Author Topic: Rising Prices and the Cost of Living  (Read 1149 times)

ditchdwellers

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Rising Prices and the Cost of Living
« on: 14 Sep 2022 10:58AM »
With everything currently going up in price from food to fuel to energy costs I thought it might be useful if we had a thread sharing cost saving tips or offers that we've seen that might be of interest to other Ouchers.


For instance have you found a really energy efficient method of batch cooking or simple draft proofing techniques?


How about Grants or Benefits that people can access?


Let's start a discussion on how we can keep ourselves warm and well fed this winter when confronted with higher prices everywhere.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Rising Prices and the Cost of Living
« Reply #1 on: 14 Sep 2022 06:17PM »
Timings - if you don't have to keep to specific timings that would preclude this - maybe alter your sleeping times relative to daylight times.  Also, if physically moving warms you, maybe alter your activity pattern if you are able to, to alternate activities requiring more or less mobility. 

If you're on medication that affects how warm you feel, see if tweaking the time you take it, taking into consideration safety issues like whether you need to take it at the same time as food or spaced out every few hours or whatever, makes a difference.  I have found, for instance, that taking my thyroxine when I get up in the night to go to the loo has left me warmer in bed than I have been for years (and I have thermometers next to the bed, so I know whether that's just weather changes or not).

I recently bought, for about a pound each, a handheld carpet sweeper (plastic box with handle containing two rollers) and a handheld (mini) dustpan and brush.  I just thought they'd be convenient for getting up crumbs round my desk, then thought how actually they'll save electricity over time.

(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

JLR2

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Re: Rising Prices and the Cost of Living
« Reply #2 on: 24 Sep 2022 10:37PM »
I've been fairly lucky over recent months in that I have an electric agreement with my current (no pun intended) supplier which is due for renewal come 2023, April I think, so where things like food matter I've still my Berkel and it has proved its worth for me and I have best part of 30lbs of ham in the freezer ready for roasting to see me well into next year. For me things like buying my hams from my local butcher would have been near impossible were it not for my having begun putting money into a wee account I opened with them years back.


Obviously very few people look to have a large slicing machine sitting in their kitchen but there are smaller machines, not much bigger than a 4 slice toaster which could allow folk to slice things like tinned corned beef or chopped pork to see it last that wee bit longer.


A recent change brought about through my learning from Microsoft that they were soon to end providing updates to their Windows 8.1 system saw me having to get a new computer and this led eventually to me talking to BT regarding my broadband package which was also due to come up for renewal. This call with BT has led to a surprise saving for me as I discovered BT has a package available to folk in my situation, on income related ESA, which they only required my date of birth and NI number to confirm with the DWP in order to put me onto their lower cost package. If I mind right the package is referred to as BT Essentials, the difference in cost sees my monthly bill going from £49+ to £20.


I don't know quite when we are going to see the current mild weather leave us but whilst it is here I've been spending much of my time out in the back yard finding various wee things to do to tidy the place up and keep me from being indoors with the telly on all day. I'm still heading over to Berlin at the end of the year for a few weeks and, as is my habit, I've booked early to get as cheap a flight as I can and found a hotel near the airport that is well below the average prices being asked by many b and b's. I have not a clue how I would do any of my travelling were it not for the fact that I do not have any parental responsibilities and with my clearing my mortgage and the car paid off years back I doubt I'd be as I am today.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Rising Prices and the Cost of Living
« Reply #3 on: 25 Sep 2022 01:22AM »
I'm with Virgin for phone and internet and I'm not entitled to a discount, but also they're like so many service & utility providers in that if you don't keep haggling, you get ripped off.

A couple of years back, a neighbour came round and gave them hell down the phone, but even then he only got my bill down to £60/month and now it's back up to £70.

I think I'm going to have to change supplier to get offered a fairer deal.

Dad had BT here, and I only changed to Virgin because I wanted to keep my Virgin email, which I was using to sort out all his financial stuff, and then he died, so I kept it, but I don't really need my Virgin email now, and anyway I've got major problems with it so I'm abandoning it anyway.

I hate the fact that I'm so hopeless at getting a fair deal.  People pick up the vibe.  It's not just with cable, it's with people who provide other goods and services.

As I type this, it's time to go back to basics and find a hard-nosed neighbour to get me fixed up with a new cable contract.  So there's a recommendation - if anyone, like me, isn't good at negotiating fair deals, find someone who is. 

I confess to having 'borrowed' other people's husbands in the past to play 'dominant male' for me when trying to get a good deal and when trying to get people not to rip me off.  Women can negotiate hard as well, it's just that if, like me, you seem easy to rip off, then if you play 'coercively controlled female', it actually makes the man you use for the interaction seem a more ferocious opponent in the negotiation.

I'm told by men I know that it can work the same in reverse.  One neighbour says he uses the "My wife wouldn't let me do that" strategy and it works.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

JLR2

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Re: Rising Prices and the Cost of Living
« Reply #4 on: 25 Sep 2022 10:06AM »
Good morning Sunny. It might be worth giving BT  a call to see/ask what they might be able to offer re your broadband and phone package. The package I have with them now includes, BT Digital voice (this new BT thing involves getting their most recent router into which you plug your phone into the back of, BT also provide two digital phones free of charge that work with this system) my unlimited broadband, anytime calls without limit, my email access and my international freedom package that allows me 600 minutes free before the reduced call rate begins.


It might be the case that BT may offer to cover any charges involved in leaving your current broadband/phone package.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Rising Prices and the Cost of Living
« Reply #5 on: 25 Sep 2022 11:37AM »
Thanks, JLR, I'll check it out.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

ditchdwellers

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Re: Rising Prices and the Cost of Living
« Reply #6 on: 25 Sep 2022 12:51PM »
I use the Phone Co Op for my phone and broadband connection. It costs me £30 a month for the package I have and the customer service has always been excellent. The company I've used before is Zoom and they're customer service is excellent too. I only moved from them because I wanted to move to a company that shared the same ethical beliefs as me and I've no complaints.


Customer service is important to me, more so than overall price in the end, as I've been with companies before that take days to respond to problems or faults and I rely on being able to get in touch with people.

ditchdwellers

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Re: Rising Prices and the Cost of Living
« Reply #7 on: 26 Sep 2022 11:53AM »
I managed to reduce my home contents insurance for the flat considerably this year by getting a different quote from another company.
I often encounter difficulties getting insurance cover as I was once turned down for life insurance 30 odd years ago, so when they ask the question "have you ever been declined for any type of insurance cover in the past?", if I'm to answer honestly then the it's "yes."


Most of the big companies won't touch me as I don't get past the automatic screening so I'm left with the smaller companies who actually talk to you and let you explain the circumstances. When we moved in I was just grateful to find a company to insure us so I immediately went with them even though they were expensive, although to be honest I was out of touch with house contents insurance after dealing with boat insurance for 23 years!
This year I had more time to think about it and asked the people that insure my powerchair for a quote. It was £40 a month cheaper for the same level of cover plus they weren't charging me a credit charge for paying monthly, unlike the previous company. That's such a lot of money that I couldn't believe how much less it was.


So of course I changed and it got me thinking about how easy it is to stay with one provider and assume that's the best price you can get due to your circumstances when there are actually other options available. I can kick myself for staying with them longer than I needed to.
In future I'll make the time to shop around more.

Sunshine Meadows

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Re: Rising Prices and the Cost of Living
« Reply #8 on: 25 Oct 2022 06:18PM »
When it comes to house insurance I will shop around but for car insurance the fact I use hand controls makes it more difficult so this year I stayed with the firm I was already with


Mortgage company are going to phone tomorrow morning and I an considering selling the car to bring my debt down. Mr Sunshine is all for it because he wont have to take stuff to the tip for me anymore.


The trick with Virgin Media seems to be say your are leaving and wait for them to blink first. Ours is currently £37 a money. I also discovered that EE has better coverage where I am so I got a deal with them for £15 a month. It includes a chunk of data  so If the power goes off I can Google What has happened?.


Food prices are going up and up so I am trying to pick and choose better. It does not always work especially with frilly food.


I remember when we were kids we would make toffee from sugar and water. My teeth are aching just thinking of that memory.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Rising Prices and the Cost of Living
« Reply #9 on: 25 Oct 2022 11:29PM »
I'm very aware that I'm lucky to have savings, but it still makes sense to try and cut  back on various things.  I'm mind-boggled as to how people are surviving if they're on the bare minimum of benefits or minimum wage.  I've been through bad patches when younger, including when I lost my home, found a place to rent, but then left my job and had a two month wait for benefits to come through, in the days when you weren't supposed to have to wait.  I had spare food in the house - what if I hadn't?  I had kind neighbours who kept 'accidentally' cooking too much and 'taking advantage of my kindness' in accepting their leftovers.  What if they'd been struggling to buy food for themselves?

I still find the darkness of the streets eerie.  Usually there's so much light pollution that if I pop in my kitchen or bathroom at night I don't bother to put the light on.  That's tricky now.

I wish to hell, though, that I had a partner or friend who was a good, savvy negotiator with connections, who could strike good deals, find the best bargains, find workmen and professionals that wouldn't rip us off etc., instead of being alone and not coping.

If it weren't for the two messageboards I go on and a very small number of real life friends, plus lots of lovely people I bump into in the neighbourhood, I'd have given up by now.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunshine Meadows

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Re: Rising Prices and the Cost of Living
« Reply #10 on: 27 Oct 2022 01:02PM »
 :big_hugs: :big_hugs: :big_hugs:

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Rising Prices and the Cost of Living
« Reply #11 on: 27 Oct 2022 02:25PM »
We live in such weird times.  Like house prices.  If your house is paid for and is your main financial asset, rocketing house prices can be great, crashing house prices not.  If you want a house and don't have one, the opposite is true.

If you're playing "Juggle the ownership", whether that's merging or splitting, whether that's in the context of couples, families following inheritance, business partnerships etc. it gets messier, doesn't it?

In terms of my own family circumstances, I'm hoping the house prices crash but without any banks crashing without bail-outs.  We'll see.  In saying that, I lost out in a previous crash (long story), but didn't resent those that gained*, yet now I struggle not to feel guilty at hoping the prices will crash so that I can get back some of what I lost in terms of security of future.

Madness.

(* Edited because I wrote 'didn't resent those that lost' by mistake, which was a gobbledygook typo.)
« Last Edit: 03 Nov 2022 02:12PM by Sunny Clouds »
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunshine Meadows

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Re: Rising Prices and the Cost of Living
« Reply #12 on: 03 Nov 2022 01:26PM »
You are so right about Juggle the ownership being messier . In order to get a mortgage in my own name the deeds have to be amended to remove any other names. The people getting their names removed need to trust that the new 'sole owner' will do the right thing once the mortgage is paid. I know someone who is being scapegoated not because they did something but because a member of the family started a rumour and the rumour stuck.
I would be interested to see research on how much parents and siblings help those less fortunate in the same family. For those of use who are incapacitated early on maintaining a reality of unquestioning loyalty for the giver can end up being exhausting.
Back to the cost of living ,,,,, today the house is very cold and I was okay this morning because I was able to move around doing housework pottering which kept me warm. Once I stopped the cold got into my bones and the frigid air is making my face and teeth ache. I may have to go back to bed.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Rising Prices and the Cost of Living
« Reply #13 on: 03 Nov 2022 02:14PM »
I've noticed that I'm particularly cold sitting at my desk, but much warmer in bed.  I'm pretty sure it's to do with the size of the room and layout of the house.  I need to get more physically active, though.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)