I am getting a bit concerned about how we're going to manage financially through the winter, as most people are too. I'm not worrying excessively (trying not to anyway!), but working out areas where we can save is occupying my mind a lot.
Take dog food for example - Betty has a mixture of homemade food and commercial food - I give her some (good quality, I don't buy the cheap stuff) commercial food because it contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals she needs, which she might not get all of in the homemade food. I buy frozen mince in 2kg bags from the pet shop, it's pure chicken, turkey, beef etc but pet food quality, which means it contains ground up bone etc. Not so long ago, it used to be £4.95 a bag, now it's £7.99 - a huge rise. I cook it (Betty doesn't like it raw!) with mashed or grated veggies, butternut squash, pumpkin, carrots, broccoli or cauli, an egg or 2, some oats, sometimes brown rice, maybe some grated cheese, and a stock cube, then divide it up into portions and freeze it. I usually get about 5 portions from half a bag of the mince, each portion I either give to her on its own, followed by a commercial food the next day, or mix it half and half with a commercial food. I think from now on I'll be increasing the proportion of veggies and oats in the mix, to make it go a bit further.
We're also eating more veg-based meals now - we'll never go completely vegetarian, we both enjoy meat and fish too much, although I could probably become vegetarian if I were on my own, I'm not as much of a committed carnivore as husband is. I have found my tastes are changing over the years - I don't really like beef as much nowadays (husband loves it), but like chicken and fish much more now. But the price of fish is going up more and more lately, salmon (my favourite fish) used to be relatively cheap....not anymore. And the lactose-free milk I have has gone up a lot - the brand name one used to be £1.25 a litre but is now £1.90, and the supermarket own brand ones have also gone up. I've tried going back to ordinary milk which is a lot cheaper, but it causes me too many sinus problems. I like soya milk, which is very cheap, on cereals but really don't like it in coffee or tea. I've noticed when shopping later in the day, in the hope of getting some yellow-sticker bargains, that more and more people have the same idea, so there's less chance of snaffling a bargain. Everyone's in the same boat, I guess. Well, not everyone, but a lot of people. Food Warehouse (the big Iceland frozen food shop, there's one in town) are doing 10% off for seniors on Tuesdays apparently - we'll go and have a look, every little helps. They do huge blocks of Cheddar in there at a good price, we do eat a lot of cheese.
I think we'll notice a difference in the home temperature this winter now we've had the new roof and new windows - especially in the hallway, with the new double glazed (half glazed) front door. The old door was only single glazed, top and bottom, and was extremely draughty, even with a thick door curtain. And some of the old windows didn't fit properly in the frames, meaning draughts came in underneath the windows - the lounge and front bedroom windowsills used to get pools of water on them when we had heavy rain and wind coming from the south.
Our central heating is oil fired, the price of heating oil has rocketed of course. Fortunately, our system is very efficient and economical, a full tank of oil (1000 litres) lasts us at least 18 months. The tank is currently just less than half full, which should last us through the winter if used judiciously. I've bought new fleece throws (cheap on special offer) and hot water bottles with fleecy covers to help keep us warm in winter. We have both crocheted blankets and bigger fleece ones to go over the duvets on the beds.....having a chunky dog laid across your feet helps enormously too!