Sit back, relax, wind the window down a bit, turn the radio up and soak up this lovely ECONOMY DRIVE we're currently enjoying!
Thanks to strict parental upbringings, I am delighted to report that we have already, over the space of four days – and even with the country tipping the 20 percent VAT scale – made a cumulative total of £30 per month savings! (That’s if you average out each individual saving over the course of the year, divide it by twelve and take away the first number you thought of. Of course).
What we didn’t bank on (d’you see what I did there?) was the unhelpful manner in which our quest to Cut Back would be dealt with.
Virgin were never going to be an easy mark, so we thought we’d start by culling the TV channels we don’t need. I mean, I grew up with BBC 1 and 2 and a little-known-never-thought-it-would-catch-on channel called Anglia. And THAT was too much choice at times. Nope, if there’re more than two channels then there’s too much chance of missing something on t’other side – which is why God invented TV recording devices. It’s like the proverbial wardrobe, isn’t it? What woman in her right mind needs more than two pairs of shoes? There’s a Staying In pair (they’d be soft, fluffy, silent) and there’s a Going Out pair (durable, comfortable, ideally slip-on). Who needs another pair of footwear when you can’t afford to go anywhere to wear them anyway?
And after we’d managed to convince the nice person at Virgin that No, we Didn’t Want to Upgrade – we wanted to DOWNgrade, we asked if they could suggest anything else to help reduce our monthly outgoings with them (Broadband, Landline) to which it all went silent. They are clearly not used to being asked these things.We mentioned abandoning the phone line, which we very rarely use, at which we were informed that if we cut this service then we’d automatically lose our monthly discount for using all 3 services and it would end up costing us more if we got rid of one of them.
The Bank were no better really.
After we’d told them we wanted to revert back to a Standard Current Account with no monthly service charges, they immediately suggested reducing it from £12.50 to £7.50 for three months and then reverting back. Not helpful. Not really. Not long-term anyway. And did we realise we’d lose ‘key benefits’ like RAC membership (we still have 10 months of this assistance with our car, so this is needless duplication). Mobile phone insurance (which is covered on home insurance – at least parts of it are) and travel insurance (which, considering we go away on average ONCE per year it’d still cost us less than £20 when/if we do take it out) so thanks, but losing ‘key benefits’ would still mean we’d be saving money in the long term.
They just don't like the idea of having to melt down our Gold cards and replace them with whatever colour card indicates the pond-scum equivalent of the Banking fraternity.
The Go Compare people were altogether nicer. At least you haven’t actually got to lift the phone and TALK to anybody anyway. We dutifully went through our online Gas/Electric statements for the past 12 months, added up all the energy Units we’d used for each over the year and then entered it into the little comparison box. Lo and behold were are immediately told that if we switch to a lesser known company, then we will save £350/year. Which, I know remains to be seen, but it’s a step in the right direction, right?
Add to this the fact that we’ve VOWED not to visit Sainsbury’s again until every last crumb has been scraped off the bottom of each freezer drawer, then I think we’re going to be moving in the right direction.
Or at least not be in such dire financial straits as we find ourselves right now.
And I don’t particularly fancy having to downsize the house just yet – not when I’ve just hoovered the stairs anyway.