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    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 22nd Dec 17, 11:28 AM
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    trailingspouse
    Making savings before it's too late
    • #1
    • 22nd Dec 17, 11:28 AM
    Making savings before it's too late 22nd Dec 17 at 11:28 AM
    I decided to do a full audit of all our expenditure over the last 12 months. This was prompted by the realisation that, although we're still in the black, our savings are much reduced compared to this time last year. I really wanted to know the answer to the age-old question - where does it all go??

    As a result of a lot of number crunching and general faffing on, the end result is a list of things that we need to do next year to ensure that our savings don't disappear completely and we end up in the red. I thought I would share it on here. And if anyone has any better ideas...

    - stop having hair dyed. I started to go grey at 19. Now that I'm 57 I've decided to embrace the grey. This will save about £400 a year.
    - reduce gas and electric usage. We'd got a bit lazy and had it on 24/7 - now it's off from 10pm until 5am (we're up at 6). And the gas fire doesn't go on until the evening.
    - check that we're with the best supplier. We weren't!! Looks like there are substantial savings to be had.
    - I was already an Aldi convert, but tended to go to our nearest supermarket (Sainsbury's Local) for top-up shops. Aldi is only a little further away, so will make the effort.
    - make sure we're using the cheapest fuel locally. We'd got into a habit of always going to the same place, but it turns out it wasn't the cheapest by quite a long way.
    - shop around for the best deals on connectivity - I always feel ripped off by mobile/broadband etc anyway, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if we can get the same deal for less. This is OH's specialist subject, so hoping for significant savings.
    - PayPal. OH seems to have a bit of a PayPal habit. It's hard to say what exactly we've been buying via PayPal, and I'm sure it was all a bargain, but nevertheless an awful lot of money went that way. Needs to be brought under control.
    - cash. I think I very rarely use cash - most spends, even quite small ones, go on the credit card so that I get the cashback. But still, the amount of cash we withdraw seems a lot. Next year I'll start keeping a record of it.
    - buy less wine!!!
    - keep track of the (monetary) gifts we give to the kids. They're all grown up now, all in reasonably well paid employment, and generally heading in the right direction. We need to learn that they don't need us!!
    - keep a lid on what we spend on holiday, particularly on meals out. The last time we were away, we had every meal out apart from breakfast. Some were just snack-type lunches, but even so - it all mounts up. There's no reason why we can't buy some nice bread, some local cheese and some fruit and make up a picnic.
    - have fewer take-aways. We actually don't have that many, maybe one a month - but it would be cheaper to keep a few Chinese-type starters etc in the freezer. And probably quicker than waiting for a delivery!!
    - keep an eye on best before dates - again, I'm pretty good at this, and I wouldn't chuck something out just because it was after the best before date. But still, things need to be used!
    - use up the alcohol we already have!!
    - tumble dry everything in one load. I do a dark wash and a light wash, which is fair enough - but there's no reason why they can't go into the tumble dryer together (I dry them overnight on the radiator first, so the tumble dryer is just finishing them off).
    - reduce waste - what are we throwing away?
    - cancel the Santander credit card - it was worthwhile when we got the full cashback, but now that it's capped at £3 per category, the max you can get is £9 - and there's a £3 fee to take off. So - we'll use the Asda card for everything (0.5% cashback on everything, or 1% on spends at Asda, and no fee).
    - for things I can't get at Aldi, go to Asda to take advantage of the 1% cashback, and also the cheap fuel.

    That's the list so far. It'll be interesting to see where things stand next year at this time. Fingers crossed.
Page 11
    • tori.k
    • By tori.k 6th Jan 18, 5:38 PM
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    tori.k
    Glad you had a great time, it's something your DD will always remember,
    I freely admit I avoid London where possible I'm getting more cantankerous each year and now avoid crowds as possible, good job we did most of our City travels in our younger years.
    I'm another £58 in for the year with replacing the filter for Elvis the goldfish.
    Debit to Credit (stage 1) 3652.34 completed 15/10/16
    Debit to Credit (stage 2) 6299.09 completed 25/06/17
    Save 12k in 2018 #76 2000 /6000
    • angela110660
    • By angela110660 6th Jan 18, 5:48 PM
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    angela110660
    My daughter and I saw the Nutcracker on the big screen at the Vue a couple of years ago and it was fab. So much so that lovely daughter bought us both tickets to the ballet at Royal Opera House the next year to see Sleeping Beauty.
    Check your local cinema listings as it is a great way to see the ballet and a lot cheaper!
    Free films - 2009: saw 7 films. 2010 saw 7 films. 2011 saw 7 films. 2012 saw 5 films;2013 saw 7 films; 2014 and 2015 saw 1 in each. Nothing since!
    • jackel
    • By jackel 6th Jan 18, 7:01 PM
    • 199 Posts
    • 2,156 Thanks
    jackel
    Have spent the afternoon reading through the thread which I have really enjoyed. I have picked up some useful ideas too. I hope to continue to take part as I really must stick to frugal living as I am on basic state widows pension(no credits because of savings). My husband (who seemed as fit as a flee) sat down in the kitchen and died 20 months ago . I was so pleased to see Kitty raised the subject and gave such good advice stressing some of the problems which perhaps people do not think about. I know that I was glad that we had both made wills because without one even the sweetest people can turn "nasty" and also bank accounts which are in joint names are "available" single names are a hell of a fiddle to get sorted.Happy NY all jac.xx
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 7th Jan 18, 9:39 AM
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    trailingspouse
    Well - things come in threes. After the repairs to OH's car, and the faulty boiler, now my living room light switch isn't working!!

    I went to turn it off last night - it's a dimmer switch that you press to turn off. When I pressed it went off, but when I 'unpressed' it came back on again!! Three times! In the end I had to just turn the lights right down. At least this is something that OH can fix. We're going to go back to an ordinary switch, as we seem to have had nothing but trouble with the dimmer switch, and we never use it to dim the lights anyway!!

    So - off to B&Q as soon as they open this morning.
    • kittie
    • By kittie 7th Jan 18, 10:22 AM
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    kittie
    welcome jackel, sorry for your loss. I bet you still get the odd letter or bill, I did for over two years. I couldn`t wait to get on an even keel, once the shock was over. It was the old style `chin up, chest out and just get on with it, keep busy` attitude, which I see so often in people in similar circumstances. We cannot change the past but we can plan to make the future as comfortable and as worry-free as possible and no-one should underestimate being worry-free probably equates being debt-free with a bit over to save

    I have been working on my energy costs, now that temperatures outside are so low. I have an unusual house ie very low energy loss (eco) but I still use a heavy curtain on the big windows in the lounge and my bedroom. My stove for ch is wood pellet and fuel cost has gone up a lot, per bag, due to pellet powers stations and a shortage of suitable wood. I have a physics background and finally did some sums. Cost of electricity v kwh from the fuel, taking energy efficiencies (losses) into account. To my surprise, electricity is cheaper by far, only because the house is so highly energy efficient. Yesterday I gave my stove a clean and am now comfortable in being able to eke out the fuel I already have. My heaters are on now, thermostats controlling them. I am aiming to use up all bar one bag, for when/if I move. To be comfortable with the electricity cost pm, I will increase my monthly estimate on m/s money. I was buying 25 bags for £75, now £93 for 25 and not available and I have to lift, carry and store by myself. My neighbours are in panic mode, one forking out for a half pallet ie 50 bags, with a first come first served deal. I have explained the electricity v pellet cost but there is an old fashioned thinking that electricity is most expensive but that depends on the available heating source and in our case only v pellets. Up to them now but my conscience is clear re explanations. They are elderly btw, same type of house, don`t have science backgrounds and find it hard to grasp

    So stash busting continues today, making a present for dd birthday, lovely socks and probably a lovely faire isle hat as she is outdoors a lot. Costing me nothing new
    • suki1964
    • By suki1964 7th Jan 18, 11:37 AM
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    suki1964
    It’s not just the big chain cinemas who show the ballet and opera, our local cinema does as well and they are very well attended

    Living so far from London it makes culture affordable , esp as they do concessions. Plus you get the best seat in the house
    if you lend someone £20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it
    • kittie
    • By kittie 7th Jan 18, 12:20 PM
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    kittie
    oops, I forgot to respond to the kind people who suggested ways of seeing various shows etc. Thank you for that, I live a long way from any big town but it is certainly a distinct possibility via an overnight coach trip in the future. All that is on the back burner for now, got to see if I move first
    • Savannah02K
    • By Savannah02K 7th Jan 18, 12:46 PM
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    Savannah02K
    Hello, just read through this topic and wanted to say 'thanks' to everyone who's posted. I took early retirement from work in Jan last year and this year will probably be the first one I'll have to dip into my savings for everyday living costs. So this thread will be invaluable. I only get a small company pension and I'm one of those 1950s women who won't now get state pension until I'm 66.

    Have just taken out the Radio Times subscription offer (£1 for 12 issues), have done it before, just need to remember to diary to cancel the second direct debit for the full subscription. Re clothes shopping, I'm going back to something I did a few years ago. I then had literally about 5 wardrobes worth of clothes (I admit, I did love my clothes shopping) and being of the generation that found it hard to ditch stuff because 'it has hardly any wear', I came up with the idea of a 'uniform.' I sorted out 7 outfits for myself and wore them week in, week out. Eventually, they either got so washed out or I got sick to death of them, that I found it easy to let them go. I don't have as many clothes now but still far too many. Am off to work out the first 7 outfits!
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 7th Jan 18, 12:46 PM
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    Spendless
    Thanks for the info re watching ballet at the cinema. I wasn't aware that happened. I have watched shows/musicals at the cinema before (Billy Elliott, which was live and The Railway Children, a pre-recording of a live show).

    The tickets for the Royal Opera House were £20 each, admittedly we were sat in the balcony, but not right at the very back and the seats were 'good enough' to watch the performance.

    I have been grocery shopping and I don't want to hear from my 2 teens this week that 'there's nothing in'. Listening to a comment on the radio last week about treats for children, someone said as a kid they had a 'treat box' and though I never did, I do remember school boarding school books being full of them, so today I've divided up the chocolate treats between DH, DS and DD and it's up to them when they eat them, but once gone they aren't being replaced until the next shopping trip.
    • emg
    • By emg 7th Jan 18, 1:56 PM
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    emg
    This a great thread and I have been reading it for inspiration and motivation. I'm trying to overpay my mortgage and keep my spending down this year so its all been really helpful.

    Spendless - I noticed you saying about the end of discounted rail travel when your children are too old but just wanted to check you knew about the Two Together railcard. Its not such good savings as the family railcard but if you mostly travel with the same person (as you do have to name the second person on the card) then it can be worth it to get 1/3 off fares.
    • tori.k
    • By tori.k 7th Jan 18, 5:29 PM
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    tori.k

    I have been grocery shopping and I don't want to hear from my 2 teens this week that 'there's nothing in'. Listening to a comment on the radio last week about treats for children, someone said as a kid they had a 'treat box' and though I never did, I do remember school boarding school books being full of them, so today I've divided up the chocolate treats between DH, DS and DD and it's up to them when they eat them, but once gone they aren't being replaced until the next shopping trip.
    Originally posted by Spendless
    I hope you have better luck doing that then I did trying the tuck box, almost caused war in this house with the lads just stealing off each other, in saying it didn't take a lot to start a war during there teenager years.
    Debit to Credit (stage 1) 3652.34 completed 15/10/16
    Debit to Credit (stage 2) 6299.09 completed 25/06/17
    Save 12k in 2018 #76 2000 /6000
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 7th Jan 18, 5:58 PM
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    trailingspouse
    I'm the same Savannah02k - won't get my pension until I'm 67 - and as that's 10 years off, I'm not banking on it even existing by the time I get there!!

    I remember walking in to work on my 45th birthday, and thinking I had 15 years left to go until retirement - and that it was OK, because I didn't dislike my job. That was 12 years ago, and I've still got 10 years to go!! But in that 12 years I've changed careers twice, lived abroad for 4 years, and moved house 7 times. Goodness only knows what the next 10 years will bring!

    Update on the dimmer switch - it's working again now!! Most peculiar.

    tori.k - we have a few leftover bits and bobs in the kitchen, mostly sweets. OH works away part of the time, and noticed this morning that while he's been away the Malteaser reindeer have disappeared. I told them they'd flown away, and I think he believed me...
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 7th Jan 18, 7:07 PM
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    Spendless
    I hope you have better luck doing that then I did trying the tuck box, almost caused war in this house with the lads just stealing off each other, in saying it didn't take a lot to start a war during there teenager years.
    Originally posted by tori.k
    It's working so far, but DS conned negotiated 2 snacks from DH, who didn't divvy up equally in the first place (he ate 2 beforehand and called it 'tax'). I'm diabetic, so didn't include myself and stopping out of it. I suspect they'll be nothing left by tomorrow.
    • Katieowl
    • By Katieowl 7th Jan 18, 7:58 PM
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    Katieowl
    [QUOTE=trailingspouse;73678492]I'm the same Savannah02k - won't get my pension until I'm 67 - and as that's 10 years off, I'm not banking on it even existing by the time I get there!!

    /QUOTE]
    Got to keep going untill 66 here, and eight years to go....I keep saying the same as you. I'll only believe I'm getting it when it's in my hand!
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 7th Jan 18, 8:29 PM
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    • 32,461 Thanks
    Spendless
    Spendless - I noticed you saying about the end of discounted rail travel when your children are too old but just wanted to check you knew about the Two Together railcard. Its not such good savings as the family railcard but if you mostly travel with the same person (as you do have to name the second person on the card) then it can be worth it to get 1/3 off fares.
    Originally posted by emg
    I 'sort of' knew about it, because DS met up with an American friend of his and went away in Oct and I contemplated either buying them it or DS the 16-25 railcard, in the end I did neither (long story!) but I hadn't thought about it in relation to doing it myself when DD is older.

    I'm hoping to buy the next family and friends railcard as close to DD's 16th birthday as I can, but before her actual birthday, so it will last until she's almost 17.

    Thanks for the info
    • blackcatsx2
    • By blackcatsx2 8th Jan 18, 6:17 PM
    • 92 Posts
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    blackcatsx2
    I was having a conversation with a friend on Saturday about later retirement age - we were both pretty aggrieved by it. I want to retire early which is why I hope to learn from all the good folks on the forum. I do have an occupational pension that I can get at age 60 but ideally Iíd like to go before 60 so will need to bridge the gap until 60 and then to age 68 when I can get a state pension.
    My husband died at 51 which has taught me to make the most of life and I certainly donít feel like just accepting working for 8 years longer than I thought Iíd signed up for when I started working at 17.
    Itís really positive to hear from people on here who enjoy like without spending fortunes and who have a full life whilst living within their means. Jackie O you are an inspiration!
    • kittie
    • By kittie 9th Jan 18, 5:53 PM
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    kittie
    welcome blackcats all ages here, just like the old fashioned community when I was a child, bouncing ideas and woes off each other

    I have given in and had an enjoyable online spend, plants for the house and a large galvanised tray to stand them all on. For downstairs, plants have been missing but are coming back. All air cleaner types, foliage and most will sit in the tray on my kitchen butchers block trolley. I am liking candles on there at the moment but will stop using them in a while, when my stash has gone done to the level they used to be at ie for just in in case of powercuts. As well as the plants for the tray, I am getting an aspidistra for my snug and a very nice floor pot to keep it in

    None of this is needed but there is a gap and plants will fill it. I now have three amounts to add/adjust on m/s money, electric bill, car insurance and plants to add to cc.
    • tori.k
    • By tori.k 10th Jan 18, 9:33 AM
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    tori.k
    I'm having to drop a birthday card off to the SIL, so will have a spend day as there is an asda in the town they live and I have the voucher card to use, so will save a separate trip.
    Finally had some news about the house we are SSC on, our vendor has finally change solicitors than the online conveyancing firm they had been using, so we finally have hope that the title issues can be sorted and we can move forward with the sale. It's costing us all money so needs a conclusion one way or the other.
    Bigger savings have been made this year as our holiday plans will have to go on hold as I cannot get leave for the end of February and DH can't do September as we decided Washington DC on the cheap to do some of the Smithsonian unfortunately just can't work the leave required for the cheaper months of travel so it will have to be shelved to February next year.
    DH is one of those that doesn't think he's had a holiday unless he physically goes away despite having 28 days holiday and bank holidays off last year he will swear other than 2 UK weekends away he's not had a holiday since January 16.
    Im going to be hard pushed to actually do anything but a long weekend this year with moving, as much as I only work 27 hrs over the winter this jumps to 46 from March to August. And that's not including my second job ( but unsure if I will go back this year)
    Debit to Credit (stage 1) 3652.34 completed 15/10/16
    Debit to Credit (stage 2) 6299.09 completed 25/06/17
    Save 12k in 2018 #76 2000 /6000
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 10th Jan 18, 10:17 AM
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    trailingspouse
    I've started logging my cash spending - when I crunched the numbers originally, I was shocked at how much money we'd withdrawn in cash, particularly as we put 'everything' on cards to get the cashback. Obviously we don't actually put 'everything' on the cards - but what do we spend cash on?

    So far this year - £21 for a takeaway delivery, £1 for an emergency bottle of milk, and OH gave the Green Flag driver a tenner for his trouble when he had to be brought home from work on the back of a trailer a couple of weeks ago.

    One of our 'resolutions' for this year is to have fewer takeaways - I'll be laying in a stock of chinese-style starters etc for the freezer so the temptation isn't so great!

    I didn't know about the Two Together railcard. OH and I are off to London at the end of the month, so will look into it. I love London!! I love the hustle and bustle. This time we're down there on business, there and back in the day, so no time to do much else - but I'm still looking forward to it!!
    • fionaandphil
    • By fionaandphil 10th Jan 18, 6:10 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    fionaandphil
    Hi all, not posted before but thought it might help somebody. I noticed a few of you mentioning changing your phone/broadband/tv package. We are with Talk Talk and have a combined package which includes line rental, broadband, calls and tv for £25 per month. Our service from them has been good but we did have a period about 2 years ago where we had major problems with the broadband for a few months, thankfully all resolved now. The TV package includes a box which allows you to record some things and you can also purchase additional boosts and services if required, don't know how much this is as we've never used the extras. I will be following your savings plans and seeing if I can come up with any more ideas
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