Archive for value

Credit Crunch: A Survivor’s Guide – Overuse

Posted in Life..., Personal Finance, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2010 by stanleyriiks

Do you wonder who recommends you change your toothbrush every three months? It’s the manufacturers. Those who would benefit most from you changing your toothbrush four times a year. Do you believe them? Until I see scientific evidence to the contrary I am happy to use my toothbrush for a year, or more if it’s still looking good. I use an electric toothbrush and I do take care of it, when you have a £150.00 top of the range Oral B, you look after it! It actually gets treated better than my girlfriend! (She didn’t cost so much!)

Water filters are another thing that can be used more than the manufacturers recommend. Of course they say four weeks will use up the goodness contained in their little filters. Well, that’s based on the filter being used by an average family of four. I’m certainly not average, and I’m definitely not a family of four. I’ll use those filters (instead of bottle water which is about twenty times as much!), for at least six weeks, depending on actual consumption.

Try to overuse things and squeeze the value from every product you use and save those pennies.

Credit Crunch: A Survivor’s Guide – Downgrade your expenditure

Posted in Life..., Personal Finance, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2010 by stanleyriiks

There are two simple ways downgrade your grocery shopping.

The first is by downgrading your supermarket. If you shop at Waitrose (you rich bastards!), you need to start shopping at Marks and Spencer. If you shop at Marks you need to start shopping at Sainsbury. If Sainsbury then Tesco. If Tesco then Asda. If Asda then move to Morrisons. Morrisons to Iceland, Iceland to Lidl/Aldi/Netto. If you have the misfortunate to shop at Lidl/Aldi/Netto you need to get a big stick and start mugging homeless people!

Ok, Morrisons might be above Asda, and its unlikely you’ll have all of those options in your area, but remember online shopping.

If you haven’t got the choice of which supermarket you can go to then you can always downgrade your label. A store-branded product can replace a brand name product. All the major supermarkets are getting in on the store value-brand now, even Waitrose. Both Tesco and Sainsbury have three levels of products, Tesco Finest and Taste the Difference being the top level, and the nicest, although sometimes only slightly. But also the most expensive.

The thing to remember when purchasing your food if that no matter how nice and yummy and delicious it is when you put it in your mouth, it all comes out the same at the other end. If that doesn’t induce you to purchase a Tesco’s value lasagne for 89p than I doubt anything will.

But seriously, downgrading your shopping should be taken slowly. Dropping down from a regular Tesco’s Finest menu to the value range will leave you feeling hard-down-by. Ease yourself down the range in small easily manageable increments.

Also, look at other things that can be downgraded. Your mobile contract can be downgraded as long as you are far enough into it, normally about 9 months. If you’re not using your current allowance give your mobile company a ring and reduce your contract.

Insurance can be downgraded, although check carefully that you are still covered for the things that you want to be covered for.

Downgrade your car. Sometimes this can work the opposite way too. A friend of mine purchased a newer car that had a slightly smaller diesel engine, the lower cost of insurance, lower tax and lower fuel meant that it cost £14.00 a month less to run than the older car. That’s including the more expensive hire-purchase costs. Obviously I cannot recommend getting into higher levels of debt, but in this case I can see the advantage. But debt is still bad.

Start downgrading now.

Credit Crunch: A Survivor’s Guide – Smaller Portions, Bigger Savings

Posted in Life..., Personal Finance, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2010 by stanleyriiks

Have you ever seen a Weight-Watchers microwave meal? Have you tipped it out and tried to spread it out on a plate? I’m not having a go at Weight-Watcher here (Please don’t sue me!), most supermarket ready meals actually have similar portion sizes. When I tip one out onto a plate I’m struck by the smallness of them. When I cook (ok, when my girlf cooks) I don’t want to see the plate for food. To me a decent portion size is when I struggle to squeeze in dessert, and I can always squeeze in dessert!

But the supermarkets (and Weight-Watchers) are doing you a favour! If you can get used to those three-quarter sized portions you can save yourself a nice lot of money. Don’t actually buy the ready-meals, as we said before the bigger the bag of frozen chips, or the larger the packet of chicken, the better value it is, in general. But if you can squeeze down your portion size just slightly (you don’t want to starve yourself, and you don’t want to be so hungry that you need snacks!), you can save pounds every day.

It’s not about will power, it’s about what you are used to. At the moment I’m used to three lots of dessert, but previously I was used to one. So I’ll work my way back to the good old days when I didn’t spend more than twenty pounds a month on snacks.

Having mentioned snacks I have to say, as delightful as they taste, snacks are bad for the pocket. They are not good value. Often you can get two packets of crisps or a couple of mars bars for the same price as a meal.

Eat meals (slightly smaller portions), and may be dessert (I couldn’t go without dessert, life just wouldn’t be worth living!). Continue to decrease your portion size until you hit a good level, three-quarters, two-thirds; you know how much food you need. Don’t try to go too far, we’re trimming here, not cutting.

Which leads me nicely to my next tip: cut your hair shorter. Again, just a trim, although for the boys a buzz-cut is a great look! I have one myself. Saves on shampoo and conditioner as you don’t need to use so much.

Smaller portions actually works best with items that you don’t notice how much you use. But think about it, do you really need a handful of shampoo to wash your stubbly head? Do you really need to use that much bubble bath, or that much shower gel? Cutting back just a little on these regularly used (I certainly hope they are!) items, can save you pounds over the course of a month. Next time you do the washing put in a little less powder or gel, next time you do the washing-up use a little less washing-up liquid. There are many ways where you can save by using smaller portions and if won’t even matter to the quality of what you are doing.

Don’t fill your mouth with mouthwash. Buy an electric toothbrush (there are loads for less than £20.00), and just use a pea-sized squeeze of toothpaste instead of filling the entire manual brush. Your new electric toothbrush will pay for itself in a couple of years!

Remember: smaller portions equal bigger savings!

Credit Crunch: A Survivor’s Guide – Shopping Intelligently: Part 2

Posted in Life..., Personal Finance, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2010 by stanleyriiks

We’re talking about groceries here, if you’re even thinking about any other kind of shop you need to stop right now. Unless you can’t eat it or drink it, or need it for washing, then don’t buy it.

Never ever go shopping without a list. Big mistake. Also, have something to eat and drink before you go, so you won’t be tempted to buy yourself a snack (this is my biggest problem, I go to buy myself some lunch and eat up with £20.00 worth of crisps, biscuits and chocolate!).

Stick to the list!

You will need to buy essentials, food, drinks, cleaning stuff, washing powders, you know the type of thing. Check out the offers, half price and buy one get one free (BOGOF) are the best. If they have something you will use, shampoo, shower gel, frozen pizza, toothpaste, get double you normally would. If it’s something you use all year-round such as shower gel, then stock up when it’s BOGOF. I recently bought sixteen bottles of Original Source Shower Gel in Tesco when they had a BOGOF offer which will keep me going for several months, at half the cost.

It’s important you don’t get carried away with offers. Never buy anything you might use just because it’s on sale, only things you will definitely use and are on your list.

If you do internet shopping it’s much easier to check all the offers, it’s how I choose half my shopping.

It’s also worth changing your supermarket once in a while. The big supermarkets will often send you a discount voucher to use online to entice you back, if you haven’t been there for a couple of months.

Shopping intelligently is about not buying more than you need, making offers work for you, and adding value to every purchase.

Credit Crunch: A Survivor’s Guide – Shopping Intelligently: False Economy, it’s not cheaper!

Posted in Life..., Personal Finance, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2010 by stanleyriiks

Don’t buy smaller than you can use.

A small tub of butter/spread is more expensive than a large one in terms of weight (per gram the smaller tub is more expensive). If you’re going to use a kilo tub before it goes off, which is fairly likely, then you are better off buying the larger one.  Buying the smaller one because it’s cheaper (although more expensive per gram, and therefore worse value) is false economy.

This works for almost all products, and supermarkets are now being quite helpful by giving the price of items and the grams, rolls, sheets, litres, cost.

Buy sixteen or eighteen rolls of toilet paper rather than four. (Can save £2.00 a month on average)

Buy a five-litre bottle of mineral water, or a six-pack instead of individual bottles. If you need to use smaller bottles for work or ease of use, buy a big one and a funnel and pour it in. Ok, so it’s slightly more work, but it’s less money. The average family can save over £100.00 a year by giving their kids small bottles filled with water from larger bottles. (Of course investing in a water filter jug and several filters will be even cheaper, it costs about 2p a litre. If you live in London and have to drink the hideously cloudy and foul-tasting recycled liquid, it may take a while to get used to it after Evian [trust me!]).

This also uses less packaging, which is good for the environment. Good for the environment can be good for you!

Use this technique for everything that doesn’t have a short shelf life, soft drinks, bottled water, toilet rolls, butter/spread, tinned goods, frozen goods. Doesn’t work so well for short-life products like milk, but work it out. If you can use a six pint bottle then it’s still better value than a four and a two pint, or three two pints.

You can save hundreds of pounds shopping this way.

Credit Crunch: Saving money without going without. The no pain savings plan.

Posted in Life..., Personal Finance, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2010 by stanleyriiks

You need to start thinking about how your money is spent and being aware of waste. Most of the things I’ll mention are just common sense. All of us waste money to a certain degree, and don’t think you don’t. If you are paying more than you should for something then that’s a waste. If you’re using something you don’t need to use then that’s a waste. If you can cut out as much waste as possible and live more efficiently then you will save money.

Get loyalty cards for everywhere that offers them for free, Sainsbury, Tesco, Iceland all offer loyalty cards. What better way of saving money than getting something for free, even if it is only one week’s worth a shopping a year, it all adds up!

Turn the light off when you leave a room (providing no one else is in there!). This can save you upwards of £5.00 a month.

Use Energy Saving light bulbs, good for the environment, good for your wallet! (can save you another £5.00 or more a month).

Reuse plastic bags, particularly in Sainsburys (where you can receive nectar points for using them) and Tesco (where you get clubcard points). (Can gain you £1.00 or more a year depending on how many shops you do a month).

Put on a jumper when it gets cold. Ok, so when it gets really cold you need to put on your heating, but only use your central heating to heat, then turn it off until the temperate gets low again, then turn it back on. Set your timer for the minimum time you need it and make sure you never have it on when nobody is home. (can save £20.00 or more).

Never put things on the radiator to dry! It will suck the into the wet towel and the room will not be as warm as it should be!

If there are rooms you don’t use, such at the hallway or spare room, shut those doors and turn off the radiators. Don’t heat rooms you don’t need to. It might also be worth turning it off in the kitchen, normally when you are in there (whilst cooking) it’s warm enough.

Go to bed early. Not only will you benefit from all that extra sleep, but you can turn off the lights and heating while you’re in bed.

You think that’s all a waste of time? That little lot could save you over £500.00 a year!