Friday, 28 January 2011

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SAVE MONEY THIS WEEK?

Yes, everything's going up - petrol, diesel, clothes, food - everything that relies on road haulage - that's almost everything then - your savings interest rate is paltry and is not keeping up with inflation and you p[robably won't get a rise this year (or the next for that matter). It's grim - but I've decided to stop moaning and fight back, starting with these ideas:
  1. Make a decision - when my savings account reverts to a rubbish interest rate at the end of next month - I'm moving it. Rubbish rate? Then vote with your feet and WALK! Yes, it's effort I know - but if we all walk when we're offered derisory interest rates then perhaps it may just make a difference. At least we will have tried (and made a bit more money). Remember - the banks and building societies are relying on you being lazy and leaving your money to gather dust - and not much else! It saves them millions to pay for their own big, fat, yearly bonuses!
  2. Buy only when on offer. My washing up liquid is getting low - before it ran out I looked for an offer and found it - same price, same brand, different colour and perfume BUT, 50% extra in the bottle. Cereal bars have gone up in the recent VAT rise, but the ones I buy have gone up much more - so today instead of buying the fruity, virtuous, oaty, expensive ones (£2.02 a pack of 6) I bought the Cadbury's chocolatey, gooey, oaty ones (on offer at £1 a pack of 6). I won't always do this- but where possible I'm going to try!
  3. Make things last. While trying to get at the last centimetre of liquid soap in the dispenser, I resorted to adding some water - you know what? It didn't make any difference- still foamy, still cleans, still smells nice! I've read this tip before, but didn't really believe it could work - trust me - it does. I came straight downstairs and topped up the soap in the kitchen by one third with water. No difference.
  4. Use what I've got. I finished my shower gel and body lotion recently and couldn't believe that no-one (this year) bought me any for Christmas! So I went through my cupboards and drawers and dug out all those tiny tubes of shower gel, body lotion etc that come in fancy containers at Christmas - I collected them all together and before I buy myself a new shower gel or body lotion - I'm going to use them all up. Perhaps they may be a bit ancient - but I've not noticed any problems yet!
  5. Get some freebies. As before - gather together all those small sachets of shampoo, eye cream, perfume, moisturiser and conditioner that come glued to magazine pages or through Internet freebie sites and start using them up. You are actually making yourself money when you do this - as my Grandmother used to say, "Stock's as good as money!"
  6. Cut down on some electricity or gas. For 2 days this week, when it didn't rain, I hung out 4 loads of washing to dry and did not use the power hungry tumble dryer. I did not put the central heating on when I was at home in the daytime - I kept busy, then later, when I was cold, I put on an extra sweater. It works.
I'm not sure I'm going to be able to think of more things to do next week, but I've started - and so should you- just ask yourself "What am I going to do this week to save or make some money?" Do it this week and next week, plus each week try to add something new as well and soon it'll be second nature.
And you'll be richer.

FREE VALENTINES HEARTS COASTERS TO CROCHET

I don't think my beginner's crochet skills are quite up to making these lovely crochet Valentine's heart coasters yet, but if you can crochet, these make a gorgeous and practical gift or decoration for Valentine's Day.
Get the pattern HERE.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

GET YOUR CHRISTMAS PRESENTS NOW AT THE BODYSHOP!

If you're quick you can get all next Christmas's presents extra frugally at the Bodyshop. They have final clearance items from £3 with free standard delivery, plus 20% extra off at the checkout when you enter the code EXTRA. I don't really advocate spending all your hard-earned cash on sales in January, but this might mean a cheaper Christmas- and a more wealthy January 2012!

Monday, 10 January 2011

SUPERMARIO PLUSHIE TOY TO CROCHET FREE

I just had to share this free Supermario plushie crochet pattern with you all - I apologise to those of you who don't crochet (yet!) - I'm only a beginner-type dabbler where crochet is concerned myself, and I've never ever followed a pattern (yet!), so I won't be making this little chappie just yet.
While you're looking at the pattern, don't miss the huge list at the side of the page of all our kids' favourite creatures. There are patterns for all the Pokemon creatures, Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog and much more and they all look great.
It's not too early to start for Christmas 2011!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

VAT RISE ON FOOD - NOT SO SIMPLE AS IT SEEMS!

We all know that the basic rate of VAT went up yesterday from 17.50% to 20% and I was amazed last night to hear a BBC news announcer say that there was "no" VAT on food! He was implying that the rise did not affect food at all - an over simplification, in fact, quite incorrect.
The matter of VAT on food is overly complicated if not downright weird!
For example, McVitie's went to court some years ago to argue the point that its Jaffa Cakes are just that - cakes, so not vatable, whereas if they had been classed as a chocolate biscuit - yes, you guessed it- they would have had VAT added to their price. Incidentally, ordinary biscuits without chocolate coating are not vatable! In fact even chocolate chip cookies are not vatable - I suppose that's because the chocolate is on the inside not the outside (mainly).
It gets worse - an Arctic roll is vatable whilst cream gateaux are zero-rated, popcorn (ready-made) is vatable but microwave popcorn is not. Crisps are vatable, tortilla chips are zero-rated. Snacking raisins are vatable whereas raisins from the baking aisle are zero-rated. Flapjack bars are zero-rated but cereal bars are vatable and so will have risen in price yesterday - so you may save money by making your own - try my Seedy Flapjack Bars recipe!
It's a complete puzzle to me why things have been made so complicated, but if you want to know more, then take a look at the HMRC website. Although in all truth things are about as clear as mud on there as well!
If you shop in Tesco or Waitrose, items that are vatable are clearly marked on your receipt- if you have any old ones laying around the house it may be a good idea to check them. At least then you know which items that you buy, are going to go up and can vote with your feet and, where possible, avoid buying them.
In my opinion, all food should be zero rated. It is just ridiculous to try to classify some food items as a luxury and some not.


P.S. Also remember there is VAT on toilet rolls - so that is considered a luxury item then?