2013: My year of thrift

Rather than make a New Years resolution ‘per se’ I have decided instead to adopt a word and try ensure that it underlies and governs my every action and deed in 2013.

That word is ‘thrift’. In short I am going to become tight, frugal, mean, scrimpy, penny-pinching, stingy and parsimonious. I am sure that some people already think that I am all of the above, but 2013 is going to see me excel.

At the end of last year we authorised around €6,000 of additional spend on the barn which we’d not originally budgeted for. This included; uprated electricals, improved flooring materials, a more expensive bathroom, and the building of a wood store. We’d already spent more than we’d hoped on the barn conversion, especially when you bear in mind that the main project (the big house) is where our cash should really be going, and with me spending more time in Spain and not in the UK doing my day job, cutting costs is going to be key.

I’ve started as I mean to go on, hunting for travel bargains for my next trip to Galicia on the 8th January where I will stay until Amanda joins me on the 22nd with us both returning to the UK together on the 27th. Hopefully this will be the trip which sees the barn reach habitable status.

There will be three elements to the trip and I think that I’ve done my utmost to keep the costs low on all three.

  1. EasyJet prices vary, we all know that, but there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to how and when. I’ve decided that the best strategy is to book as early as you can and when I booked just before Christmas I paid £66.98 for the return trip, The same flight is now selling for £70.98, so I’m £4 to the good.
  2. As I am flying out on my own, and not wanting to pay the high car parking costs at Stansted, I needed to book the train. I looked at the prices for a single from Huddersfield to Stansted Airport and the cheapest was £82.70, which seemed extortionate. I tried the same fare from Leeds to Stansted and it was £82.00, saving me 70p but meaning Amanda would have to give me a lift. Not great I thought, but at least a saving. I then had the idea of separately booking Huddersfield – Leeds, Leeds – Peterborough, and Peterborough to Stansted. Three separate journeys came to £31.70. I don’t pretend to understand this, the trains are the same, the times are the same, but the journey is £51 cheaper when each leg is booked separately. Crazy.
  3. Finally, I need a car while I am in Spain (19 days) so checked on the car hire prices just before Christmas. The best deal I found was for a Ford Focus for £182.00 but thought I’d sit tight for the inevitable post-Christmas sales. Sure enough I received an e-voucher for 20.13 percent off the price so I went to the site to get my £36 off. But the scallywags had increased the prices so that even after the discount the car was more expensive than it had been before Christmas. More shopping around and I found a Hertz voucher online which gave me 33 percent off their range and I managed to secure an equivalent car for £147.13, saving another £34.87.

So, on the three elements of my trip, a little shopping around saved me a grand total of £89.87, leaving me feeling pretty ‘thrifty’. 

I might have to treat myself to a bottle of 60 cents local red wine when I get back, just to celebrate.


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4 Responses to 2013: My year of thrift

  1. Bill Powers says:

    Hi Paul,

    I am really enjoying your blog and updates about your Galician Adventure(s), great to hear the reality of such a renovation project and relocation etc. Thanks for sharing your experiences. It’s also good to hear about the sense of community and support from other expats too.

    With your mention of thrift, if you are serious about reviewing your finances and finding a new way I would highly recommend the book/ guide “Your money or your life” by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. It has had a profound effect not just on how I manage my finances but how I live my life. You may already know about it/ have read it, but if not I think it’s worth a look.

    I believe you can download the latest guide for free from their website:


    Or pick up a second hand copy for very little online.

    Hope it is helpful.

    Wishing you all the best with your projects and look forward to your updates!

    Best wishes

  2. John Gibbons says:

    Hi Paul,
    I’m enjoying reading about your progress in Spain, sounds a bit more interesting than the fiddling around with tab files that I’ve been doing this afternoon.

    I had a woodwork project a while back and I was looking for a largish piece of unfinished wood with bark to go along the top of a bookcase. I called into a local timber merchant to enquire and although he had some oak, I think it was en-route to a premier league players kithchen, it wasn’t going for £30! I retreated, gave up and went to Ikea a couple of weeks later.

    Good luck, looking forward to reading more.

    • admin says:

      Hi John

      Great to hear from you. Hope that you and everyone at Salford are well.

      Thanks for your comments. It is a real adventure although I am not sure that Amanda (who is stuck in work at home) agrees.

      I am just off back now, so more blogging over the coming weeks, including the installation of the wood.


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