Monday, 5 February 2018

Proud? Ashamed? Which?

I tackled the Dyson!  I feel proud about that.  It wasn't easy.  (Can you tell that I'm talking myself up?)

When I got it up on the table there were three screws which needed removing in order to get the soleplate off.  Two came out easily.  One didn't.  

Feeling resourceful I looked on line and found that the technical name for my problem is "a screw with a stripped head".  If nothing else this experience has expanded my vocabulary.  Sole plate.  Screw with stripped head.  

The recommended method for removing said screws is to get a large rubber band and lay it over the screw in the hope that the rubber will fill the gaps and allow extraction.

So I way-laid the postie.  Fortunately I feed him ice lollies in the summer so we get on very well.  He gave me a band and one extra for luck.  

Even my lucky band didn't work.  The screw remained firmly in place.  I was feeling like a helpless woman, a feeling which I deeply resent.

I also worked out how to use my new camera!
But then I had an idea and raided my crafting stuff for some long nose pliers.  Using those I managed to grip the screw and turn it.  Off came the soleplate and from then on it was a doddle to clear the blockage.  I've ordered new screws which will be delivered tomorrow.  I hope I still feel proud when I can finally use The Thing.

Because I also feel ashamed at how much I managed to get out of my blocked machine.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Fulfilling Dreams

I had to take early retirement (on the grounds of ill health) when I was fifty eight and I wasn't a happy bunny.  My early retirement income was inadequate and I didn't like not earning my living.  Things had to change.

It's now eight years since I retired and other pensions have now kicked in so I have an adequate pension income and, strictly speaking, no longer need to earn.  However, for me, that is only half the story.  I like the feeling of earning, I still have dreams to fulfil and over the years I've found ways to supplement my income.

I've written about two of those ways here - surveys and comping (entering competitions).  Surveys are very tedious to be honest, but I spend quite a lot of time on my own and with my feet up, so I've got time to do them.  The hourly rate is very poor.  I'm quite quick at doing them but I am screened out of the vast majority which I start and I reckon I get about £2 an hour overall.  Still, it's £2 which I wouldn't otherwise have.

Comping is very hard to quantify as, of course, it's largely down to luck.  As far as earning an income is concerned it's not really a good idea.  However, the prizes I win give me a bit of fun, they replenish the birthday present drawer and sometimes I am able to sell prizes on E Bay.

My biggest source of non pension income is when I fill in when no regular clergy are available.  The pay rate isn't huge but no-one ever went into Christian ministry for the money, I hope!  I get a huge buzz from doing the work and the fees pay for treats.

My earning potential isn't huge but it means that I can continue to fulfil a few dreams even in retirement.

Friday, 2 February 2018

A Freebie - well, sort of.

I do loads of market research surveys.  They are not a method of earning extra income which I would recommend to everyone but I live alone so no-one is wanting my conversation and I need to keep my feet up quite a bit so online surveys are  OK for me.  The companies pay me in cash or Amazon vouchers and that makes a small but significant supplement to my pensions

Once I had been doing on-line surveys for a year or two I started to get invitations to do other things.  One of the "other things" is that I'm on a scanning panel.  This means that whenever I've been shopping I scan the bar codes for all my purchases (scanner provided) and send the information to the research company. It can be a bit of a faff to do it straight after going shopping but heigh ho, it's not really difficult.

In return for my efforts I get points which can be used to buy quite a wide range of goods.   I've been accruing points for about a year and I decided to use some of them to buy a camera -and it's arrived today.  Amazon lists it at £89.95 so suddenly that faffing around with a scanner feels a bit more worthwhile.

And maybe I can start putting a few more photos on my blogs.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Fun Filled Frugal Flinging February

I do like a bit of alliteration!

But it is February.

I need to be careful with the cash.

And the house needs to lose weight.

And I want to have fun.

So that's the agenda for the month.  

My first frugal challenge is to try and avoid flinging my vacuum cleaner.  This is one of the areas where I miss Jack, my gardener, handyman and friend who is currently waiting for a knee replacement.  I have a twenty year old Dyson DC01.  The DC01 was the original upright vacuum cleaner which Dyson made, and mine has been a real workhorse.  It's had to have its wheels replaced as I once had a wonderful cleaning lady who was very rough with vacuum cleaners and Dyson suffered.  It occasionally gets blocked because I expect too much of it.   However, Jack has always ticked me off and then sorted the problems.  It's now no longer cleaning, just re-arranging the dirt.

Now it's down to me.  I've found Youtube videos and I've found instructions on line.

I may be some time.  But I may save some money.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Railway journeys

I've chosen a new-to-me car but it's at Atherton, the opposite side of the country to where I live so I need to book a railway ticket so I can go and collect it.  This is always one of those projects which takes time.

My nearest station is Market Rasen, Lincolnshire so I searched for Market Rasen to Atherton, which is near Manchester.  I use a Senior Railcard which gives me 30% off on all fares and £28.50 came up as the cheapest.

However, I noticed that I would have to change at Barnetby, a station again not far from me so I search again, this time for a journey from Barnetby to Atherton.  This came up as £30.95.  How can that be?

I then decide to see if it would be cheaper to split my ticket.  The price is now £15.25.  Same train.  Same journey.  (I've decided to travel from Barnetby because I can get a lift there.)

Splitting my ticket does not mean splitting my journey.  It is the same train and I  do not have to get off the train, providing the train actually stops at the place where my ticket splits.

The site I used to find my tickets is  Don't forget that I also used my Senior Railcard which, of course, I bought with Tesco vouchers.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Some have frugality thrust upon them

Why is it that nothing ever goes to plan?  I'd expected January to be a minimum spend month.  Christmas is over, everything to be paid this month was planned for and I had few needs.

Except I have to buy a car.  This is a major headache.  I need a specialised vehicle and can't just spend a tedious afternoon trawling local forecourts.  Instead I have to travel considerable distances to view used wheelchair accessible vehicles.  This costs money.  I always have my cars professionally inspected before I buy.  That costs even more money.  And although I got a fair settlement from my insurers I decided that it would be sensible to buy something a little newer so that has cost money too.  Grr.

But Grr isn't enough.  I have to trim my spending, maybe delay a couple of things, look for extra cash wherever I can so that I can rebuild my reserves.

So this month I'm being super careful.  

My first target is grocery spending so today I've decided to make bread instead of buying it.

My subscriptions to three organisations are due this month but they could be delayed until February.  I'm normally very well on time but this year subscriptions will have to wait a month.

And I've decided to make a tinned goods list to encourage me to use a few more of those.  

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

A Very Nice Man!

Sometimes I can't believe my own stupidity and tonight was one of those times

Whenever I have a home delivery of groceries I immediately set up a new basket ready for the next delivery, usually a month hence.  Then over the next three or four weeks I can see what I need and add or deduct from my basket.  Usually the system works well and my £40 minimum basket is very carefully chosen consisting mainly of cleaning materials, heavy stuff and frozen food, all of which I am only too happy for someone else to carry for me.

I had such a basket set up for tonight and had kept amending it over the past four seeks since my last delivery.  Unfortunately I had forgotten to re-check out the basket and I suddenly remembered at 23.50 last night.  Last amendments are at 23.45 so tonight the man arrived with about ten pounds worth of groceries to which would be added £1 for delivery and £4 because my total shop was below the £40 limit.  Not a very sensible way to shop.

But the delivery man was very sympathetic and said, he'd take the whole lot back "because he had been unable to deliver it" and I will get a full refund.  How's that for a nice man?

And how's that for a dozy shopper?