Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sharing the Load

Writing this late Sunday due to going out early Monday. Take this as the usual Monday blog.

We too had a very old - and still working big chest freezer Alison. After the family left home, it became too large for just B and me end, and even though I am tall, as I got older found it difficult to reach foods that had been placed in the bottom. We bought it prior to moving to Leeds in 1969, and a fridge bought in the late 50's also still worked ( but needing defrosting every month), and B decided to buy a big American style fridge/freezer shortly before we moved here to Morecambe two years ago. Just hated getting rid of appliances that still worked, but being they had 'old gases' in them they had to be safely dunped. The new fridge/freezer we call 'Boris', and have to say there is a lot more room in the fridge side, but nothing near as much room in the freezer because although it LOOKS large enough, Beloved didn't realise much of the space was taken up by the motor. Don't think he even bothered to check. At least Boris is 'frost-free' so no need to constantly defrost.

We also have a Hoover Junior that still works and this was given us to my mother in the mid '50s, and after she died we then had her larger Hoover that she bought in the late '40s. Our washing machine (belonged to my late sister-in-law) is now over 20 years old. I have a hair dryer that still works that I used as a teenager! When we moved here we gave away two oil-filled radiators that were bought when our son was born (these at the time of giving must have been about 50 years old). It's either that in the old days things were meant to last, or some people seem to be lucky with their electrical appliances. Maybe you too Alison have many old 'electrics' that still work.

Yes, suppose I should take more care about cooking a proper meal for myself Eileen. I eat healthily enough, but prefer something that takes a very short time to make and preferably not cooked at all. Cold meats and canned tuna I don't count as 'cooked food', and - during the summer - salads and fresh fruit are quick to prepare and throw into a bowl.

Think a lot of my attitude to life (and to myself) has again to do with upbringing. "Always put other people first", "never visit anyone unless you have been invited or you'll be a nuisance", "it's alright to be happy as long as nobody is made unhappy because of what you do". etc, etc. Most of the time I hardly dare do anything at that I really wanted to do, for the time I'd thought it through and worked out it wouldn't harm anyone, the pleasure of doing it had gone. Spontaneity was frowned upon. Always everything had to be thought through before any action was taken. Just to make sure no-one got hurt.

My mother used to complain bitterly because I would give my possessions away to anyone who happened to say they liked them. Never did want to keep anything just for myself. Even when adult have given my last £1 away to someone who I felt needed it more.

Watching the last of 'The Apprentice' tonight realised that I would never be able to make money. Or even wish to, for the chance was there when I first began cooking on the media, but even though the Beeb desperately wanted my books to be sold for a much higher price saying " think how much money you could make". I wanted them sold as cheaply as possible as my feeling was these books were written with the aim that if the hints and tips were followed, this would help save more money than the books cost in the first place. How could I benefit at other people's expense. B has never forgiven me for that. He could see ££££ signs hovering over my head at the time, and thought we could end up 'well off' if I played my cards right.

Although I can be very professional at times, and certainly 'an organiser', making money is not me, and actually enjoy being hard up (which is why, when some amount has been earned, it has always been spread around the family. What do I want with money?. So perhaps am being a bit unfair when knocking the way businesses pull out all the stops to make a profit. Many readers of this blog may run their own business, and need to find the best way to make sales. That's the name of the game.

What does get to me is the way the big stores pull our strings to get as much money out of us as possible. This again is just 'business', and when we see how many top names on the High Street are closing down, this really is a case of 'store wars' when it comes to the supermarkets, each trying to outdo each other (which can work to our advantage) but when you consider the profits they still make, feel that we are still being reeled in like fish. Again business, and to some extent our own fault for chasing after the carrots they dangle in front of us.

In the old days nearly everything was made to a high standard and sold for a fairly reasonable price. The craftsman had to make a living, but did not normally expect to end up an entrepreneur. During the last half-century there has been a U-turn, and shoddy goods made with 'built in obsolescence' so that if they fell to bits after ten years the idea was that another would need to be bought, then another, and another. Good for trade but not our pocket. Well made or not, 'fashion' decrees what's 'in' this year and what's not. So new clothes, new furnishings, new carpets, or no carpets, cars... changed on average every five years because this is what the magazines say we should have.
This may be good for industry, but it is not good for our bank balance. At this time of recession the government is asking us to spend more to get the country back on its feet, at the same time taking our money in one way or another. We seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Unfortunately any money we have left after paying the bills is called 'disposable income'. In other words we are expected to get rid of it. Very rarely is it suggested we save, and possibly we might be wise if we didn't, for those that have been careful over the years, have to use their assest to pay for someone to look after them in their old age. Others - who have never bothered to save - get this care for free.

The mention of 'cliches' came up on 'The Apprentice', and when I think back as to how I write my blog feel I must litter them with cliches, metaphors (mostly mixed), too many words in italics, brackets, and quotation marks. If I knew how to underline you'd probably get a lot of that too.
When it comes to the brackets, the is to show the way I would normally talk when speaking to you face to face -as an 'aside', or bit of something extra that has just come into my head. Quite often start writing about something and then drift off talking about something entirely different (as I do in real life), before returning to the original topic. As have said before, I write down things as they come into my head, and being able to touch-type at an incredible rate (boasting but true), you are seeing my exact thoughts at the time of writing.
Having said that - when editing I do sometimes remove bits that really don't have any bearing on anything. If I didn't do that my blogs could end up three times as long.

It is now midnight, so this should end up with Monday's date (unless blogger use a different time band - being American based). Not that it matters. Long as there is something to read.

Luckily my Beloved is still watching a film for had a sudden fright. I was typing furiously at the keyboard when suddenly the 'mouse' at the side shot right across to the back of the desk. Wondered what was under the desk that had pulled the wire, so quickly ran away. Beloved discovered my little bag that contains my pills had fallen down the back and this may have pulled the wire with it, but then what knocked my bag down in the first place? Am still trembly, so forgive me if I soon leave you and depart to our living room (or even the bedroom) where I will feel much safer. I'll never feel safe in here again at night, who knows what's lurking in the dark?

Regarding the title. When we do almost anything, especially when it's not much fun (like dieting, saving money etc), it's always seems easier if we don't do it alone. Hope you feel by sharing our thoughts, our highs and lows, this blog makes the task of cost-cutting something we'd actually like to try - even when we don't need to. Myself KNOW that I wouldn't bother with half the things I do if I couldn't 'have a chat' about them. A lot of the things I do is because I've been inspired by someone else.

Before I sign off, must tell you about a new way to make money. Gill told me about it. It's to do with the Asda scheme when we find a product bought from them sold cheaper elsewhere, they will refund the difference (or is it twice the difference?). Anyway, Gill told me her daughter checked an Asda receipt and found several items that were cheaper elsewhere, so by typing in the receipt details via the internet she got a voucher in return that she could hand in when she next shopped at the store, the money would then be refunded.

A friend of hers (on benefits) told Gill that every time she goes round the Asda carpark, she picks up receipts that people have thrown away, takes them home, checks the prices and then claims back anything overpriced. Apparently no customer card details need to be given, just the receipt number (and therefore quite legal). Thinking back to past days when every penny counted, might well have travelled that path myself.

Don't suppose this is much different to times past when small boys (like my Beloved) used to scour the kerbside picking up empty bottles and taking them back to the shop to get the penny refund on them. Not quite sure who (Jeffrey Acher comes to mind) but some well-known person as a lad used to hunt through waste bins to find empty cigarette packets that had vouchers in them, then send these away to get free ball point pens (in those days not as common as they are now - memories of using pen-nibs, ink wells and getting blots on my exercise books come flooding back into my mind). The lad used then sell the pens to his school mates. And there began a start to the world of wealth. Lord Sugar probably had the same mindset.

Remember how - very early this year - I said the 'in' word for 2011 was 'icon/iconic'. How true this has been. Everyday without fail I hear it on the TV, and see it in the newspaper. This past week have noticed another word cropping up more often than it should - this being 'mindset'. And to my shame have used it myself (see above). But will try not to again.
Although my trembles have settled down, it really is time for me to wend my way to bed, so will finish by saying I hope you have a good day and - all things being well - should be back at usual time on Tuesday. See you then.