Getting value for your money

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.

~ Epictetus
senior couple with papers and calculator at home

Spending where you get best value for your life.

Are you spending on things that don’t really improve your quality of life?

Your car: if you have a car do you need it? Most people’s gut response is that they do, but that is because cars can become such a large part of our identity. A small car likely costs at least £150 a month to keep on the road, probably far more. For many this is a bit of an extravagance, and whilst renting a car seems expensive, for the very few times it is truly required it can be the best option.

Your home: if you are a home owner it is probably your biggest asset but you might want to consider whether it really serves your needs now. Many people become attached to their homes as they can hold so many memories but often moving on frees them to a new life, and they still have their memories.

Homes that are suitable for bringing up a family are more expensive to run in terms of bills and maintenance and though it might be nice to think of as a base for the family to visit the money freed by ‘downsizing’ might mean that you can share more weekends visiting.

Alternatively you could consider equity release. This is essentially selling your home, or a share of it, in advance. When you no longer have a use for it the future value belongs to the company that has given you the money. You could use the money to help you improve the property, have a trip of a lifetime, make life more comfortable or hand on to family members to help them get on the property ladder.

Equity release is a complex area as you are selling the future value of your property and you should take advice from a regulated financial advisor (see previous post).

Are you paying more than you have to for the things you do need?

Comparison websites are your friends. Many companies give competitive introductory offers but then increase prices. This is often true for insurance and utility companies and breakdown services too. There are lots of ways to compare, but if you’re not the most proactive then there are even services like that will automatically switch you to a new utility provider when it saves you money.

For more general tips on offers and savings is a go-to site and if you sign up for their monthly emails you will have loads of interesting money saving ideas delivered straight to your email inbox.

A ‘win-win’ with your food

Eat sensibly and be better off financially and in better health. Convenience foods are indeed convenient, and are packaged to look enticing – but often, fresh fruit and vegetables, pulses and the like are healthier and also cost less.

and with local transport

Even if you keep a car that doesn’t mean you have to use it. If there is suitable public transport you might be eligible to use it for free but it is also worth considering where you can comfortably walk to or even cycling. Both of these options have health dividends too.

Still not seeing how to make ends meet?

If after looking through all your options you still cannot see how to make ends meet then speak with your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB). Sometimes it can be possible to reschedule payments when debts become overwhelming, and the CAB will be able to tell you whether this is possible and can often help by approaching lenders to ask them to make an arrangement with you to make your life a little bit easier.

Thinking ahead

No-one likes thinking about death but it will be reassuring to have done the work to make a will. Some charities will even do this for free or a donation. Age UK has a very helpful page which includes a video introduction to the topic.
Also consider creating a Lasting Power of Attorney, which would let someone whom you trust make decisions if you are not able to. The government has some very good information on this at

The next section gives tips helps you to keep safe in your home.

Healthy Active Ageing

This blog post is an excerpt from Healthy Active Ageing, a series of mini-guides that together cover most of what we can do as human beings to make the later stages of our lives as positive as they can be.
If you complete the details below we’ll email you one of the guides every until you have the full set. You will know a lot of the information but there is nothing wrong with a reminder every now and then; and there may even be some information which is new to you.


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If you know something is wrong then please contact an expert immediately.

Your doctor can help with medical problems, or if you are in an emotional crisis you could contact the Samaritans. You can call them free from any phone on 116 123, email or you may have a branch near you that you can visit (see

If the cause of your crisis is feeling overwhelmed by a financial or legal issue then they may suggest a local legal centre or the Citizens Advice Bureau as a good first step to solving your issues.

There is a Spanish phrase that says ‘Where there is a will, there are many ways’. Just because what you have tried so far has not worked does not mean there is nothing else to try and these people are expert at finding the right solution in a crisis, and they care.