Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Weekend away!

This weekend we are going away and I can’t wait. Its ages since we have been anywhere. We are going to a house party back down saufff at a friend’s house. It is being called a ‘house warming’ party, although they have lived at this address for 16 years now, however, it is a house warming as such as it is almost a new house!

Over a year ago now in December 2009, we got a message at work to say B wouldn’t be in as she had had a house fire. Thankfully everyone was OK.

Her eldest daughter K was getting dressed in her room while her husband was in the shower. She heard K shouting her Dad saying there was smoke coming out of her overhead light. Her husband got out of the shower to look and noticed a small amount of smoke seeping through the loft hatch and realised something was very wrong. He got both the kids, told them to go downstairs and get outside with their mum. He grabbed some clothes (and his wife’s jewellery box – clever man!), and also got out.

By the time the fire brigade turned up 10 minutes later, there was fire raging out of their roof. The family had to then move in with a relative until the insurance did all their checks, and eventually in early 2010, they were able to move into rented accommodation. The house needed a new roof, but due to all the water from the firemen, all the upstairs ceilings had to come down, all furniture was smoke/water damaged and downstairs was smoke damage so the whole house has been re-done from top to bottom. It has taken a full year for all the work to be done and they managed to move home a week before Christmas. This was all due to some faulty electrical wiring (I must admit I am pretty pleased we had to have the whole of our house re-wired when we moved in).
It has been a nightmare for the whole family. They have done nothing but fight with builders and insurance people for the last year. All their stuff like clothes and personal possessions had to go for professional cleaning and was then put into storage, and they lost loads of stuff due to smoke and water damage.

One thing that I have taken away from their sorry situation is to check our house insurance policy. They have had major problems being able to claim for all their damaged items, not because the house insurance didn’t cover it, but due to the amount the insurance covered them for. If you check you house insurance details, they ask you to name an amount you want to be covered for. I think a standard policy offers you something like £30,000 -£40,000 worth. Most people, including us, think that this will more than cover anything that happens. However, my friend was saying once they started to go round the house and add up everything they had that needed replacing, they soon exceeded the amount they were covered for.

I mean sitting in my lounge now, with King Gadget (DH), I can easily count about £6500 just from 2 leather sofa’s, TV, all the games stations, his computer, my laptop, dining room table and chairs, our cabinets, woodburner, speaker system, and that’s not including the curtains which cost us over £300.00 in the end as we had to get them made to fit the windows, carpet, rug, and decorating, or the things within the cabinets like camera’s, DVDs, books, china. So you can see how quickly it all adds up. It’s frightening. They had to include all the soft furnishings for a 3 bed house, on top of all electrical equipment, clothing, shoes etc, and sadly they were not covered for it all. For them they also had to think of all the things they had stored in the loft.

This is why when we came to take out home insurance on this new house, I was really careful about who I insured with and how much we insured for, we have now insured our contents for £60,000, deciding that if the premium was slightly more it would be worth it in the long run, god forbid the day ever arose that we may need it.

And so, this weekend we will be travelling to just outside Luton to help ‘warm’ the nice, sparkly newly refitted house and roof!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Online shopping and a competition!

I blogged quite recently about my quest to try and be more frugal and save money and did do an online shop.

I was the fortunate enough to take part in Tesco's online shopping at to see how I found it AND i have been give the option to give away some shopping vouchers to some lucky bloggers.

As I have said I have used online shopping before but never with Tesco and only through pure necessity, rather than choice. I actually like going to the supermarket and doing my shop, mainly because I go alone so its a good bit of 'me' time! I often bump into people I know, I can browse and look, read mags and amble round with a takeaway coffee, and I enjoy it (as long as there are not too many old people ramming their trolleys into me and refusing to give way!). So I have never been that drawn to Internet shopping, I like to look, feel and pick.

So what did I think?

Well, its easy to log in and register and get started. I got very frustrated with the menus and having to endlessly scroll through the different produce to try and find what I normally buy.

I did like the fact that under each item there is a button you can click to find a cheaper alternative and it also highlighted in red if you had missed a special offer, such as a 2 for 1 or a 2 for £2.50 kind of thing.

Another thing I found hard was judging the quantities. For example buying a pack of pasta, I am so use to visually picking up a pack that I never take much notice of the actually size/weight of the packet. Meat was also quite hard to judge.

I did really like that I could book a time slot to suit me though as it wasn't too costly, and the slots end quite late, such as 10pm. When the shopping did arrive, it was really nice being able to have it handed into my kitchen and then I could put it straight away.

The driver was friendly and helpful, 2 of my items were not in stock so I had been given substitutes, one was fine, the other I wasn't happy with and the driver was fine about that and just took it away with him. Most of my fruit and veg were fine, although some was riper than I would of pick, but by no means over ripe, I am just fussy. Some of my meat was fattier than I would of picked but again this is my personal preference, it wasn't un-eatable or anything like that.

All in all it was a good experience. I will use online shopping again, and with Tesco as now I have done one shop, my favourites are stored in a list so it will be much quicker and easier with the more times I use it.

I think if you have the patience to set it all up properly it is very worthwhile. I will be honest though and say it is not something I will use weekly as I prefer actually going to the shop, however, it is good for convenience and I am going to try and use it more regularly.

So onto how do you get one of the online vouchers I have to give away? Well I would like to hear about your top money saving tips in the supermarket, how do you save money each week? For example, I always take a few extra of the small clear, plastic bags you get for putting your vegetables in, take them home and they make perfect sandwich bags or freezer bags. I never buy these anymore.

To be eligible to receive a voucher, you must be new to shopping online with them, and need to leave a comment on my blog with your top tip before MOnday 28th February. You can read the terms and conditions to the shopping below.

Good Luck

Terms and conditions
£12 off your online grocery shop when you spend £50 or more. Code is valid from February 28th 2011 on a single grocery order, delivered on or before 11th March 2011. Customers must spend & have delivered £50 or more of groceries from Purchases from Wine By the Case do not qualify. £50 minimum spend excludes purchases of tobacco, infant milk formulae, prescription medicines & the service charge. Valid on purchases from groceries site only. Valid for first-time grocery shoppers only. Cannot be used in conjunction with other coupons. This coupon is and shall remain the property of Tesco Stores Limited and is not for resale or publication.