Peter the Miser

One of the few downsides to taking early retirement is a “slight” reduction in my take home retirement pay when compared to my rather lucrative former existence as Regional Vice President for a global IT research firm.

On the other hand I now receive a personal tax allowance and only pay basic rate income tax on the excess pension which definitely appeals to my Yorkshire roots. 😎

So given a limited income while adhering to the old Scottish adage “many a mickle makes a muckle” I’ve been putting my analytical eye over my family’s expenditure account to see what economies could be extracted without “throwing the baby out with the bath water “.

There’s not too much I can do (for now) on food & drink, travel, a daughter studying for her Masters, a son getting married etc. which leaves me with reviewing spend with utilities such as gas, electric, phones, broadband, insurances and TV, enough to be getting on with methinks.

My first decision has been to eliminate BT from our Llanfoist escape and replace with Vodafone.  Debbie & I pay £9 a month each to Vodafone for the privilege of hooking our iPhone 5c’s to 1000 minutes talktime, 3GB of 4G data and unlimited texts.  A 40% discounted tariff offered when I threatened to leave to BT on expiry of our original deal.

As an existing Vodafone customer I then qualified for the £22 a month no line rental unlimited fibre broadband offer so have moved away from the much higher BT charges for an inferior analogue service.  We still keep our land line number free of charge too!

Next in my headlights was British Gas as I’d recently received a renewal reminder that the cost of my annual service & inspection of our gas boiler (after the introductory first year) was going up from around £4 to £7 a month.  Scandalous I thought so I called the freephone customer service to query why such a huge increase.  Not happy with their answer, but not wanting to put my family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, I exacted revenge by switching away from BG’s electricity and gas dual fuel internet deal to, wait for it, the cheaper tariff offered on their own bills to Sainsbury Energy – delivered by British Gas!  A “white label” deal that they try not to publicise too much which will save yours truly well over £200 a year..  Thank God I print out all my bills for scrutiny, I wonder if our zeal for paperless billing is stopping us switch providees?

Encouraged by these successes I then received a renewal letter from Churchill for buildings and contents cover for just over £330 which was swiftly batted to the boundary and replaced with a deal from Saga costing under £200 with much increased cover.

I had a promo code from Saga as the Land Rover car insurance is with them, there are advantages sometimes in getting older!  Of course the other question is – do I really need 2 cars – I think I’ll pass on that for the moment!

Flushed with success I am now turning a jaundiced eye on Sky TV – Freesat from Sky with Sky+ looks like it will reduce my bill by 50% and give us still all we want – all by dropping the “Original bundle” we don’t watch.

So on it goes!  Basically being a loyal customer doesn’t pay, in fact it actively penalises you.  I often used to say to others, “the more I earned, the more I wasted” well perhaps the converse is also true!

Makes you think..



Peter the Miser

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