Thrifty | After the budget
We had the budget speech yesterday in the UK. There wasn’t much to get excited about; I was more interested in what he left out, than what he actually said. We still have to be thrifty and watch out for the bargains. I read that some people buy the essentials like food and invest any money left over and some people invest their money and if there is any left over; buy food! That’s a bit extreme, but I am still watching out for more shares to buy.
Cold food is cheaper than hot food
Some people think that they should always have enough money for everything and if they get hungry while they’re out, they just buy something to eat. I tend to eat before I go out and then I don’t get hungry. Incidentally, cold food is cheaper to buy, because it has no VAT on it but there is 20% VAT on hot food. So a cooked chicken from the supermarket can be 20% more expensive if it’s still hot!
Beer or ice cream?
You need to watch drinks when you’re out too. I was in London as a student once and it was cheaper to buy beer in the supermarket than to buy an ice cream on the street! If we go out taking photographs, I often take sweets because they help with thirst and hunger! I usually have drinks in the car though and in the supermarket I often get soft drinks on special offer.
The special offers on Sunday in Lidl included chicken legs for 1.99 a kilo. I might cook another chicken stew later because I also got a stew pack. I used half the diced pork that I bought for 1.34 (400g) for a stir fry. That was very frugal and I also used half a packet of microwavable rice, some soya sauce and 5 spice. It’s quick and easy to fry that with some red onion and garden peas; it was yummy too! They didn’t have the small frozen prawns and so I had some frozen king prawns for my Sunday salad. A few prawns with a little pink salmon, iceberg lettuce, red onion, beetroot and pickle makes for a nice salad. It’s low calorie too unless you fill the plate up with oven chips, like I did. That was a gourmet dinner for less than 2 pounds and my stir fry probably cost less than a pound.
Council tax bills are dropping through letterboxes now and they are ridiculously expensive. We can’t do much about them except check we are in the right band and if like me you live alone you can get a 25% discount. You might also like to check to see if you can get council tax benefit if you’re on a low income. I am pleased that pensions are going up in the budget, it will mean eventually that most pensioners will not need means tested benefits; except perhaps council tax and housing benefits.
Last winter we struggled with energy bills in the UK and this winter has been much milder; I am hoping we will have a an early Spring too. If you don’t have enough insulation this could be a good time to think about it. Most energy companies have good deals on insulation now with the aid of government grants. I have draught proofing even in internal doors, sealed windows, cavity wall insulation and loft insulation. It does make a huge difference. You can also save by closing all you curtains after dark in winter, having lined curtains, wearing extra clothes and turning the thermostats down one degree and turning the heating down when you go out.
I also bought some WD40 freeing oil in Aldi a couple of weeks ago and that came in handy when my car wouldn’t start. I sprayed a bit on the ignition to cure damp; that saved me a garage bill. The car has been fine since. I thought I had a fault on the electronic management unit; that could have been expensive.
I just remembered that you can clean toilets with cheap cola and I threw half a bottle away that I found lurking in the back of the car the other day; I’ll remember next time! If we keep shopping around and making the things we own last as long as possible, we can save money and invest for the future. I find it quite interesting checking share prices every morning and if you’re following my investment blogs you will know I’ve been doing quite well! I did buy some shares two years ago that did badly but even they seem to be improving. Overall I have a good return on my investments. I have no debts and so pay no interest to the banks either. Thrifty and frugal pays off!