Five things we can't live without
The downturn has forced many of us to make cutbacks, but not when it comes to these five things...
What’s the one thing you couldn’t live without, even if money was tight? Is it your trusted mobile phone? That monthly hair appointment? Or perhaps it’s your premium Sky subscription?
The truth is, we all have things we don’t want to give up, and while the credit crunch is making many of us ditch that Prada for Primark, it doesn’t mean we’re prepared to give up luxuries altogether.
So, while 71% of Brits have tightened their belts since the credit crunch started, with 62% staying in more, and 59% going to cheaper shops in order to cut spending, according to BT, losing certain luxuries is just too much to bear…
Top of Britain’s ‘refuse to lose’ list is broadband, with 57% of us unwilling to give up access to the information superhighway, even in a downturn.
If you are thinking of switching broadband providers, the important thing to remember is to calculate the true cost of your package by including any connection fees and modem/wireless router costs.
This will also iron out any initial deal periods, allowing you to compare how much your package will cost over the life of the contract.
You may also consider whether it's really worth paying extra for that superfast broadband connection, as only the most avid surfers are likely to reap the full benefits.
For example, BBC’s iPlayer only requires speeds of 512kbps to run efficiently. In addition, a recent report by telecoms regulator Ofcom also revealed that many of us are getting less than half the broadband speeds advertised by providers.
So, before you sign on the dotted line, it's worth contacting your prospective provider to check the maximum speeds available in your area, otherwise you may end up paying for lightning fast broadband that travels at a snail's pace.
In addition, if you are already a customer of a company offering a free or discounted broadband service, it may be worth signing up to one of their deals.
2.) Fresh fruit and vegetables
Jamie Oliver and co. will be pleased to learn that Britain’s second most indispensible item is good old fresh fruit and veg.
The economic downturn has already led many of us to change our food shopping habits, with household names such as Tesco and Marks and Spencer traded in for value alternatives such as Lidl and Aldi.
Related blog post
- Serena Cowdy writes:
This week we bring you new and extended restaurant deals from GBK, Pizza Hut, Pizza Express and Ha ha bar & grill. We also have a new M&S ‘Dine In’ deal, £2 tubs of Ben & Jerry’s, a voucher for a free pint or glass of wine, up to 50% off at Tesco Wine, free chocolates and a way to bag exclusive London food deals!Read this post
However, it’s heartening to know that us Brits are still striving for those five portions a day, with 43% unwilling to give up their greens despite the credit crunch.
Here at lovemoney.com, we scour the supermarkets every Friday for the best bargains and discounts on food for our Frugal Food blog: www.lovemoney.com/frugalfood.
We also highly recommend mysupermarket.com, which hunts down the cheapest prices for your weekly shop, as well as highlighting special offers and BOGOF deals where you can Buy One, Get One Free. Once you’ve filled up your basket, they’ll pass on your order to the supermarket, which will deliver the whole lot straight to your doorstep.
For some more money saving advice, join our goal: Cut your food bills.
3.) Mobile phone
Talking on the move is also top priority, with 37% of people unwilling to let go of their trusted mobile phones in a credit squeeze.
Getting the best value out of your mobile depends entirely on how much you talk and text. However, one type of deal I’ve always liked are SIM only plans, which give you loads more minutes than a traditional contract without tying you in for more than 30 days.
The only downside to SIM-only is you won’t get a shiny new phone with the deal. However, if gaining street cred from your friends and family isn’t that important to you, SIM-only is sure to shave pounds off your phone bill.
Join our Spend less on your mobile goal for more tips on how to cut your mobile phone costs.
4.) Home telephone
The home telephone isn’t much talked about in today’s technological age, and while developments in the mobile world draw lots of attention, the humble landline can get left behind.
Hate receiving your mobile phone bill every month? Don’t put up and shut up – find out how to slash that bill and cut your costs!Do this goal
Despite this, 27% of Brits still can't live without their home phone. The bad news is, landline companies are getting more sneaky, with BT, Sky and TalkTalk all changing their off-peak hours, so that phonecalls between 6pm and 7pm now count as peak calls and cost around 6p a minute. If you make a lot of calls between 6pm and 7pm, this can end up costing you hundreds of pounds extra a year. So instead, switch to Primus' Home Saver package, where you'll get free weekend calls and evening calls if you sign up via comparison site Homephonechoices.
If you want to cut your BT bill even further, switch to direct debit and paperless billing and you will automatically shave £1.23 a month off your call costs.
Finally, for those who natter a lot, you could always cut your calls further by using an override provider such as 18185 and Dialwise, where you can bypass BT phone charges by dialing a special access number.
Rounding off the list at #5 is chocolate. Personally, I think chocolate is one of those indulgences you can afford to give into, especially after a long day at the office or a stressful week.
But in keeping with the theme of the article, instead of ditching your Lindt for a Lion bar, buy your goodies in multi-packs at the supermarket, instead of picking up individual bars at the newsagents.
Those pennies you'll save will soon add up – though be careful, or you could end up gaining pounds in both senses of the word...
This article has been updated from an earlier version published in 2009.