My question earlier was
With energy prices and inflation going mad, what changes will you be able to make to save money? Do you think there is anything you can do in respect of voicing your concerns?Hubby leaves the house budgeting and money matters to me, though we discuss it and rattle ideas around, especially now.
We are on a fixed tariff at the moment, so will be OK for this Winter, but with predictions and projections of future increases, we can expect to pay at least five times what we are now when our current tariff expires.
To say I am worried is an understatement, especially as there is talk of average energy bills leaping to as much as £10,000 by the end of next year. Ordinary people do not have that kind of money, and we certainly don’t. My state pension is over £2000 less than that.
I have already taken stock of the food we buy, and refusing to pay what is being asked for shoddy fresh produce that I end up throwing away, or items that were treats that have now escalated by about 20%. Not having those will help the diet, but that is really beside the point.
The price for basic staples of milk, eggs, bread, breakfast cereals, baked beans, cheese, rice and pasta is increasing at a phenomenal rate, and I am buying less. I have also noticed that fresh fruit especially may be the same price, but the weight has been reduced. However, I’m not buying alternatives which I did before.
I will not pay almost £2 for a 500g tub of margarine in the discount supermarket which was £1.19 at the beginning of the year and that same 500g tub of margarine is £2.50 plus in the ‘Big Four’. I have a tub in the freezer and when that has gone, unless I see it at a sensible price, we will go without. I have tried an alternative and it was gross. We will just have our bread dry, and toast will have jam only as that is currently 31p for a 400g jar, that is if we can still afford to buy bread. Beans on toast will soon be a luxury.
Meat has gone up, and again for what I pay, even less weight, I will still make four meals out of it.
Our food bill last year was less than £1800, and we have spent that already this year, even taking out what we spend on dog food.
As for energy prices, I feel physically sick the way it is going. As I said, we are on a fixed tariff so will see this Winter through, but thousands of people won’t.
We use about 24 kwh of electricity a week, the only thing on standby 24/7 is the fridge freezer and internet router. Our shower is gravity fed and heated by our gas boiler, which also runs our central heating and cooker hob.
On the boat, we had bottled gas, and a 6kg bottle would last us about 9 months as I only used the oven hob, never the oven. Our boiler and hob here can be converted to bottled gas, so we have an alternative to mains and of course larger bottles are available!
Our lights all have energy saving bulbs, we have no TV, dishwasher (that’s us with a washing up bowl) or tumble dryer. The new washing machine has a choice of three economy cycles and on the ‘test run’ we did yesterday, a thirty minute wash at 30º and spin of 1000 revs was equal to what we had before for less time. It will be interesting to see if there is any increase in our usage when I read the meters next Wednesday.
We shall be spending the next few months on tenterhooks in the hope that somebody in power will see sense and do something about this catastrophic situation which will put millions of households into fuel poverty. The potential death count is unthinkable.
I have written to my MP about my concerns, and after her initial response last week enclosing a letter from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and signed by the Minister of State for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change which referred me to the government website and list of now inadequate grants available (some of which we do not qualify for as we are not on benefits or in receipt of tax credits because they are means tested), I was not satisfied and followed it up as she offered a copy of a letter she had received from Ofgem, who are hiking the prices in the first place.
I’m interested at what spin they are putting on this extortion.