THP’s Uncle Nige gains a few tips on how to save money in 2017

It is Budget week this week, so last night I popped into my local for a couple of cheering glasses before the Chancellor decided to slap some extra tax on them.

As I inhaled my first glass of claret, it struck me that there probably wouldn’t be much good news in this week’s Budget. The deficit is still sky high and the cabinet have got the collywobbles about how UK industry will be affected by Brexit, so the chances of a Budget giveaway are going to be slim indeed.

I was saying as much to Jack, our friendly barman. “It’s going to be a week for belt tightening, Jack,” I observed.

“You’re not wearing one, Nige,” he riposted, with the rapier-like humour for which he is renowned.

“Very funny my dear pourer of pints,” I replied. “But seriously, how does one go about saving a few quid in times like these?”

“Now you’re asking,” he replied. “If there’s one thing I’ve got good at in recent years, it’s saving cash. Shall I tell you how I do it?”

“Tell away,” I said, adding that I would be more prepared to listen if he poured me another large claret.

“Well,” said Jack, handing over my glass, “You know I have space on my driveway for two cars? The thing is that I’ve only got one battered old VW. So I went online and rented out my drive to people who want to park near the station. There are loads of websites you can use to do it, like justpark.com and parkonmydrive.com. Now I get something like a fiver a day, simply for letting someone park on my drive.”

“Great Scott,” I said. “That’s a wonderful wheeze. I’ve got a couple of extra spaces myself. What else have you been up to?”

“Hm,” replied Jack reflectively. “One thing I have done is to stop chucking stuff away – I sell it on eBay instead. So if my phone contract ends and I get a new phone, I sell it. If my wife decides to buy new kitchen chairs, I sell the old ones. When the kids get too big for their bikes, I sell them. I reckon I get an extra £1,000 a year by putting things on eBay or local selling groups on Facebook.”

“I like this way of thinking, Jack,” I said. “The amount of junk my family buys could definitely get sold next week. Do you have a final tip for me before I head back and start posting their stuff online?”

“Yes,” Jack replied. “I’ve learned to haggle. Every time a contract comes up for renewal, I haggle with the supplier and shop around for other deals. So each time a contract for my phone, or my TV and internet package, comes to an end I hold out for a better deal. If I find a better deal with another supplier, the current one will usually match it. That means I save money and don’t have to put up with the hassle of switching.”

“By Jove!” I said. “That is a good idea. By the way, did you know that claret is 40p cheaper per glass in the Duck & Pheasant down the road. If it’s alright by you, I’ll stay here and drink yours if you offer me the same price.”

Sadly, the language Jack started using at this point became rather fruity to say the least. So I popped home and started listing things on eBay instead – I suggest you do too, but remember to declare the sales on your tax return!

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