It’s Wednesday at last…which means I now have money again. Hooray! And this week I’m going to be good – honest – and not waste my cash on fripperies. By the way – thanks to everyone who sent recipes for window cleaning fluid! I get the message – that I should be out there using my own elbow grease! Good idea!
I’m wondering if – as some of you suggested –I should get out this week’s money in cash and avoid using cards. That might make things easier. My parents used to divide their money up into different yoghurt pots for different expenses when I was a kid, so might try that.
Christine, a pensioner, has been in touch and has been kind enough to proffer her own budget as something for me to aspire to. Unlike me she has a spare 24p at the end of the week!
Housing Benefit £49.95
Council Tax Benefit £13.00
Pension Credit £43.23
Birthday & Xmas Presents £4.12
Going out £10.00
House Insurance £2.25
Internet Connection £4.14
Internet Software £0.35
Rent £49.95 (housing benefit)
Rates £13.00 (council tax benefit)
College Expenses £10.00
Window Cleaning £0.58
Water Rates £3.78
Total spend £181.76
Left over: £0.24
Any ideas how she could use up the extra 24p?!
Lots of you had suggestions on what to do about the TV/Amazon DVD rental. One person suggested getting rid of the TV licence altogether and just watching DVDs. I’m not sure whether you can do this if you own a TV though. Since we recently got a Freeview box we’ll keep the telly for now, but switch to the £5 Amazon rental see how we get on. If I find we’re not watching the DVDs then I’ll axe it altogether. It’s cheaper than a visit to the cinema.
What else? Well, the pet insurance is being cancelled. I’ve been superstitious about it, thinking the pets will get sick. But it is a massive waste of money. I am also wondering if we can cut back on car use and petrol spend. Lots of you have suggested we get rid of it, but our area is a bit cut off. You could shop in the local one street town by trudging 25 minutes up a very steep hill (not ideal for some pensioners), but Waitrose and Somerfield are the only supermarkets. If you need to go to Basildon you either hop on the bus or use a car. A couple of pensioner neighbours have cars, while others who can’t drive any longer rely on family to drive them around.
But I think it was Jerry who said I shouldn’t scrimp on the car service. He’s right. I was in it yesterday and was sure there was a funny burning smell… As for the mobile, we are both on pay-as-you-go, so we can control the use. I’ve got too much into the habit of texting instead of sending a free email, so I might spend this week seeing if I can avoid using it at all! However, I’ve been trialling Blyk’sfree mobile phone this week too. The idea behind it is that instead of paying for calls and texts you get sent carefully chosen adverts which you can choose to ignore or reply to. Unfortunately it’s only for 16-24 year olds at the moment. More about that later.
USwitch.com says if we switch to Scottish Power or British Gas (thought they were the most expensive!) we could save £270 a year on gas and electric. The gas cost has gone up I think because I’ve been working from home, but I think I should start just heating one room during the day (as Dan suggested) and wear extra jumpers! Or do some exercise/sit in a sleep bag as Gill suggested!