Bank statements are a bit like Salvador Dali’s paintings – wonderful things but terrifying to look at. They always seem to show up in the post when you least expected, when you were hoping for a nice card or a cake. And it’s always more fun to hide them in the cat basket rather than actually read them, and feel sick about where your money has gone.
But not one to be daunted, armed with some chocolate and a large gin (actually that last bit is a fib, I have a cup of tea) – I am scouring the latest statement from our joint account to see where we can trim our finances.
And to be honest there’s plenty to play for. While we can’t do anything about our council tax, at £127 a month, our gas and electric suppliers might be worth changing – we paid £71 to NPower last month for both, including the dual fuel discount, which doesn’t seem overly good value. Especially as it’s not even winter yet! According to Uswitch we could save £80 a year by switching to…wait for it…British Gas. Who’d have thought it!
Our home buildings and contents insurance is £32.38 a month, life insurance is £19.63. While the life insurance is reasonably good value, according to Confused.com we could save £100 a year if we switched to another provider, Elephant.co.uk, which is offering it at £22 a month. I need to check the fine print to make sure we’re getting like for like. Of course, if we took paid upfront we’d get it for £241 instead of the £264 we’d pay over a year.
I’m agonising over whether we should keep our £9.99 a month Amazon DVD rental going (nearly £120 a year – yikes). It’s a bit frivolous for the frugal life, although the TV schedule is diabolical at the moment – nothing but idiots being humiliated on reality shows, Banged Up Abroad (what genius thought that up?) or Nigella winking coquettishly and rustling up some crazy meal out of chocolate and lard. And we don’t have satellite so it’s come in very useful lately. A compromise would be downgrading to the £5 a month version which allows you fewer films. The great thing is that you don’t get fined for sending the DVDs back late and you can order all sorts of weird and wonderful vids. We are watching I, Claudius at the moment (an adaptation of the Robert Graves novel) which is a bit like Rome but without the massive HBO budget (saw a hilarious scene with Derek Jacobi & Brian Blessed watching a gladiator fight without a single gladiator in it last week!).
So far that’s a potential £240 a year saved before looking at the grocery bill. I suppose a spend of £155.96 in the supermarket wasn’t too bad, but then we also rather naughtily (in pre-frugal days I might add) spent another £112.25 on eating out. There is definitely work to be done here! I wonder just how much we could pare our food and grocery budget down to? If we could at least save £100 a month here that would be a £1200 yearly saving, bringing our total potential saving to £1440. A good incentive. Bring on the 9p baked beans! Your general thoughts/ suggestions on how else I can save some money welcome!