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Thrifty

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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Food ideas to save money #thrifty

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.

Thrifty food ideas

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The high price of the herd mentality

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.

The high price of the herd mentality

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Thrifty and frugal ideas #thrifty

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!

Thrifty and frugal ideas

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How to cheat and save money #thrifty

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!

thrifty cheat

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Food and entertainment #thrifty

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.

food and entertainment?

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Socialising and days out on a budget #thrifty

We all like to go out and socialise and meet our friends and new people too, but it can be expensive. We can cut the cost by trying to get value for money and resist the temptation to buy food when we smell the onions or see other people enjoying hot dogs at a popular event. Taking out the sandwiches that you prepared earlier doesn’t have much appeal in comparison to the delicious food offered by the vendors. We do have to live within a budget, though, so we can still do some socialising and limit the amount of food and drink we buy while we’re out.

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Frugal February savings #thrifty #frugal

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!

Frugal February

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Hacking your food bill to save money #thrifty

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.

hacking our food bill

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