Saturday, 28 April 2012

LAST CHANCE TO GET STAMPS BEFORE THE ROYAL MAIL POSTAGE RATES GO UP ON MONDAY!

Unless you've been marooned on a desert island or living without any electronic means of communication, you cannot have failed to have heard that Royal Mail is to increase all its postage rates from Monday April 30th. You have today (and possibly Sunday in some shops) to buy up stamps to save yourself a bit of money.
This means that the cost of posting a first class letter under 100g will now rise to 60p (from 46p) and a second class 50p (from 36p).  This is a rise of over 70% and is, we are told, a bid to save Royal Mail!
Parcels and large letters have risen too, but for parcels, this is slightly more complicated, as some of the lower scales of weight charges have been done away with - for example there are (until Monday) four levels of weight for packets up to 750g; up to 100g, 250g, 500g, 750g but, from Monday, there is at the lower end, only one scale - up to 750g.
Of course, if your parcel is only 125g you will pay £2.70 (First Class) or £2.20 (Second Class), but if your parcel is just under 750g then you will pay £2.70 (First) £2.20 (Second) which is cheaper than at present!
I have bought my Second Class stamps for Christmas cards as, if you buy stamps that just say 1st or 2nd on them, then you can carry on using them however much they rise in price. I know, of course, this won't help in future years and only really delays the inevitable!
As Christmas is the one time that even hardened email and text senders will use the postal system, I wonder how all this will affect the sale of Christmas cards and the sending of small gifts in the post? 
I am determined this year that I will not be posting cards to people that I can walk to! This, of course always needs forward planning and I own up to rushing around in the car (using precious petrol) at the last minute, posting cards that I promised myself I would not use a stamp on! 
Ah well - I do try!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

THE HOSEPIPE BAN AND ITS EXEMPTIONS

Much of the country now has a hosepipe ban, but there are certain exclusions for some people - and you could be one of them.
Some water authorities - and not all - have made an exemption for people over 65 so that they can continue to use their hosepipes, but this by no means universal and the you will need to visit the website of your water provider (not your sewage company - they are not necessarily the same) and check its exemptions to the hosepipe ban.  
Read carefully however, as my own water company initially offered this exemption to people over 65, but have now withdrawn it and are now only offering it to those people who have mobility problems and possess a local authority Blue Badge. There are of course also general exemptions mainly to do with business use.
As I'm on a water meter we stopped general use of hoses a long time ago and have two large water butts to harvest rainwater from our roof. This still seems the most eco friendly (and cheap) way to use water, especially as our water charges have just had a massive hike!
More water saving ideas here and here!

RANDOM MONEY-SAVING TIP NUMBER 4: MAKE YOUR OWN WATERING CAN

Despite the rain forecast for the whole of this week, half the country is now officially in drought and under a hosepipe ban. Watering cans are costing ridiculous sums of money and if you have a lot of plants to water or an allotment to care for, you are going to need more than one!
I've just found this ingenious idea on the Hawaian Gardening Blog - make your own watering can! 
All you need is a large detergent bottle (one with a handle), a small drillbit that will make tiny holes in the screw cap and a craft knife. Drill lots of holes in the lid and cut a small hole by the handle to enable water to flow freely - done!
 Catch up with all the Random Money-Saving Tips so far...

THE TERRIBLE TYRANNY OF TESCO "LUXURY SOFT" TOILET ROLLS!

Tesco does it again - tries to fool us that it cares, that its prices are fair, that it offers a good deal - well here's an example of Tesco shenanigans of the worst kind. 
An 18 roll pack of Tesco Luxury Soft toilet rolls seemed like a bargain at £6.50 - so I decided not to go for the Andrex 18 roll pack at £7 from Amazon, but to save myself 50p. My purse may have been happy, my bottom however, did not thank me - and here's why:
Mixed in with Tesco's "Luxury Soft" 18 rolls are at least 2 rolls of very rough, very un-"luxury", sandpaper-like toilet paper. 
I have found this before in their larger packets, where one roll is very rough and cheap, but now it seems they are sneaking a few more in to fleece us.
So here's the bottom line - so to speak, I'm fed up with Tesco and its cynical price manipulation- how about you?

Sunday, 8 April 2012

IT'S THE EASTER SCHOOL HOLIDAYS AND IT'S RAINING!

Yes, the British weather has done it again - managed to promise us rain all this coming week. So you probably won't be doing all those out doors-y things like long walks, trips to the park or woods and all those indoors-y attractions seem to cost an arm and a leg, don't they?
Well, here's a bit of help Dorling Kindersley have collected for us a great resource of things to do for kids (they even have an adults section too!). There are activity sheets, quizzes, colouring, screensavers, recipes, ideas for things to grow and make and loads more.
Take a look HERE for more ideas for school holidays!