Living on a low income.

Living on our low income has changed.

The rise in prices is widespread.

What affects us the most right now is the cost of fuel for the car. This means we make more sensible decisions regarding using our car. With the very high temperatures currently, we have to plan when to walk the dogs and where to go. We walk locally, and rarely go anywhere beyond our local area.

Food-wise we already buy very cheap versions of products, and use less to stretch our meals out.

We don't eat certain things - processed foods, meat, things we can make ourselves, sugar, dairy, desserts.

We eat very little of other things - pasta, rice, ready-made items, booze, fizzy drinks, cooking sauces like Oyster or Soy sauce.

Regular readers know we plan all our meals.  This means we keep our nutrition and our finances in the best places for us.

We don't need to spend loads on entertainment. We read, watch a bit of telly, I play piano and sew, Man Wonderful rides his bike.

We have reduced the amount of power we use.  


. If I use the electric oven, it is full for batch cooking.

. The gas hob is used as little as possible. Again, in batch cooking. One item I use that saves us money is a steamer so I cook four vegetables with one saucepan of boiling water.

. I use the microwave oven to cook small amounts.

. We boil a small amount in the kettle for cups of tea etc.  These and coffees have been reduced.

. All our lightbulbs are LED.

. We shower or sink wash rather than bath.

. When I run a hot tap to wash up, I collect the colder water in jars while the hot is reaching the tap.  This water goes into my water jug, the coffee machine, the dog's waterbowl, the jug for houseplants.

. All switches are off at the wall when that item isn't in use. E.g., toaster, oven, coffeemachine, phone charger.

. We always wash a full load in the washing machine, only wash dirty clothes, use an economical setting and hang our laundry up to dry.

Annual bills will go up.

We are preparing for the winter:

. We have saved to buy additional loft insulation.

. I have window foil to place on the ceiling of the conservatory.

. We have double curtains in each room.

. We are having a new front door fitted.

. We have homemade blankets and patchwork quilts to add to our beds.

. I have a hot water bottle, handmade socks and a microwave-heated block.

. We have a padded fireguard to sit in front of our electric fire (when not being used) to block the draught.

Is there anything you do to help a low income stretch in your home?



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  2. I am a single household and with the hot weather we are having I have gone back to hand washing a few items each day and letting them drip dry on the washing line. It means I only do one load in the washing machine a week. Mary

  3. Lovely to see a post from you and hope your new sewing machine id doing well. I have cut back on the number of washing machine loads I do and dry them outside whenever possible. My biggest saving has been to buy very few new clothes over the last few years and accept barely worn ones from my daughter. We have good insulation and heating system but would really like to downsize to a retirement flat if we could find one! Too hot for me this week but most people seem to be loving it. Catriona

  4. I've been washing & freshening up our winter coats whilst they dry in no time on the line, also waterproofing those that need re-doing. As our bulbs have gone, they've been replaced with LED ones. I'm scouring the charity shops for thicker curtains. I need a bigger steamer- thank you for reminding me. We're also in need of a new back door - cant decide whether to go for hardwood or plastic. Our current one has been patched up & lets a puddle of rain in at the bottom.

  5. Using the foil to insulate your conservatory roof is utter genious. I'm definitely going to be doing that. I have a wood burner so will be heating water for drinks and washing up on top of it this coming winter. I also plant to try cooking on the top of it and have some nice cast iron pans ready to work with and a 'hellfire Pizza cooker' for using inside the stove. It'll be fun learning how to use them all.

  6. I deleted my first comment, as I'd hit accidentally hit 'publish' before I was ready! Sorry!
    When we moved into our bungalow, we had some money left over from the sale of our house. Friends suggested that we had a holiday in Egypt, as it's long been my dream to cruise down the Nile.
    But, having been brought up to use head not heart, we 'age proofed' (as far as possible) the bungalow instead. New windows, new external doors (all by Rockdoor, for added security as we get older), put an enclosed porch on the front, new kitchen with A++ appliances, bathroom torn apart and replaced with low level entry shower cubicle, a 'rainfall' power shower, comfort height rimless toilet with super low water flush, and the luxury of underfloor heating in the bathroom too. The bathroom was SO cold in the winter, and being a 60's bungalow, it has a concrete floor. Even with cushionfloor between us and the concrete, and a radiator in there, it was horribly cold.
    Now we have a six feet tall heated towel rail, which runs from the central heating boiler, and the underfloor heating which is on a timer, so is set to only come on between 12:00 and 8:00 a.m. and then only if the bathroom temp drops below 23c. Of course it will also only be used in winter 'proper', the rest of the time we'll be fine! The central heating isn't used a huge amount either, since we got the new doors and windows, the place holds the heat really well, so even in the dead of winter, the heating is only on for an hour in the morning and two or three hours in the evening, and then the thermostats are set quite low. We both like our bedroom to be cold, and I've made loads of crocheted blankets over the years, so we're never cold in bed. There are throws over the backs of chairs and sofas too, so nobody need ever be cold.
    We're just waiting for all the internal doors to be done now, they're ordered, so should be in well before the cold weather.
    All the curtains are now black out and thermal lined, all lightbulbs are LED, and we both have 'Navy Showers', run the shower for a few seconds to get yourself wet, turn shower off, soap up and wash, turn shower back on and rinse!
    I routinely save veg peelings and ends in a large tub in the freezer, and when I have enough, we have a mixed veg soup. We eat very little bread, so any left over gets blitzed into breadcrumbs, and not with the big food processor either, I have a Zyliss 'easy pull' hand powered small food processor which is great for small jobs, and burns a few calories off too!
    The TV is switched off at the wall socket when not in use. Lovely, big screen, smart TVs are great, but don't have a proper 'off' switch. Leaving them on standby uses an enormous amount of electricity over a year.
    The kettle is only ever filled with the amount of water needed, and although our hot water comes through very fast, any cold before it is collected in a jug and poured into a water butt just outside the kitchen door, the roof guttering also drains into the butt, and the water from it is used for watering the garden.
    I use Ocado a lot of the time, and make sure that I save and return the carrier bags to the driver at the next delivery, there's 10 pence back on each one, and I usually get between 12 & 14 bags.
    I'm sure I could cut a lot more corners if I needed to, but also appreciate how lucky we are, we both worked full time for our entire careers, both retired in our early and mid fifties, have occupational pensions, and will both reach state pension age next year.
    We don't do many food donations to our local food bank, instead we take toiletries, soaps, shampoos, deodorants etc, feminine hygiene products and baby stuff, nappies, wipes etc, and make a cash donation monthly, it makes it easier for them to source and provide fresh fruit and vegetables.

  7. Just a thought, and I apologise if you have already done this, but have you checked if you qualify for a free upgrade to your loft insulation? We had a letter through our door recently offering various eco upgrades and I realised that we would qualify, as a family member is in receipt of PIP. We haven't had time to apply because of various family commitments which are taking up almost all our time. If you were eligible, you would be able to put the money saved towards something else moneysaving, so a double win. X


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