Friday 10 February 2023

Frugal February…


So the first full week of the challenge started with the most expensive gym visit of the year - once again I intend to keep track of my "per use" cost for this, so last Friday's visit cost me £280! The good news is that for the next few visits, that figure naturally drops at a fine rate. The bad news is that it will be at least another week before I see that happen, as family commitments mean I'm not getting there this week! I knew that was going to happen, though. 

One job for the weekend was to review some savings account rates. Obviously with the Bank of England changing the interest rates again last week, rates have changed - unfortunately neither of the two "homes" for my own personal accessible cash savings have decided to increase things at all since before the LAST rate change, so I reached the conclusion it was time to vote with my feet. For various reasons I didn't want to open an account with a new provider right now, however, we have accounts with various different banks and building societies, meaning I am a "customer" already with them, so I set to checking what various options were available. Eventually settled on one paying fractionally below 3% - close to as god as available for easy access right now, and within literally a couple of hours has set up the new instant access account, and moved money from two different institutions across to it. While I was money shuffling with banking, I also took the chance to set up a new regular saver account from another provider (it's predecessor had matured a couple of weeks earlier) and also set up standing orders to a couple of other regular savers that we have on the go. 

For anyone who's not familiar with the concept of regular savers, it is probably most simply described as an account offering a higher rate of interest than the usual in exchange for a promise from the customer that it will feed it regularly - monthly, as a rule - and not be able to take the money out until the term of the account is complete. If you have an amount of money to save on a monthly basis - so for example "spare" money once bills are paid - which you know you will not need to touch for a full year, you can earn yourself a better rate of interest than you would from most other standard savings accounts. Don't dismiss these because you assume that you won't have enough money to make it worth it, either - some of these type of accounts have maximum monthly funding limits as low as £50 - and you can even put in less than that if you choose! (An example here is Nationwide's Start To Save account which pays 5% interest currently). At the other end of the scale is the FirstDirect Regular Saver attached to it's "1st" Current account - in exchange for a maximum of £350 per month that will deliver a whopping 7% interest - and you could even get an additional £175 by switching your current account to them, too! One word of caution - it's slightly complex to work out how  much interest that these accounts will actually leave you with - but there are specialist Regular Savings interest calculators out there to help you work it out. For someone who wants to add to a savings pot monthly though, and does not have a need to access the money for a while, it can be a god way of earning decent interest.

As predicted there has been some high spending incurred for travel so far this month - MrEH's car has already needed a full tank of fuel, and will need another tankful this weekend. In other (spending) news, we had a planned trip into London on Monday - for a talk run by the London Transport Museum Friends - an organisation we are members of. While the talk was free, we had the cost for travel to and from (on the tube, naturally!) and also as we would not be home until mid evening, we elected to get dinner out as well, opting for a meal and a beer each in a pub belonging to a well known chain for a total cost of under £25. The talk was interesting, the food was tasty enough, and the beer was very pleasant indeed - so we're calling that money well spent. We also got information while at the talk about some other events coming up which may give us some low cost entertainment too - we'll be keeping our eyes open for further details of those.

Hopefully by the next time I write things will have settled down a little bit and we'll have stopped needing to feed the car fuel tank quite so frequently - sometimes though a situation occurs where the cost is quite simply irrelevant(as long as you can afford it, obviously), this is one of those situations.


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