Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A Six Monthly Pay Increase!

These days of necessary belt tightening continue for many of us.  Sure, the bankers are again quaffing their Bolly like it's PG Tips but many others face pay freezes or even cuts.  But fear not, Lovelygrey is to the rescue.  Back in March I came up with twenty ways to generate a virtual pay rise without expending too  much blood, sweat and tears.   I've come up with another twenty today.  These ideas are not just for mulling over by  the financially strapped.  I'm a firm believer that if everyone exercised good stewardship of their money, the world would, overall, be a much better place.  
  • Unless you have ulterior motives, think before calling in 'a man' to fix stuff  when something is broken, See if there you can do it yourself when something goes on the blink.  Try Ehow or just good old Google as a starting point for finding instructions.  
  • In times of pitiful investment returns consider an offset mortgage if you have any savings.  On the surface this is a really boring tip but it's a favourite of mine as it's brought the Lovelygrey monthly household mortgage interest down to a big fat ZERO.
  • Say no more often to the kids when they want something.  If you get really adept at this, the surprise they show when you actually say yes is priceless.
  • Be brave.  Treat the men in your life to a pair of Lovelygrey tried and tested Wahl* clippers and save on the cost of going to the barber.  Fearful of making a mess?  Well I'm one of the most cack-handed people around and they're easy-peasy to use.  Short is my style of choice so I even do my own hair.  Just have to mention though that since I wrote my original post I had to live with half an eyebrow for a while! (* do not be tempted by Remington's models.  Unless they've markedly changed in the last couple of years they're c**p)
  • Have a root through your direct debits and cancel any unwanted subscriptions.  A monthly fiver here and a tenner there and bingo, you might generate a raise of a  percentage point or two.
  •  Do you really need to buy magazines when there's so much other reading material around?
  • Keep behind the Jones'.  It's really satisfying getting gadgets that are not the most cutting edge but nonetheless new to you at a fraction of their original cost.
  • Before going anywhere or buying anything look for online discounts or moneyback schemes on sites like Quidco or Vouchercodes.   Even so, keep looking around.  You may find what you're looking for even cheaper on another website.
  •  Last time I went to the optician I took Mr Lovelygrey and Louis with me to give a second opinion about frames. Bad strategy. They wanted to get out of the shop pronto so said yes they're lovely to the first pairs that I tried on. As such I've been unhappy with them ever since. So this tip doesn't apply to me.  If however you like your glasses but your prescription has altered just get the lenses changed for a fraction of the cost.
  • Look after the pennies when posting stuff and choose cheaper postage rates if it's all that's needed.  Have a stash of both first and second class stamps.  Consider if sizes of envelopes or packaging can be reduced to save further.
  • Invest in, or dig out that breadmaker that you haven't used from under the worksurface. It really doesn't take long to put on a batch of ingredients for a proper tasty loaf which is cheaper than most supermarket bread.  Also, bought sandwiches don't seem such a treat when the one's made at home are so much more delicious.  
  • Make sure all electric bulbs are energy efficient and remember to take into account spotlights.  Mr Lovelygrey did a little dance of glee when he realised how much money he'd save after replacing our halogen bulbs in the kitchen.
  • Afford a little planning and multitask when you take your car out to avoid unnecessary trips.
  • Here's one I reckon that most of us fall foul of, occasionally, at least.   Don't buy bottled water. Remember to take a container to refill from the tap.  Surprisingly it's a much, much cheaper and greener source of almost exactly the same same stuff, good old  H2O.  If you're at all worried about exposing yourself to extra germs because of this, read Lucy Siegle's article in the Observer.
  • Buying  less and spurning cheap stuff for quality will make you feel just as special as loads of treats that are really just tat.    This may sometimes mean spending a bit more but it's not always necessary as the thrifters amongst us know.  Often it's about being wily and waiting rather than splashing out spontaneously.  My gorgeously comfy stressless recliner bought for a mere £99 proves the point.
  • Engage your brain before taking on pet ownership.  Even a rabbit is estimated to cost upwards of £500 a year to keep.  If the budget is tight get your animal kicks elsewhere, perhaps walking a elderly neighbour's dog or helping out at a rescue centre.
  • Never a lender or borrower be?  Not true if each party trusts each other.  Consider if there's the chance of a loan if you're only going to use something once and, of course, compensate the owner if there's any financial implication associated with the request.  Tools, kitchen appliances, vehicles,  party wear and kiddie equipment all might fall into this category. 
  • Here's one I  posted in my nascent days as a blogger.  If double glazed windows are worn out, consider just replacing the glass sealed units rather than the frames as well.  Ignore specialist companies selling UPVC who say that this can't be done and ask a glazier instead.  We did this about a year ago and it's just dawned on me that what we saved represents about a quarter of my net annual salary and paid for our skiing and Yellowstone trip earlier this year.
  • This may go against the grain of most thrifty advice but I'll live dangerously.  If you're reasonably self controlled and live close to shops, ditch a big weekly trip and planned menus .  I've found its a better way to use up leftover cooked food and ingredients and take advantage of marked down food.  Shop more frequently with a little list taking account of what's already in the house but retaining flexibility so those bargains get used in a timely manner.   
  • Check out local education colleges for beauty treatments and dining out. I've got really excited at the prospect of booking a Pamper Day at Exeter College when I'm up and about again!


  1. Some great tips there, LovelyGrey! I'm hoping that the longer post indicates that you are continuing on the upward path towards full health!

  2. I hate going to the hairdresser too but I wouldn't know what to do with your gadget

    I like the revamp of your blog.

  3. Some great tips here. I can certainly agree that Wahl hairclippers are good; we bought some when we married over 15 years ago, they have saved us hundreds of pounds and still work perfectly.