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Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Don't be too proud, there are many ways of stretching the pound in your pocket!

When I were a wee lad my father had a habit of looking at little sayings and where he felt they didn't have enough punch, he'd change them into something a little more meaningful to a young impressionable lad. One such saying was "Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves". "Rubbish" he thought! What would that mean to a wee lad, so he gave me the following advice which, in my 72 years (64 actually as I was eight when he told me) I have never forgotten. This was "Take care of the pennies and you can have fun squandering the pounds".

So I have always been looking for ways to save the pennies and always have fun spending the pounds. Especially when I was out of work - and in those days I never sought benefits from tax-payers.

The secret is not to be proud. I always pop in when I pass a charity shop and I have a beautiful Jaeger suit I paid £15 for - in Fenwicks they were around £450 - probably much more nowadays. And I have a lovely Jermyn Street shirt - worth about £180 which I paid only £2.75 for (marked down as it had double cuffs). My corner shop tailor changed this to normal cuffs for a tenner so I was well pleased.

Charity Shops.

Plenty around but now that the economy is in a bad state, many of the larger chains have put up their prices. Not a very nice gesture, however our local North London Hospice are still very cheap and this was where I found my Jermyn Street bargain mentioned above.

Charging more isn't a reason not to visit the other shops as if you find something you like, it will still be a very small percentage of the shop price.

Most of the supermarkets state that they sell x number of products cheaper than a rival. You must ignore this and rather look over the last four major receipts you have, make a list of the type of products you personally prefer to purchase, and visit a proposed supermarket and check only those prices. It matters not a jot if a lot of the cheaper items are those you don't buy!

We recently checked Tesco's prices with Aldi in North Finchley. Some of the items were a lot cheaper, others were a lot more expensive. So we made a list of those items which were cheaper and use Aldi for those items only.


We popped in this morning to have a look. We weren't intending to buy anything as we suspected it was not as cheap as people thought and in general we were right.

We purchased nine items, but at the same time checked all the items we wanted. There were 24 items, but only nine were worth more than the pound we paid for them.

If we find we have to meet someone for a drink we always try to steer them to Wetherspoons as a pint of beer is only around £2.50 each for any of their beers, most other pubs charge between £3.50 and £4.50 so that is quite a considerable saving and they have a nice low priced restaurant on the first floor (second floor if you are from the USA).

Many readers will read this and think "I can't be bothered with all this" and this is fair enough. You are probably in a well paid job and time is more precious than cost. Others will prefer to purchase from supermarkets on the Internet. We tried this but in the end my wife rebelled as she likes to pick out the produce with a longer shelf life - something the supermarket "collectors" never seem to bother about.

If anyone has any other ideas to save money, please fill those in under the comments section below.

However, just buying cheaper, to save money, without taking into consideration quality is not a good move.

"Cheap" is not good, but "value for money is." I am reminded of the famous quote of John Ruskin (1819 – 1900) who was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, and also an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist and who said: “There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are this man's lawful prey.”

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