The Review: Life is so complicated
Today’s picture is of the River Tame. Those flowers are dying off now, but it always looks good in May. The Tame is the subject of a heritage project now and they need a volunteer to help.The application seemed a bit too complicated for a job where you don’t actually get paid. (more…)
The review: A nice little war?
As we live in our own little worlds we tend to forget what’s happening in the wider world. For as long as I can remember, the forces of capitalism and communism have fought it out; usually in someone else’s country. (more…)
If you’re a regular reader then you know I opened an account with Zopa in 2011. It doesn’t make me a fortune, but the return has been more than from the banks. The current return for investing over 3 years is about 4.5% after fees. On the savings the average household in the UK has, that’s about £90 a year.
How to sell – just about anything
Large companies know how to sell, they have whole marketing departments dedicated to selling their products and services. They have all kinds of devices and tricks to make us part with our money. We can use some of those tricks to sell stuff too! It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling crafts or your used car.
Finance Friday | Loose money
It’s difficult these days to even define what money is. It can be coins in our pockets, notes in purses and wallets or numbers on bank account statements. Money can be just bits in a computer or tokens of any kind.
Spring flowers in May
The river in the picture is the River Tame. This photo was taken last May, but I drove past there yesterday and the flowers are just starting to bloom again. They seem to grow all along the Tame, I’ve seen them at Walsall and Dudley.
Reflections on life
Sometimes, I think as a society we take one step forward and two steps backwards. There are lots of experiments that seem to fail. The big pink box on West Bromwich High Street is still referred to as ‘iconic’, but in reality it’s a failed experiment. They intend to use it as a sixth form college now. (more…)
Normal April showers?
I took this photo a year ago. I look at the sky a lot now in an attempt to predict the weather. The sky looked a paler blue last year, today it’s been a deep blue with white clouds and April showers. We had a very wet summer last year, are we back to normal now?
Ding dong, its Saturday
I get more local readers at weekends because my blog posts are featured on ‘the yamyam’. There appears to be more and more local bloggers now and they are writing good posts. Anyway, in case any local reader is wondering, today’s picture is of King’s Hill Park, just outside Darlaston.
Finance Friday | Needs and Wants
We all need water and food and we need to keep warm in winter. The divide between what we actually need and what we want is getting a little blurred. Do we really need mobile phones, cars and internet? I think we want these things and a lot more, but we don’t need them. We don’t even need television…
The end of British summer time
Yes, it’s the end of British summer time this weekend. We move our clocks back one hour and get up an hour later! Officially, the clocks are changed at 2am on Sunday morning. Unofficially, mine will be changed when I get around to it. It was cold getting up at eight o’clock this morning, it will be worse tomorrow.
Potatoes – frugal super-food
Potatoes are an important food and a staple food in many people’s diets. In the 1840’s crops around Europe were affected by potato blight leading to around a million people dying from starvation in Ireland and a similar number trying to escape the problems of poverty and hunger by emigrating. Potatoes contain starches, sugars, fibre and vitamins. They are low fat and contain vitamin C, Vitamin B6, potassium and manganese.
This week in the trenches
I might take some photographs of historic vehicles on Sunday. For the benefit of local people that will be in Walsall Arboretum (extension). I hope I can park my car. I went there when the circus was there and took a few photos. Anyway, I wrote half a dozen blogs on this site this week and some on a zillion ideas too. That site is slowly getting more readers, but it is slow. Please take a look at it and comment, tell me what you think. I always need new readers and so I hope you will also share with your friends on Facebook and other social media sites. I hope everyone enjoyed last night’s opening ceremony for the Olympics. It’s costing enough…
Olympics–love it or hate it?
It’s Finance Friday and the Olympics start today. I am not a fan, too expensive for tax payers in a time of recession and austerity. We probably wouldn’t be in a recession if it wasn’t for all these jollies for the rich. So far this year in the UK there has been the Jubilee, Ascot, Henley, Wimbledon and a host of other champagne and strawberry events. I doubt if there will be much champagne at this one. I read a bottle of water is £1.60 ($2.50) and a small bottle (300ml) of Heineken lager is £4.20 ($6.50). Don’t have the plate of curry at £8.50 or you’ll need even more water! You can’t make it up…
Feeding a family on a budget
I read an article some time ago about feeding a family of four on 60 pounds a week. I thought, I can do better than that! The eggs, chips and peas in the picture cost about 50p to cook. If every meal was as frugal as that, it would be easy! The big problem is that kids can be so fussy and so you do have to present the food in an attractive way for the children. My eggs and chips are multi-coloured; white, yellow, green and red makes it look quite attractive! (more…)
Finance Friday | Being British
If the price of food keeps going up, I can see the geese in the picture ending up in people’s pots or even ending up as goose curry. There appears to less of them than there were last summer anyway. I’m told their numbers go down around Christmas too. I keep seeing union flags and English flags everywhere. The former for the Jubilee and the latter because of the soccer. The Bank of England seems on the verge of printing more money with it’s quantitative easing program. A number of executives are about to get even bigger bonuses. Some celebrities have revealed their tax avoidance schemes. Austerity still rules for the ordinary people. Even the doctors have been on strike; so I hear. The ruling classes have donned their top hats and funny hats in order to enjoy the champagne and horse racing at Royal Ascot. I’m proud to be bleeding British… (more…)
Thrifty Thursday | Credit cards.
Sometimes it can be useful to borrow money, but paying interest goes against the grain for us thrifty and frugal ones. A credit card can be useful for emergencies, but borrowing on one can also be useful for small investments. I have to buy some food in bulk and so need a freezer. If my freezer broke down and needed to be replaced, I would consider buying a new one using a credit card. There are some that have a interest free introductory period like the Barclaycard Platinum purchase card that offers an interest free period for 15 months and balance transfers with a 2.9% fee, but the interest rate is 18.9%, so make sure it’s paid off within the 15 month period! (more…)
Thrifty Thursday | Rising prices
The reason for todays picture is I’m thinking about transport. When the government in the UK does quantitative easing (printing money) commodity prices like oil go up. Oil is used for transport and gas is used for heating and making electricity; so all our basic costs go up. Prices on the stock markets have been taking a battering in the past few weeks and the Eurozone crisis has deepened; we just have to be thrifty and frugal and try to weather the storm. (more…)
Finance | When to borrow
I went in Matalan yesterday and looked at the clothes. I was going to buy a straw hat for the summer but they weren’t quite what I wanted. They had the hats and sunglasses on offer, both for £8.00. I can’t wear the sunglasses though because mine are prescription. I didn’t buy anything in the end but we were out of the rain and using their heating and not mine! I do know some people who would have bought a lot of clothes they don’t need and paid with their credit card. This is essentially borrowing money to buy stuff that you don’t need. (more…)
It seems as always that food prices are going up and so we have to try to save a little by shopping around. I have been saving the trays my chicken comes in to ‘recycle’ into seed trays. I’ve bought seed to grow beans and lettuce and I want to grow a few herbs and do a herb garden this year. Even if you don’t have a garden you can grow herbs in a window box or on the window sill; fresh herbs in soup or stew really makes a difference.
Finance Friday | Budgeting
I learned this morning how many people read my blog and in which countries; I was surprised to learn in how many different countries. I have to be honest there were a few, that were unfamiliar! In the UK, later this month, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will present his budget for the coming year. We too have to budget and be careful with our money wherever we live in the world. This is a matter of understanding money and setting priorities; essentials are more important that luxuries and then keeping proper accounts. (more…)
A Sunday Ramble | Plans
Today’s photograph was taken by Simon James and I did the editing. I cropped a litter bin off and changed it to monochrome. It’s a Victorian memorial park. It’s over a year since I started this blog and I’ve written over 200 blogs and have plans for a brand new blog with a new name. I intend to give other writers the opportunity to write for the new blog and anyone else who wants to contribute something good like a photograph or poem even will be encouraged to do so. (more…)