Thursday, 31 December 2009


As it's New Year's Day tomorrow I thought I'd do my weekly Tesco shop today instead of tomorrow and, as it's that time of year between Christmas and New Year that my husband always has off work, he came with me. I don't know if it was boredom or what, but he noticed the HUGE 3kg bags of pasta twists languishing on the shelf right next to him and checked the price.
Now, you may ask yourself a very obvious question - why would anyone want to buy such a huge bag of pasta?
That's right! Because it's cheaper!
Oh no it's not!
It is actually cheaper, gram for gram, to buy a smaller 500g bag of the identical pasta.
I could say that this is a cynical ploy on the part of pricing policy makers in Tesco or I could say this was probably a mistake, but I doubt it. This is not the first time I have worked out the "per 100g" shelf price and found smaller quantities working out much cheaper on Tesco's shelves.
This is a rip-off, it's not "green" (more packaging) and it is an insult to customers who believe that Tesco must be the cheapest supermarket - just because they're always telling us what a favour they're doing us!
Check those prices- work it out or take a calculator - but check what you're paying!
Happy Frugal New Year!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009


1. Firstly and most importantly, look at your bills and bank statements and work out if you are spending more than you actually earn - many people don't actually know what they are spending on a weekly/monthly basis.
Pay down your debts. It doesn't matter whether they are overdraft, credit card, loan or mortgages. Be frugal with your spending and make sure that any spare cash you have pays off your most expensive debt, interest-wise. Make sure you know what the interest rates are on all your different debts. If your credit card has the most expensive interest and it will take months to pay it off - try switching to a 0% card or take a second job or sell your rubbish on Ebay. Just get rid of your debt. Save up for whatever it is you need to buy. Other people's money is too expensive to use.
3. Shop at Aldi or Lidl as much as you can. They are great for store cupboard essentials like tinned tomatoes, sweetcorn, butter beans etc. For basics, they still seem to beat the big boys, for example, Lidl has avocados at 29p, 750g pack of red onions for 29p, 2kg pack of Rooster potatoes 79p, Savoy cabbage at 29p and Goodfella's pepperoni pizza at £1 - try finding those sort of prices at Mr T's!
4. Take a close look at all your regular bills - those things that slip quietly out of your bank account on direct debits every month. Cancel what you don't need and scrutinise the amounts on the others. Can you switch utility providers, get cheaper car, contents or house insurance? Are you with BT for your landline? Can you find a better deal - even if it's still with them? Should you be receiving Council Tax benefit? Help the Aged says around a quarter of over 60s are not claiming the Council Tax benefit they are entitled to. Which brings me neatly to my next point.
5. Find out if you can claim any benefits - whether you are retired, a student, a carer, employed or unemployed, you may be due some benefits, and the sad fact is that no-one is going to call you up or knock on your door and tell you that! Check out a site where you can (anonymously) enter your income and personal details to check whether there are benefits you are missing out on. You don't have to give your name or address or NI number, or anything else that would identify you, you mostly only have to click on "Yes" or "No" and it will take you through the process. Give it a go - it only takes a few minutes - you have nothing to lose and may be something to gain!

Happy Frugal New Year!


I know I've blogged about the sales before this, but actually, I've just remembered how expensive everything I was looking at seemed to be, before Christmas. I mean really, really unusually expensive.
Yes, really - I couldn't believe just how ludicrous some of the prices were. We are being cynically manipulated by the retailers into believing that these items really
are worth those inflated prices - then, hey presto! in the sales we are being told that prices are "50% off" - or, actually "up to 50%". So when you actually come to buy an item you often realise it's only got 5% or 10% off it anyway! (That would be 5% or 10% off the 300% they put on the price when the item went out on the shelves).
Sorry for being a post Christmas grouch, but I'm really fed up with the manipulation of the large retailers. We as the buyers, would like a bit of respect. I for one, would rather have a genuine 10% discount, than an inflated 50% off an item whose price had been doubled a month before!
Remember this: an item is only worth what people are prepared to pay for it. Think about it.

Thursday, 24 December 2009


Before I give myself a day or two off for Christmas - I thought I'd just tell you about some emails I've already had today, telling me about the sales.
It's sale time - don't go out, don't do any more wrapping, or present buying (just kidding) instead, take a look at the online sales at Matalan, Debenhams and probably many others. You don't have to pay to park, you don't have to cope with the crowds or queue for a coffee - sit down with your cuppa in your own comfy chair and de-stress for a couple of hours!
Of course, it's much more frugal not to buy anything at all - however, if you have January and February birthdays to buy for like I do (or even next year's Christmas presents?), then there are a few 50% off bargains to be had.
All that said - look carefully at your presents tomorrow - dare I say it? You could consider some careful "regifting" - now that is very frugal!
Have a good Christmas!

Thursday, 3 December 2009


I'm sure I'm not alone in being surprised to find out from a BBC consumer programme recently that many people are paying their water companies for Surface Water Drainage that they don't use!

Apparently, if you live within close proximity of the coast, a lake or river, it could be that your run-off goes into that and therefore if your water company is charging you incorrectly for the service, you can get the charge removed and any past payments refunded!

Check your bill and 'phone your water company - they WILL NOT contact you! They do not want to give back money. The gentleman featured was refunded in excess of £200! In his case, he pointed out to the water company that many people in flats on the marina development had not been refunded - and were still paying for this service incorrectly! The water company knew - but said they weren't going to refund and remove the charge unless each resident rang individually!

Someone else I know personally has asked for his refund to be given to him as an actual payment (not just a credit on his bill) and was refused - I'm not sure this is legal - but I'll see what I can find out and let you know!

Update - it would appear that claims for refunds can only be backdated to the beginning of the current financial year. See more at the OFWAT site.