Prices going up, inflation and trying to stay positive

So, driving to church and notice fuel has gone up again. The food bank in my church is being used a bit more before and utility bills are just crazy.

So what to do? Go and moan on the internet and shout and scream and blame the government, capitalism and Brexit?

I went through some of my finances this week, I normally find these things boring as heck. But as a total amateur at money stuff, I’ve made some really good discoveries. Here’s my discoveries

Switch to Lidl or Aldi for food shopping.

I’m blessed to have of these German style supermarkets next to my flat. This a lot of reasons to like Lidl. Their prices are really good. When you buy more expensive stuff like meat, you notice some decent savings. As an ethical company there are no automated tills in my local store, they openly declare they pay their staff more money, and there is no annoying political flags put out or anything else divisive.

Their app gives you as well as voucher codes a few other nice incentives like a free danish pastry when its your birthday 🙂

The other best thing I like about Lidl is the occasional random fruit and veg boxes you can get for £1.50 which is close to end of life or torn packaging produce bundled into one box. This is great and never really see anything actually gone off at all.

Mobile phone

The price of airtime of a phone is a lot lower than it used to be. I am SIM only for the last few years, replacing my phone out of my own pocket only if it breaks or if there is a compelling feature of a new one that I really need (My Motorola G30 has 2 day battery and a really good camera)

I used to pay £25 for SIM only about 5 years ago I think, then £20 with Vodafone, then switched to Talkmobile for £10, then that changed to Voxi (both are part of Vodafone) now I’ve found another deal for basic SIM only with 4Gb of data for £5 a month, with it being even less for first few months.

This gives you web chat to ask questions rather than a call centre, but actually I’ve managed to ask to sort out problems no bother at all this way.

Switch banks

I decided to change banks as 1) one of them was offering a £125 incentive to change, 2) I wanted a bank that is ethical by not being controlled by a communist country or making people wear pronoun badges. 3) get a bit more interest on my money, seeing I was on the same bank I’ve been on the same account since I was a student.

Much of this stuff you find out from the excellent Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert website.

Poundland

For a lot of things there are great. Especially biscuits, pasta, sweets, batteries, cleaning materials, toiletries, small tools.

Even better is Sam 99p store which is only in London. They have spices and unusual Asian food.

I think the secret to these places are of course, economies of scale and buying in bulk, but these stores buy cancelled orders like some Kellogs cereal in Arabic. This was spotted at a time when the Saudis had a lost of about $100b due to sudden changes in oil prices. So therefore I think these boxes of cereal made in the UK or Europe with Arabic labels on them got cancelled from a big order and sold cheaply in Poundland.

Some things haven’t gone up, which confuses me.

Like alcohol in supermarkets. You know what, if the government has to put the prices up of anything it should be booze. It really shouldn’t be too cheap, and we don’t want people turning to this stuff when things are doing wrong in their lives. I bought a popular bottle of pale ale from Lidl this week which was 99p and a similar good one is £1.20. This has been about the same price since I bought this sometimes in Morrisons in Harrow, North London where I lived 2014-2017.

So why hasn’t this gone up? surely breweries need complex heating system which need gas as well as the obvious cost of transportation and retail and manufacturer staff needing a pay rise. So I am confused.

I hope anyone reading this gets a chance to look through your own spending habits and figure what you can fine tune to get better value at difficult times.

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