Tag Archives: thrifty

The most efficient government in the world has been announced… and it’s Qatar – Middle East – World – The Independent

15 Jul

The most efficient government in the world has been announced… and it’s Qatar – Middle East – World – The Independent.

qatar , the most efficient government.

the criteria they chose is the govt that spend the least.  maybe that should be their heading… the most thrifty governments. so that would rule out any govt that have any welfare system.  efficiency is not just measured on how little a govt spends. they should also see how effective it is  in not having a clogged up bureaucracy.

i presume the spending is as a proportion of GDP and qatar has a huge income revenue, from the oil, so that would give it a huge GDP(US$211billion) so that even if the actual spend is more than another western country, or one of comparative size, it would still come out low as a percentage of that GDP.

singapore is second, GDP US$298billion, and i would imagine it may be more accurate to  give it first.

all the top 5 countries in their list have either  no welfare system or in the case of finland (GDP US$270billion) and new zealand,(GDP US$211billion) have small populations, 5million or so.  (when i  looked it up in google i was surprised that it has so few people living in them. in this day and age when we hear so much of overpopulation, to be reminded that there are these countries with so few people living in them, makes me , i dont know, envious? so few to have use of a whole country to themselves.

in fact all the countries in the top 5 have small populations, qatar £2million, hongkong £7million(GDP US$290billion) singapore £5.4million.  so it may be the fact that they have such small populations is a big factor in their being thrifty… not a lot to spend money on.

all in all, quite a pointless list. it just goes to show what u can produce when u only use statistics. illustrates very well that saying ‘there are lies, damn lies, and statistics’.

UK GDP is US$2,942 billion . pop 63.5million

the list of countries

this link says qatar will be in deficit for the first time in 15yrs in 2015… due to the low oil price that began in june 2014, and it is the host of the world cup in 2022 means there will be lots of capital expenditure in future.

it owns the chelsea barracks development, and that is going to be put on hold or even sold.

musings

12 Mar

london thursday 2015

i woke feeling it is really very nice to have no appointments or commitments to fulfill. the day is mine to do as i wish. it is not that my other days are full of commitments, but somehow i forgot what a nice thing it is to be free and now and then it is nice to be able to realise it and be appreciative. it makes me realise anew what a nice life i have. 

last night as i was washing up, i felt a sudden stab of pain in my right eye. it came and went very quickly but it is not the first time i have this. i wonder what it is. and is it a forewarning of something more serious. have anyone experienced this and found out what it portends? well fortunately my eye is all right now. it is not something i want to bother my doctor about, esp as there is nothing to show for it.

ah well, it does remind me of how wonderful it is to be in good health. and if there is trouble in future, well, i shall worry about it if/when it comes. not much point worrying about it now is there?

every morning i check my electricity usage, it has become a routine i do just to monitor my usage of electricity. i recorded that i used 1.8kwh yesterday.

usually my average is 3.4kwh a day. but since i discovered the boiler switch was on and switched it off ,[from my notes i did it  on 6.11.14) the usage has dropped to 2.4kwh a day if simon is at home , and 1.8kwh a day if i am on my own.

before i switched it off, i rarely get a reading below 2kwh. after i switched it off, i start getting it and below quite often esp when i am on my own. the lowest was 1.5kwh. which i have never achieved before. (added. i happen to look again at the recordings, and noticed that once it went down to 1kwh, that must be a record!!)so the switching off must have some effect. you could say we have changed our ways or stop cooking so much. that might be true, but i have not done it consciously. 

the switch was connected to my bathroom boiler, one that has kaput years ago and which i did not bother to replace. it has been unused and i thought everything connected to it is off; but sometimes i noticed it makes a groaning noise which goes on for some time, but I thought nothing of it, until i noticed this switch being on. so that was what that groaning noise was about. something was being activated now and then. maybe the fan. 

it might be a coincidence, but my usage has dropped without me doing anything special. and i think it was because i switched it off.

anyway i am delighted at it because i have been trying to get my usage below 3.4kwh a day and not succeeded. and i thought that is the limit i can drop it to. i know 3.4kwh a day is very low usage but still, it is great to know that it can get even lower. haha.

i want to keep a very low carbon use profile if i can. that is just a posh way of saying i want to use as little electricity as i can. haha.  not because i have concerns about the world dying, but because i just dont like wasting anything. that is all, really.

i dont mind if others use things up and they dont care how much they use. i dont care what they use either. haha.

what i do is entirely for my own satisfaction and is not depandant on others. that way i dont feel angry at seeing a lot of waste going on. the world is what it is.

that is why i like and enjoy picking up rubber bands that are dropped by the postman. rubber bands are very useful. haha. but i noticed that if exposed to sunlight for enough time they disintegrate. and this even with the weak sunlight we get in london. i used to hang a bunch of them on a hook on my kitchen wall and it gets sun on it a lot. and once i took it down and the whole bunch just disintegrated in my hands. weird or what. huh?

added. wait, something just occurred to me… i think perhaps the disintegrating rubber bands may not be due to the sunlight. i stir fry and there is alot of oil hanging about … and settling on surfaces. so i think the oil settles on the rubber bands. hmm, that means i should keep my rubber bands in drawers  or envelopes. i get a lot of envelopes, because of those marketting people sending me stuff. 

the old £50 note cease legal tender from 1st May

28 Apr

london

I read it first at the mirror newspaper, a few days ago in  the library copy, but strangely no other newspaper that day featured it. I thought it was important news, because it will alert us all to find old £50 notes and spend it quick or change it at the bank. 

i went to the barclay bank branch in pimlico to change it , but the woman cashier there flatly told me they are not accepting it and to ask me to put it into my account. very unhelpful of her. but at first i thought maybe it is just the bank trying to stop money launderers… but this morning when i set out to get rid of my remaining notes, the hsbc bank in victoria took it without any problems and changed it for me. so it seems that barclay woman was just being onery. remind me to boycott barclay bank. 

then i went to the primark near marble arch on oxford st, because i wanted to buy a swimming trunk to replace the one i lost when i left my bag at the bus stop. but there were no swimming trunks like the speedo style, (what the australians call budgie smugglers). lots of bermuda style shorts with it reaching down to the knee. i can see they are swim wear as they all have an inner lining. but it was not what i wanted. I allready got a bermuda style swimwear made by adidas.

the cheapest shorts they got were from £3.50. which is quite a good price if i were in the market for it. so i did not buy any but bought socks instead. primark is brilliant for socks. they are £2 a pack, 6 ankle socks , 4 sports socks. i can always do with socks because they always gets lost in our flat.

simon buys them too and still we run out of them. where do they go?

the cashier took the note and asked me to wait saying she need to verify it. when she returned she  accepted it. 

next i went to the tesco in vauxhall, and bought frozen chicken pieces 2kg for £3.50 ( good value at £1.75/kg) and frozen fish 540mg for £1.68. they are white fish which i find v useful for everything. i daresay they are from this s.e.asian bottom dweller ( with a name like pollock haha) which look huge and gross and ugly. haha. but it has excellent meaty flesh. i bought tesco basic instant coffee too… i just love it (though when i got back i found i allready got a spare bottle).

but anyway the cashier told me at first they dont accept it anymore. the £50 note. but i persisted ( well actually i just continued packing up the goods and repeatedly saying it’s money isn’t it?haha.) and she said she will ask and came back to say i am in luck, it expires on wednesday… so the mirror article was not wrong… 

i am really glad i read that article, but why the other newspapers did not carry it i wonder. 

i tried to find the mirror article online the day i read it in that day’s newspaper; but nothing on their website or I could not find it. i wanted to blog about it then, but did not bother when i could not find the link. ah well, hope those who have the odd £50 note lying around is not too late to get rid of it. I think i have got rid of all my notes now, though i wont rule out finding some more when the deadline is gone. I sincerely hope not because it would be a huge botheration. 

£50 notes are not something u use, and you tend to just put them aside as they are really awkward to carry about and shopkeepers are always reluctant to accept them for small purchases. the self service tills in supermarkets wont accept them and so u have to queue up to get the human cashier to do it, and it is a lot of bother with them humming and hawing and fingering it; and holding up the queue. 

ah well, after 1st may, u will have to go to the bank of england to change it. it will always be possible to change it at the bank of england, and the notes do not expire. but it is hell of a bother to go to the bank of england to change the odd note. 

electricity bill 1May-31July2013

7 Aug

London
My electricity and gas bills for the quarter (1May-31july2013) arrive today. i post it just for my own reference and for others to compare if they like.

No surprise there as I have given them my readings and know that I used 318kwh of electricity for the period .

318kwh used over 92days = £56.08

First 181kwh @21.17p = £38.32
Next 137kwh @12.96p = £17.76
Total £56.08

(Vat 5% =2.44
Direct debit and dual fuel discount 2.44+.92 =2.63
Cost incl vat £55.35)
0.176p per kwh
60p per day
3.456kwh per day average

According to their annual statement, I used 1287 kwh for the year.
(funnily enough in their annual statement they said my current tarif is the standard one, and it is 22.229p up to 720kwh and 13.611 thereafter. Yet as u can see in the actual bill, I pay 21.17p for the first batch and 12.96p thereafter. One wonders why this difference? Is it because it is a special rate for low usage customers? Hope so and that it is not a mistake on their part otherwise they will be telling me I have back payments to make. If they do I shall tell them it is their mistake and they should absorb the cost).
The good thing is that the basic figures are so low, it wont be much. That is the good thing about not using a lot of kwh…

It is a bit like not eating a lot… your foodbill is less, and you don’t get fat, and u avoid all the health problems associated with being fat. What not to like right??

And compared to last summer same period I used 331kwh last summer.

My gas bill remains 0.

I am rather pleased at keeping my usage so low. I think I have reached the limit to how much lower I can make it.

 

 

 

random thoughts

28 Jul

London
Its Sunday, and I am having a lazy day. Usually I would go to the gym , as it is only 9.57am, and the library is not opened till 1.30pm.

But I have given up my gym membership so most probably I shall go to the sports centre swimming pool later on in the morning.Image

It’s a nice day, not that it is hot, but it looks like rain, so it is quite cool. Thank goodness. The heat wave seems to be over for a bit at least which is the nice thing about it, it does not last long.

I can keep things in perspective. Just because a high temperature is nice, too much of a nice thing can be hell.

Just look at Malaysia or any tropical country with their 35C daily temperatures for months. Hell, I tell ya.

Everyone goes into places where the airconditioning is on full blast. Wasting a huge amount of power.

Yesterday I went to the supermarket to get dishwashing liquid. Usually simon buys them and uses them up very quickly because he got this awful habit of squeezing a huge dollop to pots which he just wants to soak.

He can just fill the pots with water there is no need for adding such a lot of soap really.
Anyway it is now left to me to buy a new one. I guess he must have thought he has been buying them long enough. Haha.

I don’t buy them because I figured if he wont listen to me to use less, then he can jolly well buy them when they quickly run out.

I dilute the liquid by 10, and use that and it lasts me a month.

Anyway I got this brand , called daisy, costing only .61p for 500ml. It is the cheapest in the Tesco.

this tesco branch do not stock the value brand, 33p, otherwise i would buy that.
And it is really very good. Very concentrated, so that even on a 10x dilution it gives off a good lather.
In the photo I used up a third. This is because I filled up an empty fairy(its just a brand name) liquid bottle with a 10x dilution liquid. And another one for myself.
I noticed these fairy liquid type bottles don’t have small openings so u can get a big dollop of it squeezed out every time u use it. I use a spray on mine, that limit’s the amount that comes out.

It got me to thinking that people really use far more washing up liquid than they need to. As usual they wont realise it and continue to think they are sparing and careful. And then wonder why their money don’t last.

Interestingly, there was a warning on the bottle that it is not suitable for clothes. I wonder why? I know a friend who uses washing up liquid to wash his clothes. Perhaps he uses fairy liquid, because there is no such warning on the fairy liquid bottle.

I read this in the news about teresa may, the home secretary, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She is 56yrs old, it is a long time to not know u got type 1 diabetes, which is found in children, because it is a autoimmune disease which destroys the insulin producing cells.
So how come she can live to that age and is healthy and unaware of any symptoms? Makes me convinced that doctors don’t really know much about the causes of diabetes.

It is a nice cop out to call it a auto immune disease. It basically says we don’t really know how or why the body attacks its own cells so we call it an auto immune disease.

We don’t know why there is type 2 diabetes either… the cells get resistant to insulin, or the pancreas lose its ability to produce insulin. Why? and how? we don’t know. They say cells get resistant to insulin, u must ask yourself why it can even get resistant, when its whole function is geared to responding to these hormones. And why insulin in particular , why not the other hormones? It is not like antibiotics, which is a man made thing, introduced to the body as an artificial construct. This is a naturally produced product by the body .

 

Of course medical scientists will say they do know… sedentary lifestyle, overweight,  etc, but thin people can get diabetes too. Which makes us realise it is just doctors who don’t know but just tell you to not do those things, on the basis that it wont do any harm and might do a lot of good; just in case haha.
And now they have found out eating a lot of sweet things are not the major factor of getting it.i bet somewhere there is also not drinking wine… and they will throw in not smoking too, i bet. 

Exercise they say will prevent it. Why and how? They don’t know.

My theory is this.
Exercise depletes the oxygen and glucose in muscle cells, as it is being used up by the muscles contracting, etc. With the glucose depleted, this forces the cell to get glucose or else!… the cell will suffer. Haha.
Or rather, putting it in a scientific way, the concentration of glucose in the cell decreases setting up a differential across the cell membrane, and the glucose in the blood diffuse by osmosis from blood vessel to cell.
So does this mean that those people with type 2 diabetes never force their cells to grab glucose from the blood because they never get active enough to use up huge amounts of glucose inside the cells?

That is my theory , and that means there is no need to inject insulin. Just exercise so that the cells get glucose depleted. This will stimulate insulin production because the absorption of glucose will lower the blood glucose and that will feedback to the insulin cells in the pancreas to increase production of insulin.

Use it or lose it. If u don’t use up the glucose in the blood, it is natural for the insulin cells to reduce production of insulin, that is a natural negative feedback mechanism, but increase glucose consumption by the cells, will lower blood glucose and set up a positive feedback mechanism and start the insulin production going again.

And it would explain why exercise is a good thing.

Seems to me exercise is a good thing no matter what. u dont have to know why or what mechanism it does its goodness.

like being able to drive a car without knowing how and why an engine works , u can just make sure u do exercise and move that body of yours. break out a sweat by doing some strenuous activity in other words and do it often.

Added.1.8.13 this article about people not doing enough exercises shows the public generally is well informed of the benefits of exercise. yet they dont do it, or rather those who are not educated dont do it. perhaps that is not so surprising, as if u dont read up about it, u may never know why exercise is good for you.

even for us who know exercise is good for us, it is one thing to know it in an academic kind of way, and actually go out and do it. people may feel they have to go to a gym or something to do the exercise, but just walking is good enough. 

added 7.7.13 read this today about a guy who cured himself of diabetestype2 in 11days by diet alone. he reduced it to 800cals a day…  the reasoning behind it is that the fat in the pancreas and liver stops the cells from dealing with the suger and insulin. starving himself caused the body to use the fat stored in the liver and pancreas. 

being thrifty, frugal, or cheapskate

8 Jan

London

8.1.13 tuesday
I have noticed in wordpress there are very few, if fact, no frugal men who are blogging about it. Those that blog are those who give advise about managing your money. Investing, spending on assets , etc. rather than just a daily talking of their frugal ways.

I seem to be the only one talking of it. and what is more, a gay male talking of being thrifty. it is not something u think of when u hear the word gay. 

I think a lot of men, and women too don’t like to give the impression that , what to us would be just frugal or thrifty habits , they will think are cheapskates. It is a fact that if u talk too much about your frugal ways to friends they will think u are a cheapskate. Even the best of friends will think that of you.

And sometimes, it may be u too will think that of yourself.

Going dumpster diving, taking things people leave in the street, rummaging in rubbish black bags, haha. going to recycling bins and taking stuff that people have got rid off. And what is more,  all these stuff are second hand stuff and have been used by others, whose sanitary habits you don’t know about and may be awful. If u put it like that it really is very offputting, doesn’t it?

So I guess we all put a limit to how far we will go in our frugal ways.

We try to whitewash that frugal ways by saying we are saving the planet, and we don’t like waste. Or even we are saving money because we are in debt and want to clear our debts.

What if I say I am not in debt, I can buy those things, but chose not to. Does it mean I am a cheapskate? Hmm, and what is wrong with that? Yet so many of us would be motified if someone were to call us that. I think the fear of being thought of as one stops many people from doing these things. Or not let others know they are doing it. It is something no one likes to boast about.

Though with so many blogs in wordpress talking of it, maybe people don’t mind talking about it in the anonymity of a blog. And it is mainly women.

Perhaps amongst men it is still taboo.

I don’t blame people for keeping quiet about their thrifty ways, or even their cheapskate ways. Haha.

Friends may pity you if ever they hear u say that u go to supermarket when they reduced the price at the end of the day . They must think poor you, to be reduced to such a way of life and counting the pennies. And I am sure many of us find that irritating, as nothing irks more than another taking a superior attitude. Unless, like me, you don’t care what others think. So it is not something people tell everyone, only to close friends who they know are as thrifty as themselves.

And we all know of friends whose thrifty ways even we balk at. Like my friend who wont flush his loo, as he wants to save water.

I would at least throw some water in from the tap but my friend wont even do that. Haha. I respect his wishes and so when I visit him I too take his cue. Even though I think it is going a bit too far. Actually, he lives in a cottage and he could have a water butt to collect rain water and use the rain water, but he does not do so.

I am sure my friends must think I am going too far by refusing to switch the heating on at all. I am warm enough as I live in a flat in London and somehow it is seldom very cold here. My indoor temp is 12C even at the coldest temp outside. So it is not as bad as it sounds. Heating contributes the biggest cost to the utilities bill so if u can do without it u are laughing.

To me it seems silly to heat up the whole flat just to keep warm, when wearing layers of fleece, eating hot foods or drink, can do the same thing.

I think it makes you more resistant to disease. I don’t have colds so much anymore since I stopped using the heaters. Perhaps it is a coincidence.

Also, I find I don’t have qualms about opening the windows , as I don’t have the heating on and so none of it goes out of the windows. I think if I heat my flat I would be very reluctant to open windows and let the expensive heating get lost. This way I keep my flat aired and ventilated and prevent build up of moisture from the condensation, which if u will notice is worse in a heated flat.

I think also I rid my flat of all the creepy crawlies that breed during the summer. They can all die in my cold flat during the winter. Haha. Or they can go next door. Haha.

All in all, there are lots of real good advantage not to have heating. But u cannot stop others from thinking u are a cheapskate so i guess u have to develop a thick skin and not care what they think.

just laugh at them, when they get into debt and worry about their money problems. haha. 

Extreme Cheapskates – I Don’t Wipe My a$$

6 Jan

london

the chinese woman in new york featured in the video is very extreme but many of the things she does makes a kind of sense if u rein in and damp down the extreme lengths to which she went.

it sounds gross when she said i dont use toilet paper,and the title of the video… i dont wipe my ass, sounds horrific until u see the video. it is a misnomer.

when she demonstrated using water and soap, it is actually what many s.e.asians used to do long ago and many may still do even today.

i know in malaysia we have a tap with hose attached in the wc, for this very purpose. using water and soap is much cleaner than just wiping with tissue.

but somehow we all seem to have bought into the commercial toilet manufacturers brainwashing us to use their products in liew of water.

as for the dumpster foods, it is just poor cooking skills and presentation on her part. instead of throwing everything inside a pot and serving it pot and all, we all know it can be done better if they were served in plates separately.

it is too extreme to just eat only thrown away food.  packaged foods thrown by the road is not going to last long in the heat of  summer  in new york. 

it is cheap to buy fresh veg , meat etc when the supermarkets reduced them on the day they expire and cook them from scratch.

i daresay her hanging on to that 12yr short pant even though the elastic has gone ,to the extent of using a clip on it is because she has got fond of that short pant.

she is right about the dishwashing machine.

her not using a washing machine for her clothes is v extreme. but in the old days people wash their clothes by hand and have not felt deprived, so she is just going back to those times.

i think what it showed is that u can get too carried away with being thrifty and frugal, and u have to weigh it with a balanced outlook and choose certain aspects of it but always be aware of not going into extremes.

But having said that caution, i would say go ahead and do what u like, and be as extreme as u like. haha.

she did not appear to be angry or bitter about having to live like that. in fact she seems to derive a lot of pleasure from her lifestyle and that is something you cannot say for the majority of people who are not that extreme as her. 

Starry Musings

I was flipping through the channels and I came across this show Extreme Cheapskates. This woman is soooo strange..Sorry, there is no way I am not using toilet paper just to save a few pennies. Definitely wouldn’t shake her hand.

Part 1 – Explains her hygiene and living arrangements

Part 2 – She serves her friend and his girlfriend a “dumpster dived” meal.

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