Consumer Goods

Money calendar

Today I came across something I hadn’t considered before, but I think it’s a good idea. The BBC business website has an article they describe as a “Money Calendar”, which offers month-by-month tips to help you sort out your finances during the year. Some of the tips are simple forward planning (like saving up for Christmas earlier in the year), others are suggestions which have specific relevance to the month in question (like summer activities in July).

I think there are some great tips and points to consider in this article, in some cases with links to more detailed information if you want to explore further. At a time of year when we’re all trying to get our finances sorted out, why not take a look and see if it gives you any useful pointers?

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Wednesday, January 20th, 2016 Consumer Goods No Comments

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Easily find gifts for him

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Although it’s not my usual topic of blog post, I thought this website might be of use to readers of The Salary Calculator blog – not just because I think it can help save a bit of money in the lead up to Christmas. Inspire A Gift has been created to help you find gifts for him – whether that’s your boyfriend, husband, dad, brother or a friend. By using your answers to a fun personality quiz to get an idea of the guy you’re buying for, Inspire A Gift will recommend presents specific to the person on your mind. Whether this is for Christmas, birthday, or just because – Inspire A Gift can help you find the perfect gift.

If the quiz doesn’t find the perfect gift (or if he’s already got everything that is recommended!), you can also browse all the gift recommendations according to personality type. If you think this could help you get started (or finished!) on your Christmas shopping, check out the Inspire A Gift personality quiz!

Monday, November 3rd, 2014 Consumer Goods No Comments

Your total tax bill for the year is…

Although The Salary Calculator helps you to see how much of your salary gets eaten up by income tax, National Insurance and other deductions, there are other ways in which the government gets its hands on your money. There’s council tax, for example. VAT on goods and services. And fuel duty on petrol and diesel.

The guys and girls at Money Sense, run by paydayloan.co.uk, have created an interactive tool that lets you see how much more tax you pay during the year through other means. Try out their tax calculator and see what percentage of your income goes to the government in one form or another.

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Trying to live cheaply

I was interested to read an article on the BBC news website today about the new benefits cap, which was trying to estimate how much money someone needs to be able to live (albeit cheaply). As well as some examples of how people can save a bit of money with cheaper options, it was interesting to me to see things that I wouldn’t necessarily have considered when trying to work out my weekly spend.

For example, they say that the average family spends £9.50 a week on furniture. Now, obviously, most people don’t buy a new piece of furniture each week, and I can’t remember the last time I did – but it is expensive and you will need to budget for some such purchases over the year. You might think that if you were living on a budget you just wouldn’t buy furniture, but it does wear out and does need to be replaced, even if it is replaced with a cheaper, second-hand equivalent.

Also clothing – not something I spend money on regularly, but if you have a job interview you will need a suit – and you’ll have to save for many weeks at a couple of pounds a week to afford it. Things like socks will wear out, shirts will get damaged – if every penny counts, it will be difficult to get replacements, even if you shop in budget shops.

Anyway, check out the link above to read the article in more detail. You might spot somewhere that you could economise!

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Friday, April 26th, 2013 Consumer Goods, Economy, Jobs No Comments

Petrol price review by OFT

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has this week issued a call for information on the prices that consumers are paying at the pumps for petrol and diesel. They intend to investigate a number of things, notably whether there is sufficient competition between suppliers to lower prices, and whether or not a fall in the price of crude oil is reflected by lower prices for consumers at the pumps.

This last question is a bit of a hot topic for many petrol users as they feel that although oil prices are not at their peak, petrol is more expensive than ever. This great chart from Whatgas compares the price of petrol in green with the underlying cost of crude oil in blue:

Price of unleaded petrol and crude oil

As you can see, although the price of petrol does follow the cost of oil, it seems that there is a much larger gap between the oil cost and the price at the pumps since the oil price dropped in the middle of 2009. As the people at Whatgas say, some of this is due to currency fluctuations (oil is traded in US dollars, not pounds Sterling) and increases in fuel duty. The OFT will be investigating whether the whole discrepancy can be accounted for through “legitimate” reasons, or if they believe petrol companies are behaving unfairly and fixing the price higher than clean competition would suggest. The OFT expect to publish their findings in January 2013.

As a final thought, the BBC’s article about this investigation includes this interesting chart showing how the total price for each litre breaks down:

Petrol and diesel price breakdown

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Friday, September 7th, 2012 Consumer Goods No Comments

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