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  • FIRST POST
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 11th Nov 18, 11:14 AM
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    lessonlearned
    Champagne Lifestyle on a Lemonade Budget.
    • #1
    • 11th Nov 18, 11:14 AM
    Champagne Lifestyle on a Lemonade Budget. 11th Nov 18 at 11:14 AM
    Can it be done.

    Well I have decided I am going to give it a jolly good try.

    And I invite you to join me....Please share your tips, experiences, deals, bargains.

    For those who don't know me.....a little background.

    I am a widow, aged 67. My husband died four years ago after a long illness which wrecked our finances and which changed my financial landscape, hopefully not forever. I am working on it.

    At one point I thought I would have to go bankrupt but with the help of Martin Lewis (All Hail) and the collective knowledge, wisdom and support of the lovely people on these boards I pulled myself back from the abyss and am now financially stable.

    Not rich but I have "enough".

    Now a confession ........although I am very content to live a simple and now thankfully stress free life I do have a penchant for a little luxury.....and .........before I get too old and decrepit, its time for some fun. Time to finally reap the benefit of all my hard work.

    I have just moved house. It's a money pit and I love it. Doing up old houses is my idea of fun. I love rescuing old wrecks and turning them into elegant, comfortable homes and then when I sell ........hopefully they end up a profitable investment.

    I did well on the last one, which I bankrolled and project managed.i gave all the profits to my son who put in all the sweat equity and hours of back breaking work. I was happy just to break even on that one and give him a leg up.

    However .......as we all know "all work and no play makes Jill a very dull girl". So, whilst I am fully committed to making this new house a stunner And hopefully make a nice little profit I want to

    a) do it on a tight budget and
    b) not put my life on hold in the process this time.

    So......my plan is to live off my income of £12,000 and use some of my capital as my war chest for the renovations and hopefully at some point start up a small sideline business. No idea what yet.

    So how to streeeeeetch that £12k, until, in the words of one of our dear chancellors, I think it was Nigel Lawson ....."the pips squeak". How to extract every ounce of luxury and fun.

    I am in the process of reviewing my budget. This is always an ongoing process for me. I am constantly refining my budget to make the most of what I have. Sounds a bit anal but I do it at least once a month.

    This week I had to change my mobile phone but although I now have to pay an additional £5 per month I am happy with the deal. I also have to take my car in for what I hope will be a minor repair.

    My car is getting on a bit and so far has cost me peanuts to run but it's on notice. If it starts getting too expensive then its days are numbered. I can live without a car if I have to, at least as a short term measure. We have good transport links here. I have a free bus pass and a senior railcard. A taxi into the city centre is reasonable.

    I have good practical skills, love charity shops, and make most of my own lotions and potions.

    What I really need to do is learn now is how to get the fabulous entertainment, hotel and travel deals that I know are out there. As a solo there is often a premium to pay for the privilege of travelling alone......

    So now it begins......my quest for a champagne lifestyle......

    I am sooooooo worth it. Lol.
    Last edited by lessonlearned; 11-11-2018 at 11:35 AM.
Page 1
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 11th Nov 18, 11:29 AM
    • 11,057 Posts
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    lessonlearned
    • #2
    • 11th Nov 18, 11:29 AM
    • #2
    • 11th Nov 18, 11:29 AM
    So today's luxuries.......

    There is a small joint of beef in the slow cooker. Yummy.

    I am going to do a freezer inventory and aim to really reduce my food budget this month. I am going on a bargainous 14 day cruise, sailing on 24th November so I am going to run down my food stocks.

    Sounds extravagant but it is a last minute cheapie to get away from the mess and discomfort whilst the plumber installs my new bathroom. The plumber informed me it would be best if I did a disappearing act. So after looking at a 5 night stay in UK hotels I discovered that a last minute cruise worked out at roughly the same price......crazy.

    I have prebooked my train, using my railcard and have splurged out on first class. Using my card and booking in advance made the first class option affordable. They usually throw in refreshments for free with first class tickets too.

    I don't need new holiday clothes - I have wardrobes full. mainly charity shop bargains of course. .
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 11th Nov 18, 11:50 AM
    • 20,473 Posts
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    Spendless
    • #3
    • 11th Nov 18, 11:50 AM
    • #3
    • 11th Nov 18, 11:50 AM
    What sort of things do you like doing?

    Theatre matinees can have cheaper prices than evening performances (not always though - sometimes they're the same price!)

    Found this link.

    http://www.laterlife.com/laterlife-perks-for-pensioners-1.htm

    Lunchtime menus are often cheaper than later in the day and likewise midweek is cheaper than the weekend.
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 11th Nov 18, 12:15 PM
    • 11,057 Posts
    • 73,926 Thanks
    lessonlearned
    • #4
    • 11th Nov 18, 12:15 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Nov 18, 12:15 PM
    Hi Spendless.

    Thanks for the link. I'll have a good read later.

    Unfortunately if I want to go to a west end show I have to factor in travel and/or hotel costs so I'm afraid they have to be a once in a while treat. The last time I went to London for a show was about March time. I shall lbe too busy between now and the festive season but maybe next spring.

    I have a cinema discount card which I can use Sundays, Mondays and Tuesday and I noticed recently that a number of cinemas near me now offer Silver Screenings so I intend to start taking advantage of those.

    I'm with you on the lunchtime and early bird menus. I went out on Friday to my favourite restaurant. They do a lovely two course "Fixed Pris" early evening menu. I rarely eat puddings so two courses is fine for me. And I do like to be a "lady wot lunches". I'm meeting a girl friend on Wednesday.
    Last edited by lessonlearned; 11-11-2018 at 12:33 PM.
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 11th Nov 18, 12:29 PM
    • 11,057 Posts
    • 73,926 Thanks
    lessonlearned
    • #5
    • 11th Nov 18, 12:29 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Nov 18, 12:29 PM
    Sorry had to split posts. My iPad is playing up. Hopefully it's not on the blink and I have just done something stupid......

    What do I enjoy doing, just about anything and everything. I am interested in trying new stuff although I am not as agile as I once was. Ano Domini catches up with us all in the end.

    I love museums, galleries, theatre, cinema, poking around country houses and cathedrals, nice restaurants, concerts ......the usual. I regret I am not particularly sporty so I'm not fussed about skiing or all action holidays. I have no desire to climb Everest or trek through deserts and jungles. Although I did fulfill a lifelong ambition this year and visited the Amazon. One off the bucket list.......

    Next year I'm booked to go to Iceland, another bucket list trip.

    I am in the process of setting up a mini gym at home, so no need for fancy gyms but trying to get fitter. I would like to try and find some dance classes when my knee is a bit better. I have a number of fitness and dance DVDs so I just need to get some space organised so I can have a designated gym/exercise space.

    Today I am having an "at home" day just pottering about and enjoying the luxury of time spent catching up with myself.

    Time itself is a luxury isn't it.
    • jackieblack
    • By jackieblack 11th Nov 18, 12:31 PM
    • 8,472 Posts
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    jackieblack
    • #6
    • 11th Nov 18, 12:31 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Nov 18, 12:31 PM
    I've subscribed
    My annual income is similar to yours but I'm not old enough yet to take advantage of any age related discounts.
    Hoping to pick up some tips for the future.
    2.22kWp Solar PV system installed Oct 2010, Fronius IG20 Inverter,
    south facing (-5 deg), 30 degree pitch, no shading

    Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur

    MFW #4
    2019
    Jan - £34.33 £46.79 £77.72


    ‘Fashion on the ration’ challenge - 4 coupons spent
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 11th Nov 18, 12:35 PM
    • 11,057 Posts
    • 73,926 Thanks
    lessonlearned
    • #7
    • 11th Nov 18, 12:35 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Nov 18, 12:35 PM
    Hi Jackie......welcome aboard.
    • csarina2
    • By csarina2 11th Nov 18, 12:41 PM
    • 2,422 Posts
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    csarina2
    • #8
    • 11th Nov 18, 12:41 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Nov 18, 12:41 PM
    Get your champagne from Aldi, it just as good, and a lot cheaper, mind you their lemonade is only 30p.
    Last edited by csarina2; 12-11-2018 at 9:12 AM.
    • freyasmum
    • By freyasmum 11th Nov 18, 12:44 PM
    • 16,688 Posts
    • 48,813 Thanks
    freyasmum
    • #9
    • 11th Nov 18, 12:44 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Nov 18, 12:44 PM
    I'm not retired, but second (or third?) the lunchtime menu. Many places offer reduced price meals if you sit before 5 -
    any places I've been take that as being booked for 4:45, no matter when you are actually seated. It's an early dinner, but I quite like it.

    As I say, I'm not retired and we are at a different stage at the moment to you - we are saving to move to a bigger house in SE (prices here are horrific when I consider what they are like at home!). Though we are still hoping to buy an older house in need of love - but I will follow this thread with great interest, if I may
    • jackieblack
    • By jackieblack 11th Nov 18, 12:48 PM
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    jackieblack
    I understand about constantly reviewing and amending your budget. I do this too and it helps reassure me that a) everything's under control and b) I'm getting every last drop from every £.
    I have family, friends and colleagues who are bewildered by how I manage to live as I do on my income. I always say it's just a question of priorities.

    I empathise with the 'single traveller' issues. I'm also tied to only travelling only at peak times, which can really add to cost if I'm not very careful and makes off peak bargains like your cruise impossible to take advantage of.

    I guess it's not so much a champagne lifestyle I aspire to so much as making the lemonade into a really long drink with a few umbrellas and sparklers in
    2.22kWp Solar PV system installed Oct 2010, Fronius IG20 Inverter,
    south facing (-5 deg), 30 degree pitch, no shading

    Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur

    MFW #4
    2019
    Jan - £34.33 £46.79 £77.72


    ‘Fashion on the ration’ challenge - 4 coupons spent
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 11th Nov 18, 12:51 PM
    • 11,057 Posts
    • 73,926 Thanks
    lessonlearned
    Get your champagne from Aldi, it just as good, and a lot cheaper, mind you their lemonade is only 30p.
    Originally posted by csarina2
    OOoh yes....... A girl after my own heart.

    I love Aldi's. Such fantastic deli type food, gorgeous chocolate, excellent wines and bubbly. I love their Cava. I always have a couple of bottles in so that when friends drop by we can have an instant party atmosphere. You cant beat a bit of bubbly.

    When I'm being good And avoiding alcohol I indulge in their sparkling mineral water. 6 bottles for 99p.

    Not quite the same but maybe better for the liver. ...... I like their traditional lemonade too.
    Last edited by lessonlearned; 11-11-2018 at 12:53 PM.
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 11th Nov 18, 1:47 PM
    • 16,547 Posts
    • 141,683 Thanks
    JackieO
    I have a Dobbies card if you have any near you and for £10.00 per year I get two hot drinks either tea or coffee per month The coffees are normally just under three pounds so I can get£72.00 of hot drinks for £10 per year also as you fill in your date of birth they send you a birthday voucher for tea for two with scones jam and cream when its your birthday vary nice to take a friend for a cuppa and a scone
    I also have a loyalty card for the Travellers Fayre pub chain and the Beefeater pub chain and they too send you a free main meal voucher on your birthday .One of the pubs locally to me do a 'pensioners' meal dael for two courses for £5.99 and the size of them is very little difference to an ordinary one and two course are extremely filling
    I have a stash of 'loyalty ' cards and am loyal to no one .W'rose will give you a free coffee and a paper if you spend over a tenner in there Handy on a Saturday as the saturday paper normally has extra magazines and a TV magazine as well.
    I am registered disabled and have a Cinema exhibitors ticket which when i go to the cinema with my friend we split a ticket between us as my 'care' get in for free it costs me £6.00 per year.

    Most museums are free and look on your local council websites to see whats on offer as often if you are a pensioner you will get reduced rates for shows ,especially if they are the matinee ones.

    Bus passes are invaluable even if you only want to have a long bus ride a cuppa at the end and an explore of the CS in another town and then the bus ride home again.libraries are brilliant places for different things Our local one has a gentle walkers group every monday morning and after a half hours stroll the library lay on tea and biscuits to revive you i also belong to a library book club and knitting group as well. My local U3 A group costs me £15.00 per year and we have 41 different interest groups run by volunteers for things for older folk to go to once a month we have a meeting with free tea and coffee and a speaker We also have a coffee morning once a week (usually held in Dobbies ) so i use my free hot drinks there if I haven't used them up )

    There is so much out there and I sometimes get over-committed and I am rarely in during the week at all probably the only day I actually have is maybe a saturday when I don't do a great deal but the housework and cooking then needs doing
    I go to a quiz night at the local pub on a Tuesday night and it costs me £2.00 and I get a small meal thrown in with the price so a great night out lots of giggling and food for £2.00 great bargain I think.
    Quot Libros,Quam Breve Tempus.
    2019 £15.21 for my food shopping so far
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 11th Nov 18, 2:27 PM
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    lessonlearned
    Wow Jackie.....so many good tips. Alas we don't have a Dobbies or a Waitrose. Those are great deals.

    I do like a trawl round a garden centre. Most of ours do loyalty cards as do a lot of our cafes and restaurants. I have loads of them, the only problem is I tend to forget to take them with me. Duh.....

    I forgot on Friday. I think I'll have to get better organised and keep a little wallet for all my discount and loyalty cards.

    I've just signed up to our local councils email what's on guide. Great tip there, so thanks for that.

    I'm sitting here drinking a cup of tea from my Crown Derby cup. One of my little affectations is that I do like tea from nice porcelain. I decided to get rid of all my tatty crockery and start using my nice stuff. What was I keeping it for. For best?? Don't I deserve the best.. I decided no point in having nice things if I don't use them. They are not luxury items if they are stuck in a cupboard. From now on I shall eat off crockery fit for a duchess. bring on that luxury.......

    I have just changed my bedlinen. I love the feel of freshly laundered sheets. I do think nice clean sheets are one of life's little luxuries too.

    As I said I have recently moved. The bedroom I inherited is a tad "purple"and a bit garish for my liking.......but I always use plain white bed linen and it does help tone it down a bit. The other day I spotted a fake "artic fox" fur throw in Aldi's. It was a snip at £30. I have just put in on the bed and it looks quite lovely against the white linen and the dark purple feature wall. Very boutique hotel chic. Lol.

    My next task, probably after the festive season when I have more time, is to go through all my stuff and see if I can free up enough space so that I can get rid of a chest of drawers in that room. It looks a bit cramped and crowded in there.

    For me one of my greatest luxuries is space and light. I am hoping to get rid of a lot of furniture over the next few months so I can really open up the rooms, make them look lighter and more spacious. That's the problem with downsizing, a lot of my old furniture is on too large a scale and there is far too much of it.

    Less is definitely more.
    Last edited by lessonlearned; 11-11-2018 at 2:29 PM.
    • GooeyBlob
    • By GooeyBlob 11th Nov 18, 2:28 PM
    • 182 Posts
    • 316 Thanks
    GooeyBlob
    The cheapest way to get champagne is to make it yourself, you can buy kits in places like Wilko and Boyes. Personally I prefer hedgerow port though, it costs about 20p per bottle to make and beats anything you'll find at a supermarket.
    Saved over £20K in 20 years by brewing my own booze.
    Qmee surveys total £43 since November 2018
    • Sea Shell
    • By Sea Shell 11th Nov 18, 2:39 PM
    • 1,174 Posts
    • 2,022 Thanks
    Sea Shell
    Get your champagne from Aldi, it just as good, and a lot cheaper, mind you their lemonade is only 30p.
    Originally posted by csarina2
    30p !! That's their expensive one. They do a 17p one too.
    " That pound I saved yesterday, is a pound I don't have to earn tomorrow "
    • Towser
    • By Towser 11th Nov 18, 3:19 PM
    • 1,210 Posts
    • 2,074 Thanks
    Towser
    OOoh yes....... A girl after my own heart. I could have written this thread. I make my £££'s work really hard for me.

    I also go through my budget and challenge myself to find something for free or cheaper in each category. Freecycle is great. Tidy tip is the cheapest charity shop for us. I only buy the very best quality from these places.

    My biggest saving is the heating, cooking, hot water and clothes drying because we have a multi fuel Rayburn which does the lot. I do it for free when I have had wood/logs donated. Do you have one or a log burner worth looking into at the architectural salvage yard and you could save up to £1000 per year. A lot of hard work though sourcing the wood and making a fire. If I am feeling lazy I just use coal. It is a lifestyle commitment.

    Do you have a local Technical College? I go there to 'lunch' in their restaurant set up for catering students, hairdressers and beauty college. I think you can even have you car maintained there too. I have noticed a lot of pensioners make use of these facilities. I am not a pensioner but a carer for a disabled child so make the most of my spare time during school hours. Low income too.

    Groupon is great for all things luxury on a budget especially if you are after bucket list experiences.

    I watch this thread with interest and this is why I am on this site because people come up with the best ideas.

    I also get my champagne from Aldi.
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 11th Nov 18, 4:02 PM
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    lessonlearned
    Hi Towser.

    Interesting about the Rayburn.

    This new house is very cold......no insulation to speak of and a very inefficient heating system. I am paying a fortune to heat up the street. I'm just resigned to the fact that I will have big fuel bills this first winter. I only moved in in mid September so it takes a while. I have been concentrating on the outside making sure the house is watertight and clearing the jungle of a garden.

    Next year I will be ripping out walls etc so will add insulation, and fit a new boiler then.

    I have two fireplaces, both with class 1 chimneys. One has an ancient clapped out gas fire set in a very pretty fireplace but it is hopeless. It works but it probably heats up the sky. The other fireplace is is just an ordinary open fireplace. I have bought some logs and some coal and need to teach myself how to build a good fire.

    I will look into having multi fuel burners fitted next year when I do the the dirty work, get all the mess over and done with all in one fell swoop. I think those kind of messy building jobs are best done in the summer. I can at least potter in the garden out of the way.

    I have visited a couple of fireplace companies to get ideas. Not sure whether to keep one as a gas "log" burner and then one as a multi fuel. I'll pick their brains and see what they advise nearer the time.

    Yes I need to look into groupon. Thanks for the reminder.
    Last edited by lessonlearned; 11-11-2018 at 4:07 PM.
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 11th Nov 18, 4:18 PM
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    lessonlearned
    Mmmmm. Hedgerow port sounds interesting. I also like elderflower champagne.
    • Prinzessilein
    • By Prinzessilein 11th Nov 18, 5:53 PM
    • 2,596 Posts
    • 12,182 Thanks
    Prinzessilein
    I don't have a huge income...but I DO like to indulge myself on occasion....although I have to say I don't actually like champagne!...I do however love a good cup of coffee, so I will join in here as someone who aspires to Blue Mountain on a budget own label income!

    It's not a 'tip' really...but one thing I have done is to make the most of introductory offers...a favourite of mine being Hotel Chocolat (they do delicious high cocoa solid choccie!)...you sign up for the REALLY cheap introductory offer...and then when you get your offer, IMMEDIATELY cancel!...HotelChocolat are brilliant...they have no problem with you taking up an offer, then cancelling on the day your first box arrives....and then re-joining for another cheap box a few months later!....Subscription boxes are available for all sorts now...but you DO need to be prompt at cancelling...I set up a separate eMail address to use just for this sort of thing - as some places seem to pass your eMail onto other companies and my spam box can get rather full!....I have also joined/quit/rejoined Graze snacks on multiple occasions!

    With Christmas rapidly approaching I can highly recommend Lidl's Favorina range if you like German Christmas food treats!...Mum makes her own Stollen - but we still buy a few from Lidls! (Having German origins I am something of a connoisseur of Stollen!...and these are not half bad!)...There Spekulatius biscuits are SO good that I had to ban them from my own home (*shame....I have been known to eat a pack and a half in one sitting....NOT good for weight loss!)

    Oh...and make the most of Store Cards...my favourite has to be the M&S Sparks card...they really do seem to tailor the offers to your buying history...plus they do extras...on your birthday you get 20% of Clothing and Home Furnishing - which goes on top of your usual Sparks offers - so on my birthday I had 20% off nightwear as my 'normal' offer....PLUS and additional 20% off for my birthday offer...bargain winter pyjamas were bought!....and the card sometimes allows you to have 'extra' sides on the Dine In offers...well worth having!
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 11th Nov 18, 6:06 PM
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    • 73,926 Thanks
    lessonlearned
    Oh yes. Good coffee is an absolute must......

    I have just had dinner and my coffee is now sat in the cafetière.i shall enjoy with just a small square of dark chocolate as my after dinner treat. .

    Speculoos biscuits are fab. I too have stopped buying them except for high days and holidays because I just can't resist them......

    Actually I do have to watch my blood sugar levels. I am working really hard and they are nearly back down to normal, no drugs just diet. It's hard at times but it will be worth it.

    I think one of the greatest luxuries of all is good health. I saw what diabetes did to my mum........I'm not going there. So I am very strict with myself and do limit my intake of both alcohol and sweet stuff.
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