direction of the 95% of people in the crowd and the 200 volunteers did this without even realising it. (Wikipedia) This was the herd mentality in action.
As usual, I have had another week of trying to save money with thrifty and frugal ideas. I’m actually looking for another car. I have looked after mine but it is 20 years old this year and even I can’t make them last forever. It has a very slight oil leak but the main reason it has to go is it has started to corrode. It has virtually new brake pads and tyres and so I’ll hate to part with it. What a waste!
We often see very expensive products and want them for the prestige or just to fit in. It can be anything, an expensive car to impress at an event or designer clothes. It is always possible to cheat and create an impression that looks expensive but isn’t. We need to forget labels, a label doesn’t guarantee style. People who select clothing based on the label do so because they have no sense of style. It can be useful to just look around a website that sells the latest fashions and then decide on the look you want to create and then you can cheat. The way to cheat is to go to the budget websites like Matalan or Primark and look for the same style or a very similar style and create the look you want on a budget. I did this for a vintage event. I thought a linen suit would look good with a suitable hat. I ended up with chinos and a linen shirt from Matalan and a summer trilby. I got the look but I did cheat!
Eating out and buying takeaways can work out expensive with 20% VAT on top of the bill and the same applies to entertainment. I follow a gluten-free diet and so rarely eat anything out and even buying chips is complicated because they have to be cooked separately. When I do spend money, I always look for value. I went to a community night this week and had an evening of entertainment for the price of a 50p cup of tea! Look for value when you want food and entertainment.
We can save a little money here and there all year around. I recently bought a new phone after dropping mine trying to donate to the local food bank. I found the phone I wanted at Giff Giff for £120 less than I would have paid at Amazon or local retailers. £120 saving is a lot! I put that on my credit card and also on this month’s bill was the renewal on the web space for this site! I negotiated a discount of over £100 on that too. I still have a huge credit card bill to pay this month, but I saved £220 on my frugal February credit card bill!
With the falling value of the pound, the prices of many foods are rising. Is it time to look at our food bill and try to trim them a little? There are more prices rises in the pipeline and so even if we aren’t feeling the pinch now, we soon will be. As always, we should be looking for value for money.
I do a lot of online bargain hunting and shopping online is very popular. Even Poundland has a website that takes orders online. They have a 50p event on at the moment and in the stores, they are selling of Christmas goodies for just 25p!
A lot of people have spent too much at Christmas and now find themselves short of money in January. What can you do now? Obviously, you can cut down on luxuries or even cut them out altogether. The idea of giving up alcohol for January is appealing to many people for health reasons and to save money. If money is really tight, you need to be frugal as well as being a thrifty shopper.
There is still some end of the year offers around and you can check them out online before you go to the store or shop online and have them delivered. The super-six at Aldi were still 19p yesterday so I had some parsnips to make a winter stew. Aldi also has lots of nice sausages and packs of four baking potatoes. Sausages and baked potatoes are a favourite meal for me and fortunately, Aldi does gluten-free sausages. You do have to look very carefully for the gluten-free symbol and the same applies to products in the bigger supermarkets.
We know a few people will be looking around for last minute presents before the big day. A little luxury can be a good idea, so buy them something they would like but wouldn’t normally buy. I bought luxury chocolates in Aldi yesterday. I won’t say who they were for! They make a good last minute present and you don’t have to buy a huge box. The same applies to a quality scotch whisky or an unusual but quality ale.
Before you start spending money on Christmas food and presents, consider what the festivities are all about. The religious significance is all but lost as commercialisation overshadows it. There is another meaning for many people. It is a time to take a break and enjoy the company of family and friends. We shouldn’t get stressed out by it and we certainly shouldn’t get into debt in a bid to impress our family and friends. Save money on the food by cutting quantities.This can be difficult because over the festive period much of the subtle and not so subtle marketing will be structured to encourage you to buy more than you need.
It’s that time of year again when we try to keep Christmas within some kind of budget so we can afford our bills after Christmas. We buy presents that only last 5 minutes like horrible Christmas jumpers. We also buy food that gets thrown away. I’ll be looking for good value in the run up to Christmas and because I have been thrifty and frugal all year I can afford a few luxuries at Christmas!
We have seen a lot of rising prices recently mainly on food items because of the devaluation of the pound. Now OPEC has agreed to limit oil production and we could see rising prices associated with that. This price rise will be delayed, higher oil prices mean higher production costs in the future. The higher heating oil, diesel prices and petrol prices will come sooner, maybe before the end of the winter.
Black Friday in the UK lasts for a week or more and there are deals everywhere. US-based companies are used to this annual promotion and so they lead the way. The biggest is Amazon who has offers on a wide range of goods.
If you’re careful with money and are thrifty and try to shop around as well as being frugal, you can save quite a lot of money. The rewards over the long-term come as an appreciating bank account but you also have to look at how to invest your money. Since 2011 I’ve been getting good returns from Zopa and I still get over 4% which beats any bank account. My rewards for being careful are more evident now as I can afford to spend more money of a few luxuries but I still ask if I really need a product before I buy it. I bought a smart TV and other things this year and my credit card got a lot more use, but I paid it off at the end of each month.
It seems likely that in the new year prices of essentials like gas and electricity will increase as well as imported food. The US dollar is the international reserve currency and is used for international trade. The pound has been devalued against the dollar. Last November the pound bought $1.60, now it buys just $1.24. While food manufacturers try to absorb the extra cost, energy providers will eventually pass the cost on to us the consumers. Higher interest rates and a depreciating currency will drive inflation.
It can cost a fortune to be a dedicated follower of fashion. Many people want a look that is associated with something considered fashionable. However, we can often achieve the same look, essentially the same style, without breaking the bank. It is the overall look that is important not the detail. I take photos and those expensive designer labels can’t be read or identified in the photos, it is the overall look that is seen. Your taste in clothes says something about you. So think about the style and also about colours. Depressed people and negative people tend to wear black and dark colours more than the light and bright colours.
Many international companies now advertise on Ebay and sell through Amazon. You can save a lot of money by importing direct from places like Hong Kong and China. Some of the firms even have a UK warehouse for returns and a UK telephone number for enquiries. The pound has fallen since the Brexit vote so you don’t save so much now but I bought a new hat for a few quid via Amazon and it is great quality. It was sent directly from Shanghai!
It can be easy to spend money without much thought, especially if you’re using a debit or credit card, but spending money has an impact on our future and on the environment. It is a good idea to stop and think about the real cost of the goods we buy and look for value for money. Not just for ourselves, but for future generations that will have to live with climate change caused by our excessive consumption.