In the money…

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!

Christine’s budget:


Housing Benefit £49.95

Council Tax Benefit £13.00

Pension £75.82

Pension Credit £43.23

Total £182.00

Weekly Bill

Allotment £15.00

Birthday & Xmas Presents £4.12

Clothes £12.00

Food £30.00

Furniture £10.00

Going out £10.00

Hairdressing £2.28

House Insurance £2.25

Internet Connection £4.14

Internet Software £0.35

Mobile £2.31

Powergen £7.62

Rent £49.95  (housing benefit)

Rates £13.00 (council tax benefit)

Telephone £4.38

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. 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!

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6 Responses to In the money…

  1. snaggletooth says:

    If you\’re up to it, you\’d be amazed what you can carry by pushbike! It\’s no where near as hard as you think with modern mountain bike gearing and a couple of cheap panniers, (just picked a brand new pair up on evilbay for under 1/3 of what they should have been).
    For the mobile, I\’m on pay as you go with orange, not sure what the tarriff\’s called, but you get 300 free texts if you put in £10 a month. This is on top of your tenner. The more you put in, the more free texts you get the following month!

  2. Tina says:

    Ditch the pets and save more money.

  3. Post says:

    what about spending the 24p on a stamp and sending a short letter to a seriously ill child featured at ? Would make a nice round up to the week! 🙂

  4. Christine says:

    You can watch your DVDs on the computer – Windows Media Player and Real Player are both free programmes that let you do this. Oh and don\’t phone the mobile from the telephone as that is expensive. If you pay all your bills by direct debit (phone, ISP, etc) you can get a discount for doing it so it\’s not worth getting everything in cash. BT charges you extra for paying in cash for instance. Does anyone locally deliver groceries? Somerfield used to be dead cheap and has seen me through some very broke periods using own brands. Some people do a big shop online once a month at Tesco or Asda if they are disabled or find getting out hard. This lets them get all the heavy stuff like washing powder in bulk delivered. It pays for two of you in a house and you don\’t get tempted by all those extras going round the shop. You do have to pay for this service but the cheap prices usually offset it. On the other hand here, the local Co-op is a little more expensive but delivers free.

  5. piper says:

    Duh!  Christine, of course….I realised later this evening that we could of course watch the DVDs on my laptop anyway which has a dvd player.  Will check out that Orange texts thing – thanks Snaggletooth.   Mmm…lots of hills where we live for a bike but would certainly get me fit!  Letter sounds like a lovely idea – I am thinking of looking into volunteering too to find something to do for free that is more rewarding for a change.
    Ah…no name…you are heartless!  But there is no way a pensioner would have as many pets as we do.  At least we get eggs from the chickens.  Dougal the cat sits on my lap and keeps me warm sometimes – only when he feels like it. Setup for the lizards is expensive but once you have them they\’ll mainly eat salad really and are a lot more fun to watch than the telly.

  6. snaggletooth says:

    This should help find the orange free texts tarriff : hills will get you fit but I\’d get used to them before trying to carry a heavy load! It\’s actually not that hard unless you\’re very unfit, modern bikes (in case you don\’t already use one) have exremely low gearing for off road hills, making road ones easier. And if it\’s downhill home, well there you go! This is a useful site if you are considering it though : luck and think of the thighs you\’ll develop! 😉

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