Cost Of Living Tristan on 07 Jul 2008 10:28 am
I suspect most people are suffering with the effects of the credit crunch, soaring petrol prices, rising energy bills and lastly increased grocery bills. There seems no end in sight to the misery, with the Bank of England under pressure to raise interest rates in the future as inflation is on the rise (no surprise given the rising cost of money, fuel and energy).
As humans though, we need to have fun, or at least entertain ourselves, we can’t simply just sit in our houses with the lights off staring at the tv, hoping that things will come good.
So if your budgets are being stretched, you need to reduce your spending, you can’t reduce the spending too much on your mortgage if you are tied in, nor can you reduce your spending on petrol, other than shopping around to find the cheapest (use www.petrolprices.com) the same goes for utilities, you can switch to save a bit of money, but that’s about all you can do.
What areas can you reduce your spending on then? Your weekly grocery shop, your entertainment and arguably your vacations.
Over the weekend, I tackled two of these areas. On Friday night, instead of going out, we stayed in, but had a nice meal. We did the Marks & Spencer £10 meal deal, which got us a main course, a side, a dessert and a bottle of wine for £10. The quality of the food and wine was good. It wasn’t quite the same as going out for a meal, but a very good substitute, and it probably saved us £30-£40.
To tackle the weekly shop, we decided this week we would go and shop at Lidl. We used to shop at Sainsbury’s as it’s the most convenient place for us, but as finances have become squeezed, and I noticed that the weekly shopping bill was between £60-£70, we’ve more recently been shopping at Asda, and making a considerable saving. So we thought we’d give Lidl and Aldi a go, this week Lidl, next week Aldi.
Our first impression was that Lidl is far less enticing than Sainsbury’s, with all the produce just stacked on pallettes. The prices are low, though there were a few things that we could get cheaper in other supermarkets. Like squash, which we currently buy 1litre bottles from Sainsbury’s at 18p. We couldn’t beat that price at Lidl’s.
What we did find quite cheap was things like shower gel, at 17p a bottle and fabric conditioner at less than £1 for a big bottle. Generally there were some good savings to be made, and we managed to get a weeks shopping done for £34, which is pretty good in my opinion.
After doing the shopping, we decided to go and have a cheap afternoon. We have a book in Bristol, called the Invitation Book, which has lots of vouchers for discounts on restaurants, cafes, cinemas, days out etc.
After the shopping, I had a look in the book and found vouchers to give us 20% off a meal at an eatery next to the cinema, and 2 for 1 on cinema tickets. So we went and had a cheap bite to eat and watched a flick all for just over £20. So with the money we’ve saved on the weekly shopping and having a very pleasant meal in on Friday night, instead of a meal out, we were able to enjoy a nice relaxing Sunday afternoon, good food and a good film. So in spite of the credit crunch and general doom and gloom of the economy, you can spend a little wisely and still have some fun!