onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

Archive for Money Tips

Financial Advice From The District Council

coinAre you getting Council Tax Support and worried about money?

From the District Council Website:

If you are getting Council Tax Support and are struggling to pay your Council Tax we have a dedicated officer, Laura Poole, who can offer help and advice. You can:

- call her on 01702 318089
– visit her at the Council Offices, South Street, Rochford between 8.30am-5pm Monday to Friday
– request a home visit if you find it difficult to get out

If you are worried about your financial health visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk or call them on 0300 500 5000 between 8am-8pm. The Money Advice Service offer free, independent financial advice and can help with:
– managing your money better
– reviewing or reducing borrowing
– money saving tips
– Universal Credit and other benefits
– work and money
– bank accounts and credit and debit cards

Update: Flood Damage Help

From the District Council website:

Update: Flood damage help

To help residents affected by the recent severe weather, Rochford District Council will collect any flood damaged items free of charge. Please call our Customer Services team on 01702 318111 or email customerservices@rochford.gov.uk with your details.

We also have special arrangements in place to deal with Council Tax queries from people who have had to move out of their home to allow flood damage repairs to be done. Residents are advised to contact our Revenues and Benefits team on 01702 318016 to discuss their individual circumstances.

“… the world could be a much better place”

Southend Blogger Jack Monroe has a video in the Guardian today:




“Jack Monroe, who writes the blog A Girl Called Jack, discusses how she became a popular austerity cook and food blogger while living below the poverty line, and demonstrates how to cook one of her signature dishes: the carrot, cumin and kidney bean burger. A selection of recipes from A Girl Called Jack are to be published next year in a book of the same name”

This Weeks Friday Food : Baked trout in best tomato sauce, with lemon and herb rice. 33p.

 

Southend Blogger Jack Monroe writes:

…on finding a packet of trout in my local supermarket for 70 pence this evening, it was too good not to share.

You can substitute the trout in this recipe for white fish fillets: Sainsburys do a frozen bag of white fish for £1.75, for 520g, which would make the fish in this recipe 81p for a 240g portion, so only 2-3p more expensive per head than my bargain trout.

See the recipe here.

The Latest From ShopAtMyLocal

These are the latest local offers from ShopAtMyLocal:

To find out more, click here.

Jack Monroe On TV

We’ve linked before to Southend blogger and writer  Jack Monroe- especially on issues of poverty and how to feed yourself on ridiculously low amounts of money.

Things are looking up for Jack .  As the BBC reports:

  • Until two months ago, Jack Monroe was unemployed, and unable to claim all her benefits. She struggled to feed herself and her young son on a budget of £10 a week. Often she ate just a single meal a day.
  • She started a blog on how to eat cheaply. In February she became a trainee reporter on her local paper, The Southend Echo. She has just been offered an advance of £25,000 to produce a cookbook for Penguin.

 

And Jack was on BBC1 at 8:40 this morning , talking about eating on £1 per day – and will be on again at 9:40!

[Youtube added April 29th]

_

Are You Planning To Have A Baby And Your Partner Earns More Than 50K A Year? Here’s A Useful Tip

From Scottish Lib Dem Blogger Caron Lindsay on the Child Benefit changes:

 

…..The thing that worried me, though, was that many stay at home parents, usually mothers, are given a National Insurance credit which goes towards their state pension until their youngest child is 12. What would happen to them if they were no longer claiming child benefit? Would they still get the credits towards their State Pension, or would they get a nasty surprise in a few decades’ time?

I’ve spent some time on the phone to various government helplines this morning to find out. The HMRC helpline was very helpful but when I asked the question, the person I was speaking to actually had to go and look it up and actually said she wasn’t very sure and recommended that I call the Child Benefit people.She told me that if a claim had been made and the claimant decided not to receive the payments, then they would still get the credits. I then phoned the Child Benefit line and they confirmed this, with a lot less faffing. Now that I’ve had it from two Government sources, I’m prepared to believe it.
My only concern is that this is all very well if your children are already here and you’ve made the claim. If, however, you have a baby at any point from now and your partner is a high earner, you might think that you shouldn’t even bother claiming. This would be a mistake if you are not going to go back to work. You have to make the claim to get the credit towards your pension even if you don’t end up taking the money.
I hope that makes sense. It might not affect very many people, but it’s worth taking note.

Jack’s Revamp

Southend Blogger Jack Monroe has revamped her site – It’s worth a look.

Here’s an example:

I’m often quoted as saying I spend around £10 a week on my food shopping for me and Small Boy, which is often met with a mixture of disbelief and shock, and a quick roving eye over my thin but soft-around-the-edges figure. The latest example of this was when I set up my business account for Bread And Jam, and the bank manager wanted some insight into my spending habits. “£10 a WEEK?” he said. “HOW?”

“The Best Half-Hour I Have Spent On You-Tube”

There are some BIG misunderstandings about student loans. You only actually pay this loan back if you are earning enough money…. graduates only pay money back when they earning over £21,000 per year. And then they pay back 9% of whatever they earn above £21,000 per year. And this £21,000 level will be adjusted for inflation in future years.

After 30 years, even if you haven’t paid back a penny, the debt is wiped.

This video explains things and is described as the “best half-hour I have spent on you-tube”:





Meanwhile thanks to Mark Lydford for pointing out this version of Nick Clegg’s apology!


Proceeds are going to charity:

Bumps On the Roof Of Our Cars?

Nissan with bumps on roof.

If you drive on roads like the A13 you’ll find quite a few drivers are sticking to 50 mph and cruise control to save fuel.

Here’s another idea (no guarantees that it works!)

We found a new article on the Pacific Standard website that’s quiet intriguing.

It’s about a Californian deep-sea diver and inventor who’s looked at the tiny bumps on whales. He reckons that if you put the same type of bumps on car roofs you improve the aerodynamics and save on fuel:

The pods—spaced four inches apart and located 10 inches from the lip of the roof—reduced aerodynamic drag by 5 percent when a two-door VW Golf was driven at 65 miles per hour….

The pods come in loud flashy colors. Some can be permanently glued to the roof. A more expensive model attaches via magnets. Prices currently range from $60 to $100, but those, Evans said, will come down to reflect how much a driver might save in a couple of months.
Aside from the monetary relief, Evans said the pods offer drivers the opportunity do something about climate change.
“People don’t want to be told what to do; they want to do it themselves.”

The sellers of these bumps have a website here.

Does anybody fancy being a pioneer? Should County Highways invest in a set and see if they work?

Could You Feed Yourself On £1 A Day For Five Days?

We’ve recently added links to three Southend blogs in our right sidebar. Rather neatly , there’s one Lib Dem, one Conservative and one Labour. Though we haven’t done this out of any deliberate political balance – they are all worth a look in their own right.

Neil Monnery is a Liberal Democrat in Southend who writes in a thoughtful but frank manner.

Anna Waite is a well-known Conservative and former Borough Councillor who actually lives in Barling.

Ms Jack Monroe is a Labour blogger in Southend who writes in a pretty lively manner. Some of her recent posts are particularly interesting; she is attempting this years Living Below The Line Challenge. As she explains:

I’m a day late with this one, but I thought I’d join in with this years Live Below The Line challenge, whereby participants are challenged to live on £1 a day for food.

Having done this already when I left the Fire Service, I figure that I’m a bit more prepared than most people for how to actually prepare 3 meals a day for less than a pound. So I’ve got 4 days left, £4 to spend, and 12 meals to keep myself going on. I’ll blog my progress here…

One of her meals was carrot, cumin and kidney bean soup for 14p…

“Shop At My Local”

The District Council is relaunching the “Shop At My Local ” scheme. They have a new team looking after the scheme from the council’s Economic Development Unit. Their aim is increase the activity around the scheme to make it more attractive and beneficial to residents…..

They currently have 572 shoppers and 416 businesses registered with the scheme, which is a good starting point. If you haven’t heard of it before, have a look at the Shop At My Local website here.

The scheme is pretty quiet at the moment. But, for example, you can get 10% off dry cleaning at Alan’s Dry Cleaners in Rochford…..

It’s worth joining because it’s FREE and if it takes off could save you money….. and help our town centres…..

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The Core Strategy

This is the official master document for planning policy in our district! To download it, click here click here. (2.5mb)

Planning Applications…

If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.

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The County Council admitted in July that over 200 roads in our district need repairing! They say they will fix them by May 2013. Click here to see the list.

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