Tag Archives: Saving

Energy Saving?


No hot fillIn this day & age of energy saving one everyday item seems to have been ignored. The washing machine, common in virtually every household, is a substantial consumer of that precious energy, but why must it consume so much – when there’s a solution.

Apart from the actual washing action, energy is also used to heat the water going into the machine. Surely if that heating process could be reduced or even eliminated then energy would be saved.

Time was when all such appliances came with two hoses, hot and cold, and the user could then choose whether to use hot or cold water. Naturally the use of hot water would save both time & energy, so why have manufacturers removed the “hot” option?

There are various “reasons” given by manufactures and service people as to why hot fills are unnecessary, but common sense says otherwise. The water must be heated to perform a proper wash, so not to use already hot water is simply wasteful. One thing’s for sure, cold-only machines takes far longer to complete a wash, thus using more energy!

Maybe the real reason lies in finance. Maybe it’s cheaper to manufacture cold-only machines, thus increasing profits. Maybe common-sense isn’t that common after all!



Totally reliant on technology


PlatesFrom 1st October 2014 the tax disc (or road fund licence) is to be abolished, after 93 years. Vehicles will still be required to be taxed but there won’t be the familiar paper disc displayed on the windscreen. This is, according to the government, a move to reduce unnecessary paperwork and cut hassle, all leading to monetary savings. So what’s happening instead of the tax disc, how will we know if a vehicle is taxed or not?

The government say “most on-road enforcement action is now based on using Automatic Number Plate Readers. These cameras use the number plate rather than a visual inspection of the tax disc.” So, unless you have access to ANPR and the database you won’t know the tax status of any vehicle. Not important some may say, but wait, what about the “neighbour” who always had a “tax in the post” sticker on his screen or the one who just never bothered with road tax at all? You pay your road tax so why shouldn’t they? The government want us to report wrong-doers, but under this new system you won’t be able to.

There’s also another, more sinister, problem. As the checks are to be done using only the vehicle registration number this opens up opportunities for unscrupulous people (let’s call them criminals) to physically steal (or just clone) the number plates from a legitimately taxed vehicle and transfer them to their own (same make/model/colour). For all practical purposes they’d then be driving a taxed vehicle, and would only get caught if further checks (i.e. VIN or Vehicle Identification Number) were carried out, something that is beyond the scope of ANPR cameras. Maybe now it doesn’t seem quite such a good idea…

So, are we to expect a rise in the theft of number plates? Certainly those “security fasteners” (modified screws) that companies sell at somewhat inflated prices will become more of a necessity. It may encourage more people to tax their vehicles, or it may just encourage crime. It remains to be seen just how beneficial, or otherwise, this move turns out to be. One thing’s for sure though, I’ll be keeping an even closer eye on my number plates from October!

P.S.- What about those “funny” plates, the ones made to read like something other than the index number of the vehicle; ANPR cameras can’t cope with those, so the driver gets away with it..?


Maybe Not Dickens


BoEWith the British people facing austerity unseen for decades it’s clear that the government are strapped for cash (or so they say), hence all the cuts in public spending etc. It’s also the reason we’re being told to be more self-reliant; expect less from the state and provide more for ourselves.

Certainly the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has made it clear that he has no intention of increasing the interest rate anytime soon, despite having previously indicated it would happen as soon as inflation & unemployment falls. This being intended to keep mortgages low and help people spend.

Well, guess what, inflation & unemployment are both down (according to the governments “O.S.A.”), yet there’s no sign of any increase in interest rates. A good thing some may say, but wait. With incomes continuing to fall behind expenditures, meaning people are getting poorer, how – rather what – are people supposed to spend. It can’t be “credit”, living on that is the reason for this predicament in the first place.

Going back to the “self-reliant” theme; savings are what many people are relying on to get by, yet with interest rates at their lowest for years there’s virtually no return on savings or investments, so how long can people expect those to last?

It’s about time politicians and financiers realised they need to redress the balance between spending & saving. Far too much emphasis is placed on the former, yet without savers there’d be no spending!

Let’s see savers get some thanks for their efforts for a change!

Why Bother?

Save for your future

For generations we’ve been told that it’s good to save. Apart from being self-reliant it reduces the burden on the state. So that’s what many tens of thousands of ordinary people have done, putting their hard-earned cash into savings accounts with the expectation that they’d be able to enjoy a decent standard of living in later life. There’s only one problem; with interest rates at rock bottom – some Euro politicians even suggesting a 0% savings rate – that hard-earned cash is making nothing, and while it’s just sitting in banks or building societies it’s actually losing value!

So, why not spend it while you can? Cameron & Co want just that, to get the economy moving again. And once you’ve enjoyed the fruits of your labours, and it’s all gone, there’s always the benefit system to call upon for support (while you have savings the government will give you nothing) – just as the immigrants do the moment they arrive in the UK. But unlike the immigrants, being born here you’ve actually put something into the country before you take it out – so you’re entitled to it!

It’s about time the government thought about Savers, and realised their importance, instead of simply cutting interest rates all the time. Without savers this country would have been in an even bigger mess, even sooner, than it is now and without regular savers the burden on the state becomes unsustainable.

People like Cameron and Clegg (and their peers) don’t have to worry about saving; they simply take more of our money when they need a bit extra. What will they do when we’ve spent it all? They can’t have it both ways!