Sunday 26 July 2020

How to live like a millionaire on a retirement budget

I've been reading "How to live like a millionaire on a retirement budget: Priceless strategies for living as if money were no object" by Elizabeth Dunkel.   Many of the ideas in it will be very familiar to frugal bloggers but they bear repeating.

Her basic philosophy is that creative, stylish thinking, feeling and living is the way to celebrate a life in retirement.  Or to quote Coco Chanel, "There are people who have money and people who are rich".  Her hacks are not so much about money saving as about rethinking how to look at money and luxury.  Simple ideas like eating outdoors (or lighting a candle if indoors) to make a meal into occasion even if it is eaten alone.  Or a single flower in a slender vase.

I hate it when my environment reminds me that I am careful with money.  Actually I'm glad (and maybe a little proud) when I look at my accounts that I am careful with money but I don't want to feel cheapskate when I walk around my house.  So, as a contribution to luxurious stinginess I am offering just one idea.

Like many people I cut open tubes to make sure I get the last smidgen of a product out, even if the product was itself super value.  Some people just pop one end of the cut tube over the other and continue to use it but when I see a tube like that in my bathroom or on my dressing table it looks a little bleak.   Instead I save old face cream pots and when I've cut the bottom off a hand cream tube I scoop the remaining hand-cream into a de-labelled pot.  Hand-cream budget range from Wilko, face-cream budget range from Lidl (or maybe Aldi, can't remember which).  
Luxury method

Quick method

Saturday 25 July 2020

Two steps forward, one back

To be honest, I am one of those fortunate people for whom lock down has been a financial gain.  My spending has reduced in many categories (motoring, eating out, paid help) and I've been able to control my grocery expenditure as I have become accustomed to the new situation.  My income has dropped as I am no longer able to work at all but the fall in expenditure has more than compensated for that.  I'm not a "recreational" shopper and I think that retail therapy just results in headaches at 2am.

But I cannot believe how many of my appliances have died this year.  Back in January it was the freezer and just last month I had to replace my laptop.  I thought I was OK this month but on Thursday I acquired a large nail in a tyre which meant I had to acquire a new tyre.  Not as bad as a freezer or a laptop but still an appreciable sum.

Then Friday the fridge died.  I just can't believe it!  To be fair I have been having a few doubts about its efficiency but I didn't expect it to die.  

So today I shall have to contact my local electrical appliance supplier and spend some hard-saved money.  I've checked on line and I know what I want (basically the fridge to match the freezer I bought in January!) and they will deliver.  It's not really a problem but oh! I wish my finances didn't suffer so much!

And I know how fortunate I am that I can manage to buy a fridge and that buying a fridge is my only problem

Thursday 9 July 2020

Getting roped in

Last year I was approached by the Office for National Statistics to do a one-off survey.  I think they choose households at random so they can some idea of the "state of the nation".  At the end of the survey they asked if they could approach me again (they try not to over-burden the unwilling) and I said OK so throughout last year I did surveys on household finance.  Apart from a reusable cotton tote bag there was no reward but I was happy to help anyway.

Earlier this year I was asked if I would help with the corona virus survey which I mentioned on my other blog.   I'm really pleased to help with that one.  I was chosen in the light of the demographic information (gender, age, postcode, income etc) which they already had from my previous surveys.  This one is paid in vouchers for places like Tesco, Sainsbury or Amazon.  

I also get roped in for all sorts of things because I do surveys for commercial firms.  I get a free product and usually a financial reward as well.   I've tested soap powder, face cream, butter and other things over the years but at the moment I am testing an on-line fitness programme.  I'm really happy to help with this one because they are including help for disabled people.  (Sorry, I can't tell you the name.)  

I started on Monday although I did a questionnaire a while ago and I've got just four little habits to develop.  They've asked me to have a large helping of green vegetables, to do some simple stretches, to make sure I eat nothing during the two hours before bedtime and to walk half a mile on my treadmill each day.  There is no way that I could walk half a mile in one go but I keep nipping out to the garage and doing fifty or a hundred yards.  I get motivational texts several times a day.  

As far as I know there's no financial reward for this but if it makes me try just a little bit harder that is more than enough reward for getting roped in.  

Thursday 2 July 2020

Double Oh Dear!

The first Oh Dear! is an apology because I haven't blogged since this time last month.  Sorry about that.

The second Oh Dear! is because I've had budgetting problems.  About three weeks ago my laptop died.  I really hammer my 'pooters as they are used on my lap and they get damaged rather easily.  Anyway I went to my usual techie type chap who also said Oh Dear!  The laptop needed a new motherboard and as it was four years old it seemed better to replace it completely.  However, he set up the new one for me and transferred everything which he could transfer from the old one.  

What we couldn't retrieve was my old budget and tracking information so I had to work out my expenditure from alternative records.  Fortunately it was just a couple of weeks worth of figures which needed retrieving.

So, let's look how things are going.  As far as I know I reduced my grocery expenditure by nearly fifty pounds last month (I keep a separate detailed record of grocery spending).  This means that it's at roughly pre Covid levels.  Also I am no longer eating out so that's a huge saving.  I had to buy some petrol (£30) but that was the first I've bought since early March.  My gardener/handyman is back and I am paying my cleaner a retainer so that's quite a lot.  

And apart from the usual bills which I pay by monthly direct debit I've spent very little else.  I've had quite a bit in from surveys etc.  So despite my Oh Dears! and buying a computer I was still able to stash £50,

So I think I can say, Oh Dear! Oh Dear! Well done Dear!