Thursday, 25 April 2013

Keeping things simple.

I've been thinking about the PayPal thing, after some of you suggested that I register and get signed up so I can receive £30 for my money saving tips. Something was bugging me, if I do this, how do I get my £30 from them. Everything is done electronically now, so they would need my bank or card details to transfer the money across. Hmmm, I'm not too keen on that idea. To me that sounds like it could lead to a lot of complications, things do go wrong, people do lose money and get ripped off through fraud, so to lessen the chances of that happening I prefer not to give my details out willynilly.

I had a look at the PayPal web site, read everything on it, and still was not happy. I haven't needed it up to now, have managed perfectly well without it, so why bother joining now? Ok, I forfeit the £30, but to me that's a small price to pay for peace of mind.

A simple life to me means cutting down on complications, not adding to them. I don't buy online because that puts more temptation in my way, and I can live without that. I don't need to trawl the internet for stuff to buy, I can think of better ways to spend my time. I admit it can be a good tool to do research, but even then I get sick of going from site to site getting totally confused. When I bought the pans, I read up about what was available, but at the end of the day, I went with my gut instinct, went in a shop, and decided in ten minutes what I was going to buy, job done, forget about it and move on. No worrying about whether the parcel would arrive, would I be in to take delivery, will the contents be damaged and will I have to send them back. I went to town and brought the pans home with me.

For me buying at the right price, and getting a bargain, has to be balanced with how much time and effort I am willing to give up to achieve those aims. Yes it's important to get the best for my money, but it's also important that I organise my time efficiently. I will not spend hours on the computer tapping away, going round in circles, just to shave a couple of quid off a purchase.

The only contradiction to this is I will spend a couple of hours in Tesco late at night, to get the cheapest food. That's because I can save mega pounds over a period of a year. I go there, hand over the cash, and come away with the goods. I don't order food shopping on line because that would give me a complication I don't need. I don't want to pay online, I don't want to sort out a delivery time and be at home when it arrives, I don't want to bother with substitutions if they haven't got what I ordered, and I don't want to bother with complaing when they make a mistake. Give me a shelf full to peruse, and I'm happy. Simple, pick up what you want, pay and leave the store.      

I suppose in a way, I am still a little bit old fashioned regarding personal finance, and the way I pay for things. For instance, utilities. I will not go onto a monthly direct debit for water, gas, and electricity, because these involve the companies calculating how much you are expected to use at any given time. People say, oh, it's easy, the money leaves your account monthly and you don't have to think about it. Well, I personally like to get a bill quarterly, or half yearly in the case of water, and pay that bill. Pay for how much I have used, after I have used it. To me, that is simple, not having to contact the company to complain that my direct debit is too high.

I think of my house as a pile of bricks and mortar, somewhere to sit down and eat my food, to lay my head, do my washing, and keep myself clean. It's my private bit of space where I can just be me. I can do without the disruption of decorating, and the cost and mess of upgrading. That's simple living, it doesn't have to be fashionable.

Another thing I don't bother with is the sites where you can get stuff free. Freecycle and Freegle come to mind. I've had a look at them, there is never anything which takes my fancy, never anything I need, and I don't have anything to give away. I give my unwanted stuff to charity shops, it's much easier to bag it up and drop it off, than register on the site, advertise something, then get pestered by people who may or may not turn up to collect it. Besides, I don't want people coming to my house. It's all too complicated to me. I had a shovel once that I no longer needed, I left it at the gate with a note on saying free to good home. It went in a couple of hours. Simple.

Another complication I can do without is earning money. I could get a job, make a few bob here and there by selling my crafts, selling on ebay, or selling on here, but I don't want or need to. Up until last year I was paying income tax on my pension, now that the personal threshold has been increased I no longer have to pay. I have had a couple of small business in the past, and all the accounting that entails, I don't want to go back to that situation where I have to start filling out tax returns again. No, I want a simple life. The ladies group last night donated £20 to our cat rescue, that's fine by me.

While I'm on about simple living, I'll sing the praises of being single. There are no complications to making your own decisions and doing exactly what you like. I've been in stressful relationships, I don't want to go there again. Compatability is very difficult to achieve, I've had plenty of goes at it, and it hasn't worked.

I'm off on another walkabout soon, with my rucksack on my back. I shall be tramping the highways and byeways, and all I will have to think about is putting one foot in front of the other, and where I'm going to find a bed. Simple, just ask someone, ha ha.

Just a quick note about the home made ice cream mularky. The rice pud and peaches one was also frozen solid like a brick. It tasted fine, but would have benefitted from useing all of the peaches, it needed a bit more fruity flavour. While eating them both, they were more like a sorbet than ice cream because of the shards of ice in them.  I think when I make my next batch I will transfer it into a big bowl and stir several times while the freezing process takes place. There will be more experiments.
Toodle pip.           


  1. I do not give my bank detaisl except for the first sign up for them to deposit the pennies in your account to verify who you are. And i dont transfer money into my bank account. I leav it in my paypal account as lot sof shops nw accept paypal as payment, I use it for apporved food orders, to pay for clothes and shopping online form those retailers who accept it etc

    if you look at the this webpage it lists all the shops who take paypal online

  2. Whilst I'm very much the opposite from you (I don't know how I'd manage without buying items online!) I can understand & appreciate your view.

    I use Paypal a lot and I've found it's really useful. I do however receive spam emails regarding money getting taken out of my account A LOT and people have tried to hack into my Paypal account in the past (unsuccessfully as Paypal are very good and on the ball, in my opinion, when it's comes to threats like that). It is a pain getting your account up and running again - but I prefer that to someone accessing my account! So yes, as you say, it could be an extra complication.

    Whilst lots of folk would say shopping and comparing online & setting up monthly direct debits are the way forward, if it ain't broken, why fix it... and it sounds like your ways as working just fine for you!

  3. I very rarely buy things online, I know it can be cheaper but I too prefer to go to a shop and come home with the goods. I like to actually see and touch what I'm buying before I pay for it, looking at a little picture on a screen and reading a few reviews just doesn't cut it for me...but then I like shopping ;) I make a few exceptions but on the whole I'd say give me a real shop any day.
    I don't do direct debits either. I used to when we were both working long hours, I thought it was one less thing to have to think about, until the bank messed up one month and paid all of them twice! It took months and months to sort out as they kept trying to charge us for going overdrawn, despite it being their mistake that took us overdrawn in the first place, then it was their overdraft charges that took us overdrawn, and so on. Each month they'd refund the money and appologise, only to charge us again the next month. We finally got it sorted and had a whole six months problem free before they paid all the DD's twice again!!! At that point I said never again, and I've stuck to it. It can be inconvienient sometimes but we don't have very much money so I'd rather stay in charge of what we do have and keep the banks out of it.
    There's a lot to be said for keeping things simple.

  4. I reckon we are a dying breed. I do buy online sometimes (with help from the grandchildren), usually beekeeping equipment and suchlike, where dealers are along way away. But I like to see a monthly bill that I take to the bank and pay by cheque. Yes cheque everybody!! Why pay for fuel before you use it, might as well keep the money in MY bank, not theirs and NOTHING beats getting a bargain at the yellow sticker counter!

  5. No direct debit (or whatever it is called) for us either. Nor the free advertising sites...I don't want strangers/weirdos coming to the house...we give our stuff to the Salvation Army.
    Jane x

  6. It's all down to individual situations and what works for a person's needs at a particular time, isn't it? I live in a rural area, and am now saving quite a lot of money by doing much of my purchasing online, with delivery to my door. I'm not much of an "acquirer" but in the course of a few years I've purchased a camera, my replacement laptop, prescription eyeglasses, and many of the feed supplements and medical supplies needed for my livestock, all online with no stress or strain, or driving two hours to a shop.
    I do look for free shipping, and often find it.
    That said, if a person doesn't need paypal or online banking, why bother with it? Whatever works!

  7. Funny you should write this post...I ran into Paypal's "re-register" function yesterday. It left me unsettled. I gave some bank details but did not give passwords-I woke-up in the middle of the night worried about doing this. I had bad omens. I started to call Paypal to cancel-but I didn't.

    Giving bank details instead of card info leaves me without important protections.

    Basically, I doubt that I will use Ebay or Paypal much in the future: I am giving a lot thought to closing both.

    (I was laid off 1 year before retirement and lost a great deal of pension funds.)

  8. Ilona you're so like me! I hate complications and just like to live simply too.
    I agree relationships are far too complicated I'm better being on my own and please myself without worrying about someone else - I have enough to worry about it!
    Yes I'm so with you on this x

  9. You are right about being single - you can suit yourself and have no-one else to consider. Also two cannot live as cheaply as one.
    You dont seem to shop or buy much other than food so you dont really need all these accounts etc.
    Great you got a donation for the cats You donated your time and life experience and as you get older time is so much more important that money.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Your post made me think and confirmed what I was doubting. I completely agree with you to keep it simple and uncomplicated. Thanks Iona for clearing it up in my head.

  12. Hello Ilona from House fairy

    Keeping things simple means diffrent things to each one of us.I do like your post today!

    I like shopping on line and getting it delivered to my door. I look for voucher codes and go through Quido. I make it into a game and can spend hours if not days before I pay. Then my time is my own.

    I like to look at the freebies sites for free samples. I like the samples of toothpaste, shampoo and face cream. It helps with keeping my pennies.

  13. Hi Ilona

    I can understand your cynicism about Paypal and it does seem a kerfuffle just for the sake of £30. I like that you're free and not worried about the money and tapping away for half an hour just to try and earn 50p or whatever. I agree, its probably not worth it! But I have used Paypal and find it quite useful. I sell on ebay and get payment with Paypal, I only send things out if the money has been received. You're probably right about freecycle, I signed up to it and I get heaps of e mails every day, I don't mind but you'd probably get very annoyed! I can't help thinking I may need maternity clothes/prams in the future and if I have the slightest chance of getting them free then I am happy!


  14. Just a thought, but if you had a trustworthy friend or relative with a paypal account I'm sure you could get the people to pay the £30 into their Paypal account and the friend could give you the cash or write you a cheque? Great blog post and comments! I like the sound of your 'simple'!

  15. I do buy quite a few things on line; ebay, Amazon and Approved food mostly, and use pay-pal to pay for these things. Also sold a few items on ebay, and the pay-pal system works well to receive and confirm payment.
    Last item was a new freezer, sourced best price on-line from Currys, free delivery, installation, and taking the old one away.
    Mrs is a wheelchair user and orders clothes from George at Asda, I get to collect them and fetch them home for her to try, and if they don't fit, returning them.
    The system works well for us.

    I belong to 2 freecycle groups, and we got a lot of items from them when we had nothing, neither goods or money, and were looking to furnish as cheap as possible. Not quite so restricted now, some of these items have been sent on via the freecycle system.
    Again, it's worked for us.

    Everybody to their own I suppose.

  16. I do envy your free spirit, and your simple life, you are such a wonderful role model. \life has become far too complicated, and we all need to take a deep breath and slow down!

  17. Interesting post. I do bank and shop online but have it down to a fine art now - just 10-20 mins weekly then probably an hour once a month to check my accounts, and as I hate shopping then this is the least painful way I know of buying (although I haven't bought anything except food since Christmas anyway).
    I was interest in the fact that you are now under tax threshold on pension as I am retiring in August and hopefully my pension will be just below the threshold. Although I have worked out a budget so I don't have to give my car etc. up I occasionally worry that I have missed something and will have to get a job again. Compared to what I earn now it seems very little but I won't have the mortgage by then and won't have to buy smart clothes to go to work, so am hoping the benfits will outweigh the negatives.

  18. Hi Ilona, I got a Paypal account because there was something I particularly wanted to buy online and I prefer to be able to do it myself rather than ask others to do it for me. My kids were all prepared to buy for me but the old independent streak kicks in so I opened my own. I was worried at first but I found it quite easy and trouble free. The thing is I eventually felt happy about doing it, if you are not comfortable with it there is no point. You have to do things your way coz you are the one who has to live with it.

    Regarding your ice cream, a drop of alcohol keeps ice cream soft and 'scoopable'. I make coffee ice cream and put a couple of tablespoons of brandy in it. It tastes good too --- bonus !!

  19. Hallo Ilona from Joan A, Wales.
    I feel exactly as you do about online shopping, and giving personal details always makes me feel uneasy. (It must be our age as I am just a couple of years older than you).

    Unfortunately I am partially disabled with MS which affects my balance and means I can't go out on my own, so I do order the odd thing, mostly knitting wool. There aren't many shops where I live or can get to, so I have to bite the bullet, unfortunately.

    My husband, on the other hand, has no qualms about ordering anything online and has done so. He and our daughter tell me that that is how it is now, but I don't like it.

  20. Hi Ilona
    A very timely post for me today. You have given me the kick along to close my Paypal account. I had been thinking about it for a while (I don't use it very often, but have bought some things for a pal of my husband's who doesn't believe in credit cards and online shopping, but was happy for me to buy things for him, which he always gave me the money upfront for!) but had left it open thinking I might pop a few things on Ebay to sell. I've never sold on Ebay (have used it to buy, in the past though) and realistically know that I'm most probably not going to bother putting those things online, so really your post today was just the impetus I needed to close the account which I've now done, yay! I do use direct debits as it smooths the payments along for me and I do pay other bills online using my credit card but I only do that if I feel comfortable with the companies that I use for those payments and always check that it's a secure site. Well, I guess as secure as it can be!

  21. Brilliant post Ilona.
    After having my credit card details stolen a few years back, the ordeal involved has made me double extra careful with personal/finance data now.
    While I admire those who are confident and trusting to purchase goods online, I'm not. I have no idea how ebay, pay pal, and suchlike works, and not interested in knowing.
    I like my bills and post to come by snail mail and land in my letterbox. If that makes me 'old fashioned' then so be it.
    I don't think you can beat being able to read labels on food items, or feel the fabric of clothing, or just view and touch a product before deciding whether to buy it or not, plus buying this way makes it instantly yours.
    I love your simple lifestyle, common sense, and no nonsense attitude.

  22. I do agree with your thoughts on the simple life. I choose not to shop on line either, as I like to keep my money in my local community, as I want it to be a vibrant and economically viable place to live for me and my children.

  23. The details you give Paypal are the same as are printed onto your cheques, ie account name, number and sort code. I've had a Paypal account for Ebay for 6 years without any problems.
    Like every other person with an e-mail address I've had 'spoof' trying to collect financial details, including from banks I don't have accounts with. The bad spelling and 'dear customer' give them away.
    I'm a regular reader, but am rushing to get to work.

    1. Very good point about the cheques.

  24. Great post, Ilona. I love the fact that you are a non-conformist and proud of it. After all, if we can't be ourselves, what is left to be?


  25. Pick it up, have a good look at it, make decision, pay. Yes!

    Look at picture on web, make decision, pay pal. No!

  26. As I'm 51, I have most of the possessions I need.I can't be bothered waiting in for the delivery - I like to see and feel what I'm buying. Also, all that packaging to deal with. If I buy anything in a shop, I keep the packaging (eg sellothane, coloured paper/cardboard and pop them into a box and hey presto! I have all the materials I need to make cards, presents and gift wrapping.

    Oh yes, best not let too many places have your bank details. Kind regards Natalie

  27. Isn`t it amazing how many of us actually still deal with finances and the way we buy things so hands-on. My philosophy has always been that I don`t buy anything unless I have the ready cash to hand over. Buying online does lead to temptation to over spend as you never see your money leave your pockets. It disapears from your bank account without your direct involvement. You are quite right to be careful when it comes to idendity fraud and account abuse. As for being oldfashioned about things, I don`t think you are that. You are sensible about matters and that`s not oldfashioned at all.

  28. Hi,
    I thought you'd like this truck driving article. You could put a link to one of your posts about truck driving as a woman! Bravo.

  29. Here in America, PayPal will send you a check (cheque!), if you choose that. If they do that in England, then it would be your choice how to handle the check once you received it in the post. You could just deposit it. Paypal wouldn't have the account number. Hope this is helpful. Elaine in Philly.

  30. I actually think using things like Paypal to shop online might upset you because in a lot of ways it makes things so much simpler to be lazy and fall for the consumer trap Ilona. If I wanted I could buy a new whatever I wanted in 3 mouse clicks while sitting in my chair and have it turn up outside my door a day later. It is very easy to spend without thinking of the consequences, you don't see real money and you don't even see a credit card that you are handing over, it is just the click of a mouse. It doesn't feel like you are really spending money at all. I don't fall for it because I am tighter than a ducks bottom :) but I bet a lot of people end up with many things they don't need that are bought on a whim since the event of online shopping.