Trying to cut back. No idea how?

(20 Posts)
Ultracrepidarian Sun 10-Aug-14 15:42:58

Ok, so in brief dh has a new job, great pay when at sea but terrible basic pay when not at sea, so winter will be hard.

We plan to make over payments on things like council tax and fuel bills when his pay is high but we still need to make cutbacks.

We have an LPG tank not much we can do with it and our supplier is the cheapest out there but it's still costly so I want to get rid of or cutback on things we don't need.

Sky is our biggest demon we live in a tiny rural costal community in the highlands, very poor broadband speed and poor free view coverage. We mainly watch sky living, watch and discovery but pay a fortune for this service. No idea if we have any other options, basically I love Grim and Greys anatomy and other such silly things and as I'm alone around 8 months a year it's nice company (wow that sounds a bit pathetic)

We currently have no landline so am looking for cheap broadband phone provider, trying to get rid of my mobile as it doesn't work here 70% of the time, fog, mist and rain mean no phone signal.

This is a bit longer than planned so thank you for reading. I'm at a loss I would like to reduce our bills by around £200 if possible but I'm going around in circles trying to reduce our outgoings.

OP’s posts: |
Lunastarfish Sun 10-Aug-14 15:47:15

Can go you to the baisc sky package (i.e. lose discovery). Basic phone, broadband and TV costs me £40.

What about food? I find food is the biggest expenses.

lanbro Sun 10-Aug-14 15:47:18

How about buying second hand dvds of series you like then reselling once watched instead of having Sky? Resale value would be around the same so almost free apart from postage!

Ultracrepidarian Sun 10-Aug-14 16:08:14

Food I use our child benefit/tax so as long as I'm under around £50 a week I'm ok. We eat fish but no meat, we can't afford to.

DVDs are a good idea, I wondered about Netflix or now tv but I'm a bit of a technophobe. Which is why I'm taking such a long time to worth things out. Somehow we have sky movies but I don't know how we ended up with them?

OP’s posts: |
Fluffycloudland77 Sun 10-Aug-14 21:45:34

Netflix is good, you can get cashback off topcashback or quidco for it too.

Ring up sky, tell them you want to cancel & see how much they reduce the bill by in an effort to keep you.

Can you get council tax relief if he's away for so long every year?

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 11-Aug-14 05:08:24

I didn't know if you can get good online TV with a bad broadband connection. Use netflix free trial and see. If you can get good steaming going, then ditch the sky box. You can get now tv (with sky living) and netflix for £11 a month. You can get the free channels over the internet via catch up using iplayer, 4od etc. then you don't have to pay the TV license. Basically pay less than the license for movies, box sets and a range of sky channels. You can watch Internet TV with a ps3/4, xbox, or a roku. I assume you aren't the iPad or computer watching type.

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 11-Aug-14 05:10:09

See the exception here to see why you don't have to pay if you watch catch up only


OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 11-Aug-14 05:12:26

Now TV has discovery too but I assume you have figured it out!

Charlesroi Mon 11-Aug-14 10:52:33

You can ditch Sky and use freesat. Lots of the basic channels for nowt.
I guess your options for a landline will be limited living where you do, but have a look at the offers from a few providers (use USwitch for ideas) and see what's available. You can usually save quite a bit by paying the line rental a year in advance.
Don't have a mobile contract - swap to PAYG so you have the use of the phone if you're away from home.

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 11-Aug-14 11:31:49

Charlesroi freesat is actually more expensive than sky via the internet.

Freesat £12.12/mo
now tv (with both discovery + sky living the OP wants) £5
netflix £6
BBC iplayer, ITV player, 4od, demand 5 - all free

So in effect, you get the subscription goodies for less than freesat. Why would you actually get freesat in this case? Makes no sense for 'money saving'.

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 11-Aug-14 11:33:08

The £12.12 is the £145.50 TV license. Freesat isn't actually free. If you look on the TV licensing website, you don't have to pay a TV license if you watch only on demand.

Ultracrepidarian Mon 11-Aug-14 16:28:03

Hi thanks for all the suggestions. Looks like anything broadband related won't work. Our top speed is looking like a 4/5 mb at best, we have been told our landline will be temperamental in poor weather and that there is frequent loss of service. I looked and satellite broadband but it's oh so expensive.

I'd be happy with free sat if only watch was still a free sat service! But it would have to be through sky as aerials get a poor picture. It's a bit hopeless for rural folk, I wonder how islanders manage. The sooner they role out high speed broadband or cable to everyone the sooner everyone will benefit from cheaper providers. Currently I'm a captive consumer I can't shop around as my options are so limited.

We don't have credit cards or shop credit, so I'm struggling to make significant savings. May have to dig deeper and see we're else we overspend.

OP’s posts: |
Passthecake30 Mon 11-Aug-14 17:52:37

What about food/activity/clothes spending? How much do you spend there?

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 11-Aug-14 17:55:17

Oh dear only 4/5Mb. Have you looked at sky on demand on your box? Does it work well? It is basically netflix with a different selection. But it is better because the entire episode can be downloaded to the hard drive first. Have a look at your sky package price and compared it to the current price. You might be able to get it cheaper? Like get rid of sky movies too? Doesn't seem like you like them.

Ultracrepidarian Mon 11-Aug-14 19:06:18

Thank you onelittle I do watch the movies just no idea how we ended up with them! I'm guessing I agreed to a promo and missed the end date.

I will also look closer at demand.

Funnily I spend very little on clothes, almost zero on activities and holidays and around £50 on food. We eat mainly vegetarian dishes and I cook everything from scratch.

The LPG tank is costly but we have no other options for heating other than run it only at essential times.

Might try to lump some of our suppliers together that might help on savings.

OP’s posts: |
poocatcherchampion Thu 14-Aug-14 13:14:11

definitely ring sky to cancel. we did it last week and they halfed our bill if we stay anthoer yet - £9 a month now. we had no intention of actually leaving...

everythingsgoingsouth Sun 17-Aug-14 18:02:48

don't know if this is of help, but when i cancelled sky, the guy there told me i can keep the box connected and access the free channels.( don't have an ariel or need to buy a free view box) i soon got used to the choices of channels.

heating-would an electric heater for just the room you are using at the time save on cost of LPG?

hot water bottles for night time or when snuggled up in front of TV?

making sure you have insulated every nook and cranny?quilts at windows/foil behind radiators/draught excluders etc?

have you any skills to sell whilst at home? sg. taking in ironing/ sewing/ knitting/baby or dog sitting?

food-bulk buying dried/tinned goods,loo rolls,cleaning stuff may be cheaper.

good luck smile

ItsDinah Fri 22-Aug-14 23:18:02

I feel for you. You are not at all pathetic and it sounds to me that you are doing well if you live in the sort of place I think you do, I think the TV is good for you when you are on your own so much. I can only get TV or radio by satellite and wouldn't want to live without it,having spent years avoiding the expense. Go for the basic Sky package, Movies are too dear. I have three different pay as you go mobiles on different networks to optimise the chance of getting a signal. They cost a tenner each.

I expect you won't want tips about what's a bargain at the Pound Shops and other places in big towns. Any chance of cutting petrol/travel costs by sharing a car or taking turns with trips for necessary chores like shopping? Everyone is hurting from petrol costs so don't be embarrassed to ask.

LPG - nightmare. There is the possibility of completely free to you top range insulation and other works under the HEEPS Area Based Scheme. Not means tested. It comes from the levy on the power companies and local authorities are allocated funds which they use to provide help for areas where heating is a major issue e,g, due to being off the mains gas grid, I think Highland Council is targeting FortWilliam, Caol, Aird & Loch Ness, Culloden & Ardersier, Thurso, Wick and Applecross at present. I checked this very carefully and it is bona fide. No means test and you pay nothing. Try the Council, I know people who got 30,000 external insulation added to their house. Forgive me if you already have got all the DIY insulation,but if you haven't things like door curtains (or a DIY porch) can make a big difference.

Fluffyears Sat 30-Aug-14 14:27:36

I called sky to cancel and got half price for 6 months. I told them I simply couldn't afford it. Worth a try. Heating costs are a bugger. Showers rather than baths Keep room doors closed and get draught excluders and warm throws (ikea do good cheap ones). Fill freezer with meals like bolognese and soup while you have more money. Make things like lentil soup and lentil bolognese as it's cheap and filling. Porridge is a good brekkie and again cheap and filling. Good luck.

bloodyteenagers Sun 31-Aug-14 21:30:30

Are you spending everything each month? Ie, the warmer months when more money, is it being spent, or are you working out the years pay, and living monthly according to that? If not, maybe worth a go.

But have a look at the switch services to see what's in your area that you can switch.

Grow your own veg. Think it's late for this year, but something for next year.

Don't go cancelling the sky just yet. Netflix, Prime, etc all have free trials. Trial them one by one. They might not work too good in your area, or like myself you spend hours browsing for things to actually watch that you haven't already seen. Or maybe have the basic package to retain the bb, this way you will still get some channels and an option to get netflix or whatever.. Although if you get a lot from amazon, the prime might be the service for you.. Even better if either of you are students and have a nus card, as it's half price.

If you get rid of the live tv (sky) and you save on the tv license. But any saving from there, you might end up paying more because of the bb. Plus bbc are trying to close the iplayer loophole.

Try and cover any drafts. Windows. Letter box. Around the front door etc. These can all be done very cheap.

Tbh I am not sure how lpg works, so asking a daft question.. Do you have radiators? If so, do the foil thing.

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