Saturday, 31 December 2016

I also would like to save £xx in January.

So here we are, the last day of 2016 and unsurprisingly all the saving money posts are rearing their ugly heads.

I've blogged before about the 'saving £1000 in a day' type newspaper articles, if you can save that much so quickly just by checking insurance policy renewals, energy contracts, direct debits etc, then you clearly do not have a handle on your spending.  

Piggy Bank, Coin, Pink, Piggy, Bank, Finance, Money

Another favourite tip to save money is to eat out less.  I eat out four times a year - my birthday, Mum's birthday, Dad's birthday and a family Christmas meal - which I do not think is excessive and does not need to be cut down.

Similarly, we are encouraged to cut down on takeaways.  I can't actually remember the last time I had a takeaway.  If I fancy a Chinese or a pizza I nip into Tesco or Morrison's and spend £2 or £3 instead of £10 or £15.

How many takeaways and meals out do people have that they can save £100s every month by cutting them out?

I am going to try and take lunch to work more instead of spending £3 per day on meal deals, £1 on Mondays with O2 Priorities, which should save me a little after taking into consideration the extra grocery spend on my big shop to cover the lunches.

Do you have any other tips on how to save?

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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Well I won't be buying Walkers anymore.

Like thousands of others, I was drawn in by the Walkers Crisps Spell & Go promotion in which 20,000 4* holidays were up for grabs.

Letters were obtained by entering the code from the specially bannered packs into the Spell & Go website, these letters were used to spell out various holiday destinations across the world, like an online game of scrabble.  Every destination contained at least one C, D or K.

And therein lies the problem.  

Like the Golden Ticket in Willy Wonka's chocolate bars, these letters were extremely sort after.  These three letters were classed as 'type one' and apparently there were enough codes printed to generate these letters to allow all of the holidays to be won, even though less than 800 of the 20,000 holidays were actually won.

There was an option to swap up to five of your letters with others from a central pot, these letters were, again, allegedly randomly selected.  However, the only letters available in the swap pot were 'type two' letters, ie, none of the letters people actually needed to win.

And like Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket hunt I bought multipack after multipack, entering the maximum five codes per day.  I had people from the office where I work giving me codes off their packets.

And I still didn't win.

Now, I will be honest, I didn't expect to win, I've blogged before about not being able to get on that list of approved winners, but I didn't mind, I bought the crisps, I shared the crisps with others, I played the game, I didn't win, end of story.

But then I caught this story on the BBC highlighting just how difficult, nigh impossible, it was to win.  This is what has turned me against Walkers.

The whole thing just smacks even more of a marketing ploy now, or maybe I am just being cynical.

Anyway, I will no longer be buying Walkers.  

If I ever get through the mountain of crisps I now have. 

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Brexit, who will do your job now?

Well let's see, anyone within a 90 minute public transport radius, who is able bodied enough to do the job and is on benefits.

There has been much on the television and in the papers that we are going to lose our labour force now that we have voted to leave the EU (not that much appears to have been done yet to facilitate our exit), and employers who offer seasonal or living wage jobs will struggle to fill their vacancies.  The doom-mongers are wringing their hands and predicting wage rises which will be passed on to the consumer in the form of price rises.


We have a ready made labour force currently reporting to every job centre once a fortnight.  But why should they work for £7.20 per hour (£288 per week before tax and NI, £257 after tax & NI), when you can get as much, if not more, just for sitting on your backside all day?

We need to get the benefits system back to what it was originally designed for - temporary help for the recently unemployed or redundant.  It should be seen as a last resort and not a life style choice.

Years ago, going on benefits was seen as a disgrace and people would do anything to avoid it.

We need to get back to that.

Friday, 24 June 2016

#Brexit, I wasn't going to comment but I am pissed and annoyed.

Yes I voted to leave.  As did my parents and in all my years (45) we have never discussed politics until now, it has been seen as a very private thing.  It is a sign of how strong feelings about this issue are that I know how they voted.  I still have no idea how they would vote in a General Election, nor them me.

I am an accountant.  I am well educated.  Apart from time immediately after redundancy I have always worked.  I am a big fan of Europe, I have plans in place to move to Spain when I retire and they have not changed, this is where I disagree with my parents, they want to move to Germany.

None of us have a problem with any of the member countries, nor the EU as it was originally touted, when the UK opted to join in in 1969, with membership from 1st January 1970, the idea was to allow free trade within member states.  We willingly started paying VAT as it was an EU edict.

But since then, more and more rules have been added which only the UK seem to follow - 

Human Rights? Don't exist if you have been murdered, but if your murderer has a cat, then they can't be deported.  EU rules.  I blame Tony & Cherie Blair.

Australian and Canadian couples who have moved here, started businesses and  contributed to the local economy employed 1 less person than they said they would - deportation immediately.  EU Rules.

Illegally arrived here in the back of a lorry, had an arranged marriage which produced an heir? Welcome to the UK and all our benefits.  

I want to get back to the original edict of the EU and if that involves alienating people and starting from scratch, then so be it.  I have nothing to hide and probably nothing to lose..

Sunday, 29 May 2016

The cost of being single.

When I have had a few drinks I sometimes generally bemoan the fact that I am single and fool myself that I can't understand why.  When I am sober, I know why I am single.

I have no problem being single, after all I have had enough time to get used to it, but I do hate the fact that I have to pay more for things.

For living alone I receive a 25% discount on my Council Tax meaning that I pay 75%, compare this to the house opposite with 5 adults in it.  They use the same services yet would pay only 20% of the cost each. (Bring back the Poll Tax!).

The cost of the TV licence would be the same regardless of the number of occupants as would the broadband and cable subscriptions.  The electricity bill and water rates I am guessing would not change much either.

Aside from household expenses, I am unable to book holidays through travel agents as most are based on at least two sharing, single supplements can sometimes double the basic cost.  Some well known caravan sites will not take single person bookings, I am 45 years old, I am not going to wreak havoc!

Special offers on meals out, both in this country and abroad, are usually 2 for 1.  I have in the past hung around on the off chance that there will be another person looking to save a few bob.

At the work's Christmas party last year, whilst the tickets were per person, the rooms cost £100 including breakfast, this meant that I paid the same for my single occupancy and breakfast as the couple in the next room who would have had 2 breakfasts.

There are more examples, but I think you get the drift.  Every other demographic of the population seems to demand equality.  Where is the equality for Singletons?

Sunday, 15 May 2016

A trip to the opticians, and how I see the world without my glasses.

Yesterday I had an appointment with the optician, I go every two years (give or take a few months).

We use Tesco Opticians because they are local, you get ClubCard points and the staff have always been great.  I take Mum with me, yes I know I am 45 years old, but my eyesight is so bad, I will show you how bad later in this post, that I cannot see what I look like in new frames so need an honest adviser.

In the end, because my appointment was early in the day, I had Mum and both dispensers giving their opinions.

Just before my appointment time, one of the dispensers took me to a side room to carry out some tests, the autorefractor test (the one with the hot air balloon at the end of the road) and the non- contact tonometer (the puff of air test that always makes you jump) which tests the pressure in the eye.

I then went through for my eye test.  Even though my eyesight is very poor, my eyes are apparently very healthy, it is the shape of my eyeballs that cause my vision problems.  I do have some muscle weakness in my left eye which is making my eye slower to move than the right eye, cue me spending the next hour looking in to the mirror trying to see the delay.

Before I went in for my test I had finally settled on the new frames that I liked, I think I tried pretty much every pair in the shop on,  I had chosen 2 different frames as Tesco had an offer on, Buy One Get One Free on frames over £65, this price includes standard single vision frames.

My lenses are not standard, I have to pay for ultra thin ones otherwise my glasses would never stay on my face, the ultra thin lenses cost an extra £90 per pair.

When I arrived back home I googled to find an optic simulator, I had used one previously that showed how bad my eyesight was after I had plugged in my prescription. I couldn't find the one I was looking for but came across Eye Sim.  After entering my prescription these are the images it supplied.

This is how I see the world without my glasses.  I could save myself a fortune in alcohol just by leaving my glasses off, it would be the same effect!

Sunday, 8 May 2016

The best way to treat a cold sore? Leave it alone!

Like many I have been plagued by coldsores for as long as I can remember.  I was extremely self-conscious about them when I was at school and first setting out into the working world, now it's more a case of, m'eh, another one.

Over the years I have spent a fortune on Blisteze, or Blistex as it became, Zovirax cream and those little clear plasters that were supposed to hide coldsores but just highlighted them to the world.  When they would stay in place anyway.

The last few flare ups have caught me unprepared and so I have left them au naturel and I was sure that they were clearing up more quickly.  I wasn't sure if this was the case or whether I was just not paying so much attention now that I was less self-conscious of them.

On Friday afternoon after a particularly stressful day at work (shouting, threatening to walk out - me,  tears - not me) I felt the ominous tingle and I decided to take note of how long the sore lasted.

According to various websites, the cycle of a coldsore is as follows
  • Day 1 - 2 ; The first tingle
  • Day 2 - 4 : Blisters appear and fill with fluid
  • Day 4      ; Blisters burst, the area around the sores can become red
  • Day 5 - 8 : Scabbing starts, the area may become itchy or there may be a burning feeling
  • Day 8 - 10: Scab starts to fall off leaving the skin new and pink.
After the first tingle Friday afternoon, I woke up Saturday morning with a massive cluster of blisters covering almost half of my upper lip, however by mid morning, the blister had burst.  By the evening the scab had formed and as I write this Sunday afternoon, the scab is breaking up so I am well ahead of the accepted timescale.

I will definitely be leaving any further coldsores to their own devices.