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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.