Well, The V.A.T all across the UK has jumped up from 17.5% to 20% today, and it plans to stay that way for quite a while.
Everyone has something to say about it, and so because I’m unabashedly British, here is my 2o pence out of every pound.
Adding 2.5% to the V.A.T isn’t actually that horrendous. It adds 6p to the average pint. It makes a £9.99 toy cost you £10.20. It adds a tenner to that 37 inch flat screen TV. It is however, adding it to the financial problems that a lot of households are already having due to the cuts in family & child benefits, rising costs in living and unemployment.
Looking after those pennies, mean the pounds look after themselves. Which is one of the reasons P is still whingeing about my whirring old DVD player (that I’ve had since I was 13) and the boxy CRT TV in the bedroom – I’m just too tight to buy a new one when the old ones still work fine, albeit a touch noisily.
My wage isn’t particularly fabulous. I’m £100 a week richer than those on the poverty line. And during the recession…well..hang on…I didn’t even notice the recession. I doubt a little hike in V.A.T is going to bother lil’ old me.
After all, my biggest expenditure after rent, is food which is V.A.T free. As are children’s clothes, magazines (phew…I can still get my fashion monthly!) and newspapers.
I’m not saying my way is the right way – to be honest I can get a bit like a crazy person about watching the pennies, and P & I are a 2 person family. With no kids and not pets, that drives our outgoings down a lot.
Yet being wary has kept me in cash, living in London (Zone 2) and still being able to enjoy a night out every now and then, all through that darn recession… and I’ll be keeping to my wary ways even though I’m not paying that Big Smoke rent anymore.
- Make a packed lunch – Prep it the night before if you aren’t a morning bunny. This can save you quite a bit of cash – I spent £11 one day at Uni just on food.
- Do you NEED it? or do you want it? – we don’t need a new DVD combi in the bedroom, P wants one….so he can wait.
- If you need that magazine every month, most mags do a cheaper rate for subscribers. I get my fashion mag for just over £1 a month, when it would cost me £2 in the shops…that’s £12 I can spend elsewhere and it’s delivered!
- Hang out your clothes, instead of using the tumble dryer – this saves money on your electric bills.
- Get one of those thingummys that measure how much electric you are using and converts into a penny by penny readout. I know you can register for one at NPower (if they are your provider) for free – I’m not allowed one, as it would freak me out too much, and I would make P live in the dark.
- eBay – I love it. Clothes, furniture, kitchen ware, toys, gifts….you name it…they sell it. Also…consider selling anything you don’t use.
- Buy secondhand – Charity shops, car boot sales, jumble sales, markets. Whoop whoop! Ooooo…..I love a good rummage.
- Make Do & Mend – It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but sewing up a hole in a sock saves buying a new one. Dyeing an old dress makes it brand new.
- Share and swap – this is what you have friends for! I share & swap clothes on nights out with my group of girls, meaning I can wear a new-to-me frock if I fancy!
- Gifts – Making up a hamper of VAT free food, or stuff you have made is so heartfelt. I also find parents appreciate when their children get (VAT free) clothes they need, rather than another plasticky toy they won’t play with after 5 minutes. My brothers always get PJs from us at Christmas, alongside socks, pants, or a cool t-shirt and jeans (with sweeties/playing cards in the pockets or inside the socks). They get so many Wii games and DVDs anyway, and they quite like the big squishy parcels.
- Car share – if you can share a lift, do it! It’s half the petrol.
- Use coupon or offer sites…there are like a thousand out there… http://www.couponmountain.co.uk/ http://www.freeinuk.co.uk/
- The one that saves us the most money is preparing a menu for the week. I know exactly what I have to buy for the meals I am going to cook. This saves more money than you realise!
I can’t think of anymore right now, but let me know your penny-pinching ideas!
Just don’t tell P, he already thinks I’m allergic to leaving lights on. What does he mean he can’t use his computer in the dark? Ridiculous!