8 Dec 2008

Have You Been Crunching That Credit??

Credit Crunch!

Now that's a term that has been overused this year and will no doubt be used well into 2009. We're just beginning to recoup the term recession back into our vocabulary over here in the UK, but trust me, I don't care for either one.

So what have you been doing that's slightly or dramatically different since the tightening of the purse strings came into effect? We're reminded daily of job losses, interest rate cuts, savings accounts potentially in jeopardy, repossessions [foreclosures], stores shutting down all over the place and blah blah blah. It's hardly a time to be feeling financially secure, because for many the reality is setting in on whether their job is up for the chop in the near or long term future.

Some good has come out of it, but it all surrounds spending money.

We've had a 2.5% VAT cut
More sales with higher discounts
And cheaper flights out of this godforsaken doom and gloom

Those are the only things that seem to come to mind. I've noticed only a few differences in my spending habits.

  • I don't use my credit card anymore, unless it's for booking a holiday to make sure I'm protected.
  • I only buy food as and when I need it to save from wasting it.
  • I make sure I don't go straight for the MAC counter and see if I can get it cheaper from Boots [I managed to save 50% on what I usually pay on MAC]
  • Speaking of make-up I make sure every last grain of powder is used. Where I didn't before I could have had 6 weeks more use out if it. And at £23 a time I'm not wasting a bit of it anymore.
  • I don't buy clothes anymore. I have no more wardrobe space left and a few months ago before this recession got really big I'd done a few weeks of racking up a few grands worth of clothing and accessories which will literally keep me going for the next year. I got rid of half the clothes and replaced them all.
  • I've cut down on the DVD's dramatically to literally not spending at all, but I need a lil something so I will treat myself to a box set every week. Realistically £14.99 a week is not going to hurt. Now it's just a case of deciding which one.
  • Bringing in lunch to work. This hasn't worked very well for me recently but will try and be more disciplined rather than spending £5 each and every day on lunch.
  • I've stopped using Itunes and now use Legalsounds instead. I paid $1.17 [£0.82] for Britney's Circus album compared with the usual £7.99 on Itunes. Each song is $0.09 on Legal Sounds. I'm not using Limewire anymore I'm not able for my ISP to send me a letter giving me a warning for downloading from there.
  • I buy the cheaper brands in the supermarket which shaves £'s off my weekly shop. I still keep the dairy and meats organic though.

  • If you're a UK blog reader then invest in the Cineworld Unlimited card. I get mine for £11.99 a month and can see as many films as I like for that price. Considering it costs £7.00+ to see 1 movie it's well worth it and during these times it's one thing you can do that doesn't cost the earth and will get you out of the house. I however go one step further and buy the Cinema Sweet flavoured popcorn for £0.54 a packet and half a litre Pepsi for £0.80 from Tesco into the cinema with me. The popcorn in the cinema costs £3.00 and the Pepsi £2.20 **shakes head** So I already save myself £3.86 every visit and I see about 4 films a week on 2 visits.

    I opt for the at home DVD rental through Tesco which are the cheapest and powered through Lovefilm. I pay £14.97 a month and have 3 DVDs at a time. That is the most expensive package they have. And being a movie buff if I'm not buying them, I'm renting them, or out at the cinema.

    Going to the Far East isn't as costly as it once was. You can now fly direct from London Stanstead each way from £179 on Air Asia to Kuala Lumpur. Don't forget there are still the low budget airlines like Easyjet and Ryanair for cheap hop, skip and jumps to Europe.

    Toptable I've been a member of for years. Great for booking restaurants and tons of special offers. You also gain points with each booking you make. I never pay full price for a meal. Why bother when you can get 50% off the price of the meal.

    Right let me go and see if they have any decent Mexican places on there…probably not.


    1. It seems like you are competing with me for the Frugality by selection department.

      Ever since i moved out and became single again about 4 yrs ago i got rid of a bunch of things like Cable TV and barely watched TV. I shop Organic for only the necessary staples and by generic items at Walmart to supplement what i have. I am a Frequent flyer mile junkie and sign up to get miles at restaurants that participate in the programs and also some online shopping stores give you miles for shopping which all adds up to a free trip. I am an elite member with American and used to be with Continental and am trying to see if i can find my way back into Continentals status. I never buy CD's or DVDs except for when i went to Tokyo. Every now and then blockbuster or walmart might have a special for 3 for 10 bucks or even 20 bucks and i might indulge but never really have time to watch em. I will never give up shopping but i do bargain shop and will wait till the prices come down and now i have decided to befriend the shop associates that i frequent very well with the hope of getting their employee discount. I know where to get the best shopping bargains at the various outlets with the combination of a coupon here and there and unfortunately am on first name basis with many of the major boutiques so i also do get calls when they have a private sale. I track flights like a religion and know about traveling on less busy days in order to get a cheap flight and also have a hostel card so its second nature to me. I love living in dallas for one reason and that is i never have to buy clothes whenever i step foot of of the city or country unless its some kind of vintage or classic because they cannot compete with the prices here in Dallas so far.
      Too bad British Airways is very stingy over there and you have to pay premium prices to get miles. In the U.S it doesnt matter how cheap the flight is you still get miles and you can use it to travel as soon as you accummulate 25000 miles and for international travelers thats nothing. Oh i also have a Citibank Mastercard where i get a mile for every dollar spent and it goes on and on.

    2. British Airways who??? I only fly Delta or Continental stateside and have close to 60,000 miles accumulated over the past few years. We can sign up with US airlines too the miles aren't just for US based customers. I'm signed up with American also. Delta, Continental n dem have their UK online sites we just pay the same fare in GBP instead of USD.

    3. Yeah the miles are for everyone who signs up but you get to pay in pounds and dont get great deals. My Brother flys BA to dallas at least twice a year but doesnt get any single miles because its a discount ticket. Anytime i fly to England on American regardless of how much i paid for the ticket i get miles can total 8000 for a roundtrip and depending on my elite status can easily top 12000 miles which is halfway away from a roundtrip ticket locally.

    4. Paying in pounds, dollars or Swedish krona makes no difference. If the flight is $600 you'll pay the £ equivalent at the rate of exchange for international and US domestic flights. You aren't getting ripped off due to currency difference. So the flights are the same price for the same destinations whether you are UK or US based. I pay in GBP [and I can pay in USD and have done so before] because I want to know in £'s what's being debited from my credit card and don't want the credit card dollar rate equivalent. The reason your brother is not getting any miles is because [simply put] BA are teef and the rules to their program are different. He needs to buy a 'qualifying' economy ticket [which is roughly double than what he'd normally pay] JUST to get on the program to START collecting miles. I spoke to their customer services and they explained that to me when I was doing the back n forth to Houston on BA. It's not clear on their website. It's for this reason alone I switched to Delta. I was not getting rewarded for being a frequent flyer with BA. At least with Delta it cost nothing to join, Continental were partnered [these two were always cheaper than BA anyway and had more choice of flights] and no matter what ticket I bought I was rewarded with miles. I ALWAYS buy the cheapest restricted ticket and always get my 9708 round trip miles from London - Houston or wherever I go for each leg of my trip. So if I fly 10,000 miles that's how many points I get, plus Million Miler miles on top of that. Americans don't get preferential treatment for being a member just because the airline is American, the same way Mr Saudi Arabia isn't any worse off for being a BA airmiles member, they just have more access to the restaurants/netflix points etc that may participate with the program. I used my skymiles card at the Langham in Thailand because it was part of program and you're not exempt at all, and can use them at all of the chains globally they advertise from car rentals [online booking] to hotels etc. I also get the same special offers for international and domestic US flights also, so again nothing different there. So with collecting and redeeming your miles wherever you're based, the same rules apply. I never use my American card because Delta are always cheaper. Tell your brother to flip the bird at BA and switch to an airline where he can benefit long-term for being a dedicated customer.

    5. Las Vegas in the Credit Crunch


    6. Too bad the Europeans cant stimulate Vegas Economy like we need it because you lot know the value of money too well and dont like to Gamble and we need Gamblers. Every time i go to vegas and meet a Euro esp a Brit and ask them whether they have gambled most of them say they never gamble and Vegas was designed for you to Gamble and drink and not take pics lol.


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