Thrifty Thursday 13
Live for today!
People tell me to ‘live for today’ and spend my money. I have been careful and now have the money to pay cash for things and so I don’t need to pay that extra £50 for the privilege of paying my car insurance monthly. I don’t go for ‘interest free credit’ because I know the interest is included in the price. I don’t like contracts because it’s a pain to read all that small print and that’s where the scam usually is!
Prices are often governed by supply and demand. In the UK there has been a shortage of housing and despite government promises to release land and have house building programs; there is still a shortage. If there is a shortage of anything, prices tend to go up and housing went up faster than people’s incomes. Banks offered 100% mortgages and then some even offered 125% mortgages! That silliness came to an end and the folly of sub prime mortgages is now history but still mortgages are difficult to get. Banks want high deposits from first time buyers, often 30% of the price and other costs are on top of that. Not surprisingly, demand for rented housing has now gone up and with it the rents! In the UK, we have a shortage of land because we are a small island. In other countries it’s politics and planning that causes housing shortages. In many countries the political will is needed to provide the infrastructure that new housing requires like power, water and roads; this leads to a shortage.
The common agricultural policy in the European community led to a over supply of food and low food prices. This doesn’t mean all food prices are low, but if you shop around most people can find cheap food. In some European countries food can still be expensive and wages low, so food banks and charities subsidise food. This could come to an end soon if the British and German governments get their way. The result will be less food will be produced and less distributed to the very poor of Eastern Europe and countries like Italy. This will lead to higher food prices for everyone. I can shop around for all kinds of food, I saved 40% on the ingredients for a meal the other day by getting special offers and stocking up on a few things at a discount supermarket (Lidl). I saved about 40% (£5) on a few packs of chicken alone. I am lucky to have 3 supermarkets within a mile and also Iceland and Farmfoods. How you save depends on where you live.
The big saving for me is not paying interest on loans, credit cards and hidden costs that are the same as credit like the extra you pay for interest free credit. I had quite a lot of interest on savings this month and I shall put more into peer to peer lending with Zopa. I shall write a blog about Zopa but at the moment I have over £650 in my account. I put £500 in last year and have £50 interest and £100 in introduction fees; it seems to be going quite well. If you need a loan the fee for loans is reduced to £100 until the end of the month. That could be a good option rather than a 3% balance transfer fee, if you have debt on credit cards.
I am paying a lot more now for gas and electricity like most people. The obscene rises are due not to lack of supply, but to lack of competition and regulation by government. Competition is impossible where water charges are concerned and they give us an option of having a water meter; regulate the water industry! There isn’t much we can do about car tax, television licence and council tax; they are all simply legalised robbery. The first two could easily be abolished and the council tax could be abolished in favour of councils getting a cut out of VAT.
We get robbed every day, in every way; but we aren’t as bad off as people in other countries. The price of eggs and pork are the same more or less here as in China but despite China’s economic power the wages of a waitress in China is just 30p an hour compared with 20 times as much in the UK. We have to be grateful, thrifty and frugal and make the most of what we have!
If you’re going to Asda watch out for cleaning products and washing up liquid on offer. There are a number for £1 each, Mr Muscle, Cif, Domestos, Flash, Dettol and Mr Sheen. The Fairy liquid is the 900ml one for £2 (stock up). I just had an email telling me it’s the first day of the Comet sale. I haven’t looked to see what they have on offer but worth looking at. I had a Prestige microwave half price a few weeks ago.