Tag Archives: cost of living


23 Aug

london 7.44pm 19C sunny thursday 2018

i am too full now so that i dont feel like going to the tesco to see if there are any reductions in food. simon cooked a bolognaise sauce with minced beef and i thought i shall have a meal of that , over sphagetti, before i go to the tescos, as i know if u go food shopping when hungry you will end up buying more than you want. but i did not reckon on being so full after eating the meal that i dont feel like going out even. haha. such are the paradoxes of life.

i saw in the metro free newspaper this morning, that iceland is selling rump steak 228mg for £2 instead of the usual £3. it is quite a good price. and i like rump steak , i think it tastes better than sirloin. but i just could not be bothered to go and buy it. maybe tomorrow if it is still available. i know from past experience, that even though they limit each customer to two packs, it can get all sold out quite quickly. the thing is i am not short of food in the fridge, that is why i am not so anxious to go buying more. in fact, it is vegetables that i seem to crave now rather than meat. i can buy that tomorrow. i saw an advert by a supermarket chain showing their reductions, and was surprised to see nescafe gold blend featured with half priced reduction from about £8 to £4 for 200mg. its been so long since i even look at other coffee brands, that i forgot how expensive they are. in fact, when i googled it, i find that the usual price of that coffee is about £4.50for 200mg, so the reduction is not half priced as such.  it is still expensive even after the reduction. when i think that it cost me £1.45 for 200mg of my cheap coffee from aldi, it makes me wonder. you can make the cost of living as cheap or as expensive as you want.

added 10.46am friday 24.8.18. read this article about the measurement of poverty, to mean anyone living on less than $1.90 a day… on that measure there are very few people on it, and no one in uk is on it. but relative poverty measured as those ‘living on less than 60% of median household income (adjusted for household size)’ now that is a measure of inequality, not poverty. and many articles about poverty measure inequality, but they dont tell you that is what they are measureing. instead they hoodwink you by equating it with poverty. now it makes sense to me. when i hear a chap say he is unable to live after paying for his car, his broadband, his smartphone, his wide screen tv, etc… some poverty, he got more things than i have even.



bargain offers

5 Nov

london 2.21pm 11.4C dark clouds gathering sunday 2017

today’s mail on sunday is offering me a free £5 amazon voucher, and no need to redeem any nectar points for it too. it seems i have completed 3 entries of those numbers printed at the back of the daily mail paper, and so i am eligible for it. well, since it is free, i click on it to get it. i am hoping it will be possible to use it for the kindle books. though i have been getting the books free up to now. haha. 

i got a lot of nectar points too. what with using the daily mail to collect it, as well as simon buying stuff from sainsburys and using my nectar card.

i now got 4000 nectar points, about £20 worth. its like christmas, i am deciding what i shall buy with it. 

its a quiet day as i take the bus to the paddington library, i was hoping to read the mail on sunday there, but someone has got it, and seem to be reading it slowly, because they are taking a long time to return it to the shelf for me to borrow. (i have noticed this among daily mail readers. there are some who just devour every word,and go through that paper with a fine toothcomb, reading every word, and lingering over every page. and then after they finish they go right back to the beginning and read all those words again, slowly…  they are some weird people.)

so i decided to cut short my stay and go shopping…  i wanted to go to the lidl’s in stockwell, south london to get their special reduced price cauliflower at 59p (i bought 2 ) and mushrooms. as well as the frozen prawns. (prawns are from outside the EU, so by rights should be only affected by the £ being weak… the others have been increasing its price… but not lidls. they are great in stir fries.

it was very busy in that lidl’s. i am quite surprised at how busy it was, long queues at the checkouts, with lots of people buying a lot of stuff. but thinking about it, i realise  i should not be surprised at it. people are waking up to the fact that lidls is cheaper than the other supermarkets. and their shelves are full of stuff too, unlike sainsburys or tesco, and waitrose too…  where nowadays i see lots of empty shelves in those supermarkets… i wonder why those others are not able to keep their shelves replenished. sometimes you can see their fresh veg trays are empty. suggesting that they cannot keep up with the demand.

yet lidls seem to be able to cope well… all the other supermarkets are selling cauliflowers for £1 , yet lidls can sell it reduced like this. it does make me wonder why those others cannot reduce their veg too…??? if not for lidls, they will keep the prices high and we will never suspect it, as there will be no one else reducing it.

and it cannot be due to brexit, can it? lidls can reduce their price and they must be operating under the same conditions as the others if you say brexit has increased the price, and yet lidls can reduce it. 

2.53pm 10.9C the storm clouds seem to be going away, because the sun has come out. 


a strong £

28 Jul

Digital StillCamera

london 2014 monday

The uk has finally come out of the longest depression. this one started in 2008, and it is now 6yrs later .

i have a feeling a lot of that is due to the £ going down. nothing encourages more exports and less imports than a falling £ and that is good for business and the country as a whole.

for me, i can remember a time when the £ = 6.5Rm(ringgits) even hitting 7Rm, compared to now = 5.4 Rm. and of course that wonderful time when we can get 1.5Euros for £1. now it is 1.26Euros. at one time not that long ago, it used to be even less. 

If the £ is low, because it costs more to import stuff , it seems; cost of living goes up for those of us living here but that seems to be the price all of us here have to pay to shore up the economy.

in a way, because VAT is zero for veg and meat, if u keep to those, like i do,  u wont be much affected and side stream yourself from having to pay the increased cost of living.

Those who are clever can structure what they buy and change their lifestyle and not pay anything like the prevalent cost of living.  And if u keep to basics range you would hardly notice the rise in the cost of living.  Certainly for me, i don’t notice it. 

i have to add a correction. actually my monthly outgoing for food has doubled, from £20 a month, it is from such a low base that i dont notice it even if it is doubled now. so i guess perception is a very subjective thing. haha. in the past the supermarkets discount their meat a lot at the end of the day and there are plenty of them, so easy to get;  but now , there are less of those bargains, in fact i would say there are none now. that accounts for why my food bill has doubled. 

Now i read the news that the £ has gone up and many companies mention that as their reason for profit warnings ahead. It seems the £ has risen on the anticipation of a interest rate rise. The bank of england governor have been hinting at it but not doing it for real. almost as if the bank of england wants a higher £ but without having to actually raise the rate. clever strategy, and seems to be working… for now. it is a way of dampening the rate of growth, without actually raising interest rates which will dampen business activity in the country. 

If you think that the strong £ will mean you get better exchange rate for your tourist money, think again. it seldom happens that you get a stronger exchange rate, as soon as the £ strengthens, though rates drop immediately everytime the £ weakens. if u search, u will find £1 = US$1.70. £1=1.26 euros;  but will you get that rate in the money changers on the high street? i bet u wont. i shall have a look at their rates when i go out later, and see what rate they give.

added. 4pm. i am surprised the rates are quite good.  1.245 euros, and $1.68. only a spread of .02 . no commission. no wonder there was a long queue stretching outside the office and round the corner. it was the american express office in victoria st, near the westminster cathedral. 

added. i have noticed converting euros to £, or $ to £ is not so good. so as usual if u are a tourist wanting to convert to £s, you lose out. i think tourists are like the wildebeest in africa, being the prey of all the predators lying along its path as they migrate across the plains. the only thing is the wildebeests have to do it, to follow the rains, but you dont have to be a tourist. 

cost of maintaining a flat in westminster, london

2 Apr



Strange, i wrote the post but it disappeared when i posted it.So here goes again.

this is for my own reference though it might interest those curious to know how much it actually costs to live in london in a 2bdroom flat on first floor in borough of westminster, london.

Council tax for westminster for 2014-2015 £676.74

Service charge for my block and estate. £1200 a year (I pay 4% of my block charges, 0.25% of the estate charges). We dont have lifts thank goodness. 

bbc tv license £145 a year. everyone pays this if they have a colour tv.

water bill £308 a year. we share a communal water tank, so cannot instal individual water meters.

Telephone £120 a year line rental £50 a year broadbandpackage, total £170. 

Total fixed costs £2499.74 or £208.25 a month.

Not bad really considering i am living in central london in a spacious flat.

I have not included electricity charges , food bill etc, as they are variable and under each person’s control. 

Added. For really a comprehensive cost analysis, i should add the 10 yrly requirement to repair/repaint the exterior of the block of flats and that comes to about £70 a month spread out over 10yrs; (£7000 which was the cost last time it was done 2yrs ago).

added.23.4.14 the reason that prompted this post is because this month, april, i was suddenly lumped with a huge bill for these costs. the half yearly water bill, the half yearly service charge bill, the first of the monthly direct debits for the council tax bill. it totaled about £800 for this month. i can see how such sudden jump in costs can derail a person’s budget and throw them into deep debt if they are not the kind of people who save. fortunately i always save so this did not cripple me. not for the first time i am glad i am frugal and save money even if at the time there dont seem any reason for it.instead of spending it because i thought i got lots of money i am glad i did not … now i reap the reward of my frugality. 

live on £53 a week.

1 Apr

I read today in the newspapers that welfare minister Duncan smith said he can live on £53 a week.

This was in response to someone he met who told him that was what he had left over after rent and bills have been paid.

I am glad a politician will stand up and say so. It is easy to live on £53 a week.

In fact, I have been doing so for years and live on less than that. And i live well on that amount. 

The most I have spent on daily living expenses , (food and household expenses etc) is £60 a month. So able to save about £140 of that mythical £50 a week.

The papers are full of lament about the cutting down in size of the social benefits bill by introducing limits to what a person can get on welfare and scolding the govt for doing it. They are mistaken to blame the govt. the social bill is enormous. No country could let it go on like this, increasing continuously.

About time too. If u don’t have a limit u can have people living better on social welfare than working. It should be a safety net not a replacement for work.

Many of those commenting on the article seem very angry about it, and refuse to believe anyone can possibly live on so little. and they will say anyone who says so is lying. not realising that just because they cannot do it is more a sign of how they are failing.

Maybe that is it, no one who spends more now will admit that it can be done for it would then mean they are the ones who are failing. if others can live on less than £50 a week, why can’t they?

Total for last month March was £54.69

Meat £23.30 of which Chicken £9.81 Pork £13.49

Veg £14.48

Fish £1.75

Fruit £2.07

eggs 4.02

shrimp paste £2.95 the previous time i bought this was 6months ago.

milk powder £2.02 . 2x400mg packs. should last me 3months.

Added. 2.4.13 another article , this time interviewing various people who cannot live on it. one said she spent £23 a week on food and still cannot afford to buy meat. i wonder what she spent that amount on… something wrong with her buying. she needs one of those money gurus to teach her. there was a tv program about it, with one person going through a family’s budget and finding lots of savings that the family did not know about. people should see it to learn from it. there is a lot of wasteful buying . anyone who says they cannot afford it, i would say their buying is wasteful. 

life is nice in london

12 Jan


12.1.13 saturday 

I have noticed that if u click the follow button on each person’s blog a box comes up asking u to give them your email address and it says u will be notified by email.

That scares me off, because I don’t really want my email to be clogged by these notifications.

But I noticed that if I click on the follow button at the top of the page in the task bar, than it comes up in my blog’s reader, and I can chose not to have email notification. And I can read all the blogs I follow in the reader.

That is much better.

Have you found this out too?

Also I wonder if I edit my posts will they send a email notification to followers every time I click the publish button? That would be real irritating to the followers surely? At least I would find it irritating to have my email box clogged up by many notifications of the same post just because small changes have been done.

The independent newspaper has a report of one of their reporters to live on £31 a week, which is what is left after rent, bills, etc have been paid for.

He concludes he could not live on that. But seeing what he spends it on, I believe it is because he is hopeless at budgeting.
I live on £50 a month for all my living expenses.
So if I can do so why cannot he? The answer is he does not know how to budget.
Just one example will illustrate the point.
He spent £8.60 on two trips on the tube, when he already has a bus weekly card. Why does he take the tube?

And then he buys processed foods like pizza, ham.

If he were to just buy one uncooked chicken ( £5), uncooked minced beef400mg (£1.17), 15eggs (£1.50), and veg, oats, sultanas,and rice, pasta, milk powder and bread will feed him very well for the week.

Here is what he bought instead.

Milk, coffee, pasta, chopped tomatoes, an onion , a carrot, cooking bacon =£4.78

Pizza £2.50
Bread and ham for sandwiches £3.60

Spend £5.77 for ingredients for a chilli that will last him 3days. (I wonder what he bought? A basic minced beef + fresh tomatoes (6 for 68p)+canned kidney beans, will not cost that much.) Maybe he bought cans of chilli con carne. That would be expensive.
He bought basic cornflakes included in that total.

Nothing on food

Nothing on food

£2.20 on frozen pizza

Dinner £3.63

I think any decent cook will be able to show him how to eat well on less money. So it is not poverty that is his problem, it is ignorance. I bet no one in the comments in that article will point this out.


I have seen it many times even amongst my friends who think they are frugal. 

My friends would buy canned sauces, when it is so much cheaper and quicker and easier to just use fresh ingredients and make your own.
U want a tomato sauce, use 3 fresh tomatoes, and water. Add herbs or whatever u have in the kitchen, pepper, etc. and u have a lovely tomato sauce just like that. If u want to thicken it, just added cornflour dissolved in a bit of water.

So with curry sauce, instead of just buying a can or bottle of curry sauce, use curry powder and add water, garlic, ginger, or whatever herbs u got and that is it, curry sauce. Add a bit of suger if u like to enhance the taste.

I have long ago stopped buying pasta sauce from the bottle, or passata, or bottled curry sauce. They are very expensive for what they are, merely water, with a touch of curry powder, or a bit of concentrated tomato paste. And they will be very salty and sugery as well.

Do u know that passata , which used to be 29p is now 55p? And that is the Tesco basic one, fancier brands cost even more.

It is only concentrated tomato paste and water. With a bit of vinegar.
The branded ones made from real tomatoes are very expensive. U might as well just buy fresh tomatoes and make them yourself.

Life is really very nice for me here in London.

I take the bus to the gym and use the showers as well as do the machines. And without much effort I can see me bulging out with muscles in all the right places.

And I washed with that radon orange and tea smelling gel , and it is a really nice smell. Funny how the smell can make u want to use it. Those marketing guys really know how to attract people to buy.

Even I was tempted to buy it just for the smell. Haha.

My friend who is coming to visit me called and told me that he managed to get national express bus fares for £5 one way, both directions. They charge £2 now for booking. That has gone up rather a lot from what it was before £1. But the general cost is reasonable at £12 return. Esp on such short notice.

It wont tempt me to go to Bournemouth but then seaside towns don’t expect much business in winter.

In winter, London is the best destination to visit.

And he is ok with no heating in the flat. he said he don’t have heating in his place either. So that is good to find a kindred spirit who don’t want heating.

We should form a club of likeminded guys like us.





poisoned chalice

6 Dec


It is 11.30 pm 5.12.12 now and the temp outside is supposed to be about 1.2C according to the weather website.

Inside, the card thermomether that I got from the nhs is between 15C and 12C. Or at least that is what I assume, as I can see both these numbers appearing.

But I don’t feel cold at all. That is normal , but what I meant is that I don’t feel the furniture is cold. Usually that is the only way I can tell it is really cold. Haha.

My heating is not on and since I have not need to do that for 4winters already, (even that one where they say it is the coldest for 100 yrs ; cannot remember which winter that was as they have said it more than once before.haha) I am confident this year will be the same.

Oh I just realised I have a hot water bottle at my feet . So maybe that is why I don’t feel the cold.

I read in the papers today that the average household is spending about £65 a week on the house with utilities bills, mainly heating accounting for £22 a week of it. and about £54 a week on food.
Their utilities bill is huge.

My electric bill is £20 a month and that is for everything electric in the flat. granted it is not used for heating.

But people esp those with children always think their children will die if the house is not heated up. Then the children run around lightly clad and catch cold easily the moment they get out and the sudden change in temperature.

And even my nhs card thermometer, (they give it out free) tells me next to the 12C mark …’too cold, increased risk of heart attack and strokes in vulnerable people‘.

With advise like that no wonder people over heat their houses.




Added today 6.12.12
Temperature according to the website is -1C outside. It is 12C inside my flat.

Didn’t feel that cold and I opened my windows a notch to get some ventilation. It still didn’t feel that cold even then.

Read this about some ec countries not entering the Eurovision song contest for 2013. Greece, Poland, Portugal and cyprus. They not only don’t want to pay £100,000 to enter, but are afraid of the £60million bill if they win and have to host it.

Here is where winning is losing. It is silly to enter a competition wanting to lose, just because it costs more to win it.

A bit like the Olympics hosting. Brazil got the poisoned chalice next Olympics. Suckers. Haha.

I wonder when it will dawn on these suckers that they have been conned into paying for something that does them no good.

The uk is now counting the costs of our Olympics. Haha. The extra cost for security is the one that killed all the carefully thought out calculations. We are all glad it is over and for heavens sake if anyone ask us to bid again, knock that person on the head quick.


Some people don’t know what they are asking. Beware of what u want, u will get it. (And then wish to god u have not got it).

Football is a strange thing.
Chelsea were the champions last year, but today I read that even after winning 6-1 , they are not going to play in the knock out matches.

So just because u won last year does not qualify u to defend your title next year.