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Wednesday, 8 April 2020

A Closer Look at Finances

I have been chipping away at my ISA  since retiring 3.5 years ago and I still have just under 2.5 years before I get my state pension. Interest rates don't look like they're going to get better anytime soon,   so I've been giving our household spending a financial review, especially as I'm paying for an empty property that I can't sell until the COVID 19 restrictions are lifted. I will not be entitled to any Council Tax relief or financial help of any description because I fall into an area that hasn't been covered by any guidelines. I'm not asking for sympathy,  it is what it is, a unique  situation. I know it could be worse, one couple who's moving period was staggered, had already moved into their new house. Their old property was due to exchange and complete  a month or so later but the buyers suddenly backed out.  They have been left with 2 homes, 2 mortgages and two lots of Council Tax etc.


The estate agent called the same day as Mr  Johnson announced his 'HOUSEHOLD RESTRICTIONS' to say the couple still want my house and their mortgage has been reinstated. I've since found out a time limit has been put on all mortgage offers from his lender and it has  as plans to increase future  loan to property ratios to 40-60.  So with the sale looking increasingly unlikely and the possibility of getting tenants in a distant dream, I'm going to have to tighten my belt for the foreseeable. 

I've been discussing the possibility of getting rid of Sky and reinstating the Humax Freesat box that we had 8 years ago with hubby. Every year they say I can have my package for the same reduced price but then there is a price increase. I can get all demand channels through my modern TV and I could pay a small subscription for Netflix or Now TV, so that alone would be £19 a month. I also know I can do better with the household consumption of water and energy. Firstly I'll reinstate the washing up bowl, I could do with a new one but it can wait. Once I've started growing my own food again, I can use the cold water that is normally wasted as you wait  for hot feed to water my plants and flush the loo. I worked it out its almost 6 pints of water wasted before the hot feed comes through.    The water butts will be reinstated, seeds have been sown and an area of the garden prepped ready for planting. I've adjusted some of the temperatures on my Hive heating programmer and reduced the timings on sessions by 15 minutes. Every little will helps. 


The energy companies have stated 'Power Cuts' are on the cards as a result of the drastic shortage of engineers. So I've downloaded some films to my tablet and we will just have to retire to bed should it happen in the evening. I do have a gas hob and lighter to hand should we need hot water etc.


Food prices will rise, its inevitable as production levels are hit, so there will not be one iota of waste. But first I will use this lockdown  period  to 'Use It Up'. All food in the  freezers, fridge and cupboards will be utilised. We eat healthily and I don't scrimp on fruit or veg and this shall continue. I'm not worried about clothes shopping at all, again I will use what I have, after all there is no where to go except the lounge, bathroom,  bedroom or garden!

I certainly believe this lockdown period will make some people realise where they waste an awful lot of their money. It isn't their household bills causing debt, it's their lifestyle. 

One thing I am missing is the app 'Mysupermarket' since it ceased operating.  Food price comparisons are much  more complicated.  Apparently, the company are concentrating on the business market now which is a shame.  But I'll still be seeking out bargains and YS savings when food shops return to something like  normal. Bye for now. TX



15 comments:

  1. That looks pretty comprehensive. You are doing a lot of belt tightening.

    I'm not in the same boat as you but I am looking at my TV package. I'm with BT and think I shall cancel my entertainment package in favour of Now TV but I'm going to wait until the lockdown is over.

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    1. My package finishes next month so I'll contact them then. It's all the little bits that add up.

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  2. Many will have to tighten belts for sure, we have Netflix and Amazon prime, we share the cost of this with our son.

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    1. I hope they realise where they're wasting money, then perhaps some good will come of this.

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  3. It sounds like all your plans are very sensible.

    We have Freesat TV at home and I have Freeview at the Van, both of which suffice for what we need for our television viewing along with films and box set DVDs picked up here and there for less than a pound usually. We record lots and watch when there's nothing to watch on 'live' television. We can't stream anything as we don't have enough broadband capability, gosh we sound so bloody old-school ... lol!

    I've never owned a dishwasher (other than Alan!!) so I don't have to re-instate a bowl ... I buy them for £1 at Asda and when they get tatty they go outside to the polytunnel for use there. I have a kettle that sits at the back of the Aga gathering the heat it gives off even with the lids down and this is used to wash pots, it takes the length of time it takes the water to run hot from the tap to refill it so that works out well. Did that make sense?

    As you know I grow some of what we eat both here and for me at the Van, but not as much as I used to.

    Oh I'm missing mysupermarket.com too, why didn't they offer it for a yearly fee of say a fiver or so, I would have willingly paid. Instead I now use Comparasaurus, which tells you the comparisons but you can't make up an online list like you could with mysupermarket.

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    1. I haven't heard of comparasaurus, thanks I'll take a look. And I'll take a look in Asda for a bowl next time I'm in there. I do have a dishwasher and I use it on batch cooking days, its loaded to bursting point.

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  4. I've gone through my wool and fabric stash and I am already making Christmas gifts to stash away - this Christmas will be a lot harder for a lot of people. Our TV package will go when it finishes in July and only have the mobile phone package to get reduced now. We've started veg off at the allotment but expect to have it stolen if prices go up so have also started veg off at home - you're doing really well - good luck

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    1. Thank you Trudie. Its dreadful to think you have to protect yourself against theft. I hope it doesn't happen. Great idea about making gifts. I've been looking on the internet for good deals in things.

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  5. Great ideas for tightening your frugal belt. You have a very good plan in place.

    God bless.

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  6. Interesting point about Council Tax because of house sales I wonder if there is a lobby/petition for relief on it to be given just about every other "problem" is getting something! We had planned for less veg growing this year and more getting out and about! Reverse all plans!

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    1. I think growing your own where you can is definitely prudent. It will be a long while before we get back to buying in from Europe in any volume. Hopefully our own farmers can pick up the slack permanently.Trish, there has been requests for the headbands you made on FTLOS. Have you seen it?

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  7. The housing market has been badly hit, hasn't it, Tania, I feel so lucky that we moved when we did in December. We would have been well and truly stuck and probably have lost a lot of money too. We are pretty broke now but mortgage free thankfully. Regards the TV we have a Freeview box (Humax) which is good enough for us. We do have a cheap dvd player too but rarely use it. It might come into it's own later when the already recorded TV dramas run out and we are subjected to endless repeats!
    We too are preparing to grow a few veggies in the garden in case we are stopped from visiting the allotment. I'm sure the produce at our allotment IS likely to be stolen if fruit and veg becomes expensive or hard to get too. We have a tiny garden but strawberries, beans and tomatoes can be grown, maybe a tub of potatoes too.
    Stay well, Angie x

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    1. I agree you can grow a few bits in a small space. My garden is only two thirds of the size of the last one but I will grow as much as possible. Someone else was saying they thought their allotment would be plundered if food prices rise. There is a huge shortage of affordable housing locally. Everything is £200k and over. The builders only build £350k+ properties. So I know the house will sell when the current situation passes. Thankfully I have no mortgage on either property, we've always overpaid to get rid asap. Its paid dividends now.

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  8. I've just been reading those comments above by people with allotments who think people will steal their vegetables- that's just terrible! (And in my naive mind, I always think of thieves being likely to be chavs who eat chips and fried food all the time and don't eat vegetables so they wouldn't do this)
    I KEEP meaning to already start using my shower water to water the garden as the water butt is almost empty as it hasn't rained for a few weeks and my blueberry bushes need rain water.
    I HAVE been worrying about power cuts and how the power company staff and engineers will cope or be affected (they are very much KEY workers!) so I'm alarmed to see you wrote this.
    I think your plans are all good ones. I'm actually really liking being able to have the time to dilligently water all my plants and seedlings every day. When I'm at school usually, I'm always in such a hurry as I have to commute from Southend to East London and I don't get home till late.

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