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State Pension Blog: my attempt to live off £70 a week

What's it like to live on the state pension? Greg Kingston, 39, is going to find out. In a daily blog this week he described his experiences.


by Greg Kingston on Jul 02, 2012 at 12:40

State Pension Blog: my attempt to live off £70 a week

Pension challenge

What's it like to live on the state pension?

Greg Kingston (pictured) is one of a group of 100 employees at Suffolk Life, a pension provider owned by insurance company Legal & General, who are going to find out.

They've accepted a challenge from their employer to live off the state pension for a week. Although the full basic state pension is currently £107.45 per week, the charity AgeUK has suggested a budget of just £70, as that is how much money it says a typical pensioner has left after bills, council tax, etc.

Greg says he wants to help raise awareness of pensioner poverty and unclaimed pension benefits but also the importance of younger people saving for their retirement.

Every day this week he will write about his thoughts and experiences.

Days 1 & 2: Saturday 30 June & Sunday 1 July

'Retirement scares me,' writes Greg. 'Even though I know I will need to work longer than planned and may need to continue some form of work in retirement, the thought of having to rely on just what I’ve saved is alarming. The thought of having to rely just on what the state thinks is sufficient is, frankly, terrifying. The reason I volunteered for this challenge is to find out how bad it is, plus my employer donates £70 to Age UK for every volunteer that succeeds in staying under £70 for the week.

'I feel that I planned well for the week ahead. Last week I spent a total of £302.90 – this week I’m limited to just £70. So Friday night I planned my week ahead, including all the activities I had in my diary, working out what meals I would have and when. Then I planned my weekly shop which I did first thing Saturday morning.

'I normally shop at Sainsbury’s and I’m determined not to change this. I know where to find what I want in my local store and think I know the prices fairly well. My shop included all the food, toiletries and cleaning materials I thought I needed for the week and upon reaching the checkout it came to £37.90. Not bad, especially with a bottle of red wine thrown in – there are limits to the sacrifices I’m prepared to make – but that’s over half my budget spent already.

'Knowing that my budget would be limited I’d already prepared for a weekend of cost-free household activities – all the DIY jobs that I’d put off for a while. On Sunday I went to visit my parents to go for a run with their dog, and on the way received a text from my Mum asking me to pick up some bread and milk. That got me thinking – how many pensioners still support others even though their income is fixed? I bet that it’s quite a few – either still helping children or grandchildren, or even their own parents.

'I was glad to oblige but quickly realised that it isn’t sustainable. After essential shopping my budget is down to a little over £6 a day and I can’t afford to just fork out £2.50 on somebody else’s bread and milk.'

Read the second installment of Greg's State Pension Blog

Further Reading:

For more information on this topic you can look at the following:

48 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Roger Cooke

Jul 02, 2012 at 13:30

Good for Greg! However a week is easy peasy! Try a year or ten and see how you like that. Gordon Brown wanted to give us a rise of 85p if you remember. Oh and I forgot, we are just like the bankers! We get an annual bonus, so that should be a life saving handout to look forward to.

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Greg Kingston

Jul 02, 2012 at 13:57

I really appreciate Gavin and Citywire Money giving me the opportunity to blog about the project - a great if uncomfortable means of raising awareness.

The full daily updates will be on here, and I'll be tweeting too. So if you fancy the odd anecdote or want to engage, please follow the hash tag #tenneraday.

Thanks once again to Gavin and Citywire for promoting this challenge.

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Greg Kingston

Jul 02, 2012 at 14:08

Thanks Roger. That's a really interesting point and one I thought of last week when preparing for the challenge.

For me, it is just a week. There will always be a light at the end of the tunnel, as next Saturday I will be back onto a salary and have options such as accessing savings etc.

Staying on a fixed income and not having any real prospect of adding to it whilst somebody else decides how much increase I can have is scary. A huge incentive to not be reliant upon State income in retirement, but clearly that isn't a choice for many.

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Jul 02, 2012 at 16:30

Well done Greg for taking on the challenge. Sadly there are not many young people who look at this website and the message will be lost on them.

It will be an eye opener for others who read this site but it does not affect most of them, not at £70 a per week.

I hope your findings can be posted somewhere more relevant without attracting any derogatory comments. Sadly in Britain people living on sub £100 per week is a reality.

Good luck

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Chris - 1

Jul 02, 2012 at 16:44

This project is very good. It would be ideal if the main news channels such as SkyNews & BBC News could follow Greg's progress each day.

My parents get around £160.00 per week (ish). They have worked all their lives without any breaks and they now live on a pittance. Luckily they are both very happy (in their 80's) and firmly believe that no one owes them anything.

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Greg Kingston

Jul 02, 2012 at 16:57

Thank you for the kind words Jaygor and Chris. I'm still relatively cheerful for now and will do my best to remain so over the next few days. I think though that it may well be challenging...!

Engaging younger people is difficult, and I guess at some point in the future my employer will use the feedback and experiences on this to try doing just that - engaging with younger workers as auto enrolment starts. For my part I think that there's a very fine line between scaremongering and saying 'look at the life you'll have if you don't save' and nuturing, encouraging and nudging people's behaviours the right way.

If it helps in any way though, I'll be happy. After only 3 days I can tell that I will also be a few pounds lighter!

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mr trick

Jul 02, 2012 at 17:01

My great grand daughter is 18 and has just had a baby. She was a very silly girl. Her partner is 17 and on job seekers allowence. She told my wife that they are surviving on £50 per fortnight. She buys the baby food and nappies and then they have the rest to them selves.

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andrew sutherland

Jul 02, 2012 at 17:07

@Chris - 1

It would be ideal if it were on as a full hour's program

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Vague Shot

Jul 02, 2012 at 17:09

It will be fascinating how this works out. I had to retire two years ago, as I had a serious stroke after my wife died. I am not able to drive, so I moved from the Suffolk countryside to one of the leafier parts of Hackney. The money and hassle I save not having a car is amazing, but of course, I can go everywhere in London for free and I use my senior rail-card for discounts on longer trips. This morning I took the bus to the National Gallery to see the Titian from St. Petersburg. I shall probably see a show later in the week, picking up a special offer ticket from Leicester Square.

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Jul 02, 2012 at 17:15

Tesco made a DVD using this premise to show employees to encourage them to join the pension scheme; it's really good

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Alan Morrice

Jul 02, 2012 at 17:22

Nobody has to live on the basic state pension. Anyone with no other income is entitled to several other benefits, tax credits, etc which greatly enhance actual income.

A married couple is entitled to nearly £15000 a year between them in extra benefits, tax credits and subsidies (ie council tax and rent paid by the state). Check it out on the Government's own tax and benefit calculator.

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Jul 02, 2012 at 17:24

Someone with only a state pension will also get income support on top of their state pension. This boosts the average income to over £12,000 for a pensioner with no pension other than a state pension.

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Alan Morrice

Jul 02, 2012 at 17:26

The mugs are those who have saved up for modest pensions and thus have disqualified themselves from means-tested benefits. It's a bit like the unemployed young who receive housing benefit which enables them to live in housing which is unavailable because of cost to people of the same age who are working.

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Jul 02, 2012 at 17:31

But don't forget that top ups that are currently paid aren't guaranteed and if everyone needs them, then by the time the 39 year old gets to 70 (or whenever they get the state pension) these may well have gone!

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Jul 02, 2012 at 17:34

I am retired and have a good pension. However, every Thursday, I use my bus pass to take the train into Brum, I go to the indoor fish and meat market, I buy meat and fish for the weekend, and then fruit and veg at the outdoor market. I have priced the meat and fish at 30% of that at Tescos, and fruit and veg at 15-20%. A very significant saving. There are different tribes shopping, The West Indians, the chinese, The white grey haired retirees, and many young women with babies attached. Its the cultural highlight of my week.

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steve tye

Jul 02, 2012 at 17:50

Sorry Greg, you get nought out of ten for shopping skills.

You could have done that Sainsburys shopping for twenty five quid at most at Aldi or Lidl.

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Alan Morrice

Jul 02, 2012 at 17:58

Take it from Barcud. He is a pensioner (as am I).

I've never been better off in my life. Pension, benefits, free bus passes, winter fuel allowance.. It all rolls in. For the first time in my life I can live, comfortably albeit rather more modestly, than I did while working but now I have no financial anxieties. Like every other retired person I know my outgoings in tax, NI, fares, etc have dramatically reduced. Retirement - I love it. In fact I can't understand why the Government is so generous to me.

Could it be something to do with my being of the 'baby-boomer' generation and that Governments of all hues know I will use my vote in my own best interest?

The writer of this article works for an insurance company. He obviously has a vested interest in furthering the 'poor old pensioner' myth in order to encourage people to sign up for pension plans.

Will his company be explaining to these potential clients the possible benefit disadvantages of being in receipt of a modest private pension?

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Ian Phillips

Jul 02, 2012 at 18:08

Have I read this right?'re going to play at this for one week??

What a load of useless won't even need a haircut!.......I could live on £7 for one week......scrounge a couple of meals, get drunk on wine from my cellar, sleep in the Bentley, get laid, get to Wednesday and repeat the above, no problem !!!!

Oh, and then I'd have my pay for writing this nonsense.......

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Robert Court

Jul 02, 2012 at 19:07

The £70 to live on for a week assumes 'bills' of £37.45 per week

(£107.45 - £70).

What are these bills? One needs to know if on a very limited income!

When on a very limited budget you have to put aside money for everything you don't spend your money on every week.

A very good point re. the haircut.

I'd also deduct money to save up for a new pair of shoes at least once a year let alone any clothing (even second hand charity clothes cost money).

Your actual spending money after taking into account things like clothing, shoes, haircuts (let alone saving up for the luxury of a bottle of wine or a journey to visit a non-local resident or to put aside towards emergency expenditure) would probably reduce your normal weekly spending money to nearer £35 (£5 per day instead of £10).

Having blown £37.90 on a weekly shop (was the cost of transporting it zero?) I'd suggest you can't afford to spend anything more this week and should only spend £32.10 next week to make up for your extravagance!


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Robert Court

Jul 02, 2012 at 19:08

non-local relative or friend NOT resident (sorry)

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Alan Morrice

Jul 02, 2012 at 19:54


But nobody has to live on £107.45 a week!

That is the non-means tested basic pension.

Anyone with no other income automatically receives other (means-tested) benefits which just about double this. Significantly more for a couple.

This business of 'poor old souls' struggling to live on the basic pension is a myth.

An inconvenient one for the 'Poverty Lobby'.'

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Jul 02, 2012 at 20:18

Thank you Greg, We have a little over £70.00 as we have a minute pension although we thought it was going to be a little more. A lot of the feedback on here is just a load of rubbish, untill you have been there you have no right to a reply.

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Jul 02, 2012 at 20:24

You only get the extra benefits if you don't have any meaningful savings. It does seem unfair on those who have lived carefully in order to have some savings, which of course are being totally eroded by inflation and low interest rates - and when the government write off all the banks' debts via another bout of inflation or two those savings will be worth even less. Also very hard to argue that people should save in pensions when those savings are vulnerable to being raided by people like Gordon Brown.

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Paul Barrett

Jul 02, 2012 at 20:56

Most just living on a state pension are also in receipt of ALL the other benefits

I have a public service pension for which I contributed over 11 3/4 & of my gross income received over 31 years.

I receive net about £1200 per month.

If I was a pensioner on state pension I would be receiving £70 per week pension

Also CT benefit of £100 per month

Housing benefit of about ££625

TV licence benefit

Travel pass

Free NHS prescriptions

Winter fuel allowance

You add that lot up and it works out at roughly


So don't tell me that that it is hard to be on benefit.

Obviously anyone on benefit would not have any savings showing in any account unless they are thick

So there you have it my pension which comes from a fund notionally valued at £440000 is less than some pensioner who is in receipt of means tested benefits and hasn't done a stroke of work all their lives.

I then have to pay out on all normal expenses and get no assistance with as I am under the normal pension age.

Benefits are still a very good way of having a lifestyle at the cost of the taxpayer.

I have no sympathy whatsoever.

A pensioner to be slightly better off would need to have a pension pot of over !0200.00

Means tested benefits would give exactly the same pension without having made ANY pension contribution whatsoever.

No employee with any sense wil join the govt NEST scheme as all they would be doing is reducing the amount of benefit the govt would have to pay out under means testing provision.

Living on benefits gives quite a good lifestyle which is why lots of people and not just benefits do it.

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Alan Morrice

Jul 02, 2012 at 21:09


'It does seem unfair'. Of course it is!

Those who save for their futures will be robbed in order to buy the votes of the feckless. There are more of them and they have no hang-ups about 'fairness'.

It's robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Peter will whine but then will start muttering that he supposes it's 'fair'.

Paul just claims the money as his due and votes for whoever gives him the most of other peoples' cash.

As a citizen I deplore this but as a pensioner I love it!

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Greg Kingston

Jul 03, 2012 at 08:50

Thank you everyone for a wide variety of comments. The next day of my blog should be up on the site shortly, and I've tried to answer a couple of the points raised here.

Just a couple more points. Firstly my employer is Suffolk Life. We're not an insurance company but a SIPP provider and, without wishing to overly generalise, the type of investors that advisers introduce to us are mostly unlikely to have as much dependency on the State Pension as the average pensioner.

Secondly neither myself nor my company is receiving any payment for writing this diary. I'm extremely grateful to Citywire Money for giving me the platform to share my experiences of the adjustment in lifestyle I'd need to make if I just had to rely solely on the State Pension compared to my normal lifestyle.

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Robert Court

Jul 03, 2012 at 08:54

I know somebody who has recently retired in the UK at the age of 60 and receives a pension of £80 per month (yes, £80 per MONTH not £80 per week). This person has a few thousands of pounds in savings which will be sparingly used until in receipt of a state pension in a few years time.

I certainly don't feel rich but in comparison with the above example I am considerably better off.

Last week I only directly spent 207.70 euro (about £170).

This (in euro) was made up of 86.35 on Housekeeping, 30.00 for the cleaning lady, 24.00 on repairing an air-conditioner, 45.95 on cigarettes (including a 45 cent lighter) and 21.40 on 'entertainment' (eating out etc.).

I have to allow 15 euro per day for 'bills' so that would put up last week's expenditure to 312.70 euro (£250 to £260 for the week).

I have a haircut booked today, but at least I won't have to spend any money on wine for some time as there are a few cases left over from my birthday party! :)

I could SURVIVE on £10 per day if I had to but luckily I can afford to LIVE a little.

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Robert Court

Jul 03, 2012 at 09:37

Greg Kingston

Good on you for taking up the challenge.

I am sure that both you and readers are aware that doing this for just one week won't expose you to the real problems of a greatly reduced income and lifestyle but you've already realised you can't afford the luxury of even buying milk and a loaf of bread for a relative without making a personal sacrifice.......... yet it has been found poor people are far more generous than those of us who are far better off!

To survive for three months or six months or a year on £70 a week would be more realistic ro realise how careful many people need to be but is NOT something that yourself or your employers or anybody else could expect of you.

The things we almost take for granted like being able to afford a haircut, a bottle of wine, a new pair of shoes or a new shirt are things that have to be SAVED up for for people on a very low income.

I hope that if you allow yourself the cost of things like the above you'll have at least £10 left over from your £70 by the end of the week.

Do 'bills' include a holiday? I doubt it. Even poor pensioners deserve a break if only a £100 weekend break once a year. You'd need to save £2 a week for 50 weeks to have an extra £100 to blow!

I'd suggest that whatever you have left of your £70 is allocated to various items of future expenditure you wish to save up for.

Good luck!

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Rose G

Jul 03, 2012 at 09:38


Thank you for your rant - it cheered me up somewhat. Your myth about immigrant does sound a bit ignorant, IMHO.

The UK has a great number of migrants who work for their income - yes, there are some who come here because of the benefits culture we advertise - why is it we do not have more positive stories in the news, they would sell just as much. Rumours about migrants who claim benefits are not well founded, at least not in my opinion. Most migrant who come here want to work and will work. They maybe trained engineers back in the countries, but will settle for the stability that is the UK - we are blessed in this country (although we do not deserve it) with a very stable way of life. We may have threats of drought in the media, immediately followed by flooding and rain for months on end, no rain dancing was required. We do not deserve to live in peace because we, together with the Americans are responsible for more wars than ever before.

I visited my friend yesterday, who has just recovered from major abdominal surgery, all courtesy of the NHS - now there is an organisation which would not function were it not for migrants. My friend's GP is Asian, so were his Consultant Surgeon - were it not for the care he received from the nurses, mostly migrant, he would indeed not have recovered as quickly - So, much as I appreciate your rant, I believe you are totally ignorant in labelling all migrants are benefit claimants.

I admit there are sections of the population who do not want to work for low pay and therefore choose to claim benefits - this is an option that has been available to locals who have used the system to their benefit. There are some migrants who have been housed in very desirable locations, paid for by the taxpayer - it is not their fault that our government allows an open door policy to all and sundry. In any event, my argument is that if we are responsible for harvesting some of the most talented and hard working people from abroad, then it balances out that there are some migrants who are using the system - blame government, because we have been governed by some of the most idiotic people who have no idea on making good policies for the long term - they are only interested in announcing glib sound bites which make them look good in the short term but come the next day, week, or month, they look like what they are - great big idiots. If this is the calibre of people educated in some of what is considered the best universities in the UK, I cannot imagine which cloud they are living on.

We have a welfare system that needs to be reformed from the grass root level; we have a taxation system which enables some of the wealthiest people to choose to pay 1% tax on income. We have a banking industry which has become so discredited, even the politicians are running scared, in case the cat is let loose among the pigeons. We have big business which has been remorselessly relied on short term profit, with no ethics, and very little concern for the end user. What we are witnessing is some very destructive behaviour which has been shrouded in secrecy but the FOI act has been their undoing. All those who have profited from their shennanigans must be sleeping badly just now - whose head is going to be on the chopping block next, Barclays last week, GSK this week, whatever next!

Our society is dominated by those without scruples, whose only drive is to rob the very people who pay their wages. Think about the kind of society Mrs T has brought about, all about the individual, nothing about the people who make up the society in which the said individual operates in. Thatcher's children are as ruthless as she was when dealing with the trade unions. her offspring are responsible for some of the most criminal white collar acts, but they walk free, sail away or are protected by government who are enthralled by them - Gordon, Tony, now George and Dave - all sucking up to the parasites in this society who are protected by the law - what kind of society is this we have in the UK?

We are supposed to be holding one of the most important events (Olypmics) but this organisation is even more focused on profits than those who I already have mentioned in the previous paragraph.

It seems to me that we all have to think about what kind of a society we want to live in.

Finally, on this subject, Greg will be getting cheap publicity for his company, who would have fleeced some of their investors into buying products which will never earn any money for them, but sufficient to pay the likes of Greg a nice fat salary with bonus to boot, for efforts on behalf of his company.

Ordinary people who invest in private pension schemes will come a cropper because the system is there to benefit the corporation, the individual has no one to fight his corner.

As for paying into defined benefit schemes, this has changed to such a degree, that your money is better off gathering dust.

Banks are not trustworthy, big business has the stink of corruption permeating everything they touch and most CEOs are just so much hot air.

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Jul 03, 2012 at 09:42

Greg you go ahead and live on £70 for one week.

In your opening Pension Challenge column you have already declared your background, and the scenario. It is brief and simple and does not pretend to emulate the life of a pensioner. A lot of people in this board have missed the point

They have already worked out what benefits you could receive and how well you can live as a pensioner.

Whist I believe the State Benefit system should be more stringent it should also reconsider why so many people who saved up fail the means test(s).

Blame culture of knocking State Benefit system may help politicians get votes and vent pent up anger, it does not help those who live on less than £100 per week no matter what their political, racial or any other affiliations. An understanding of saving money for 'rainy days' and retirement is very important. It should be part of our culture and not a skill to be acquired at a later date. For some it is too late.

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John Carroll

Jul 03, 2012 at 09:50

Great to hear all the variety of comments.

I've just had my 66th birthday (still feel 42!) and consider myself to be on another planet. I've never contributed a penny to any pension in my life and to be honest have no idea what a pension is except you give money to somebody.

On the other side, I've always paid my way no matter what and owe nothing to anybody except in general business matters.

I understand of course some pensions are 'unavoidable' but my point is that I've always looked to the future and planned accordingly. Within reason, I'm in charge of my own destiny. Now who's going to win the 3.30 at Newmarket!

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Roger Cooke

Jul 03, 2012 at 10:57

Lots of interesting comments here. Pensioners seem to be a forgotten or largely ignored section of the population, but they do have a very large vote so I feel sure that they will vote very carefully at the next election.

I did have a personal pension but had to take it at 54 when I was made redundant so lost a huge amount. However, I do consider myself very fortunate compared to those living merely on the state pension. I still do a part time job too ( at 73 ) to help.

Having said all that, living alone ( divorced a long time ago ) and helping my two children and grandchildren too, I am not striving for some of the consumer goodies that some do. To manage fairly well:

1 I don't go on holidays

2 I haven't been to the cinema in 30 years.

3 I use my bus pass.

4 I cut my own hair.

5 I buy shoes at the army and navy stores at £3 a pair, usually one pair every four years

6 I buy cheap clothes on offer.

7 I cook my own food very economically.

8 I have a wood burning stove for heating.

Quite boring really, but unless I rob a bank ( or banker ) I don't see any lights in this tunnel. I haven't won any lotteries either! Good job I am smiling as I type this! I do have a computer ( obviously! ) to keep tabs on my offshore investments................?

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Alan Morrice

Jul 03, 2012 at 11:21


'However, I do consider myself very fortunate compared to those living merely on the state pension'.

No one has to 'live merely on the state pension'.

Are you taking into consideration the means-tested benefits those pensioners are entitled to? These might not be called 'pension' but the cash spends just the same.

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kevin clayton

Jul 03, 2012 at 11:55

Greg first mistake was to do a weekly shop. Second at Sainsbury's at a busy time (after 8pm for reduced items).You need to shop everyday and buy reduced items before deciding what to eat. As someone pointed out Lidle and Aldi do weekly deals. You have to buy and freeze.

I also thought that when the flat rate pension is introduced there will be no means testing so if you have not retired you had better save.

That's why we older pensioners will be better off.

Kevin Clayton

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mr trick

Jul 03, 2012 at 12:01

I suppose that the only adavantage for mugs like me that pay into a small private pension is that the government of the day could change the rules on benifit. I would rather be in control of my own destiny. Any way my wife has already retired on a resonable NHS final salary pension so that puts me outside of means tested funds.

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Ian MacLean-Boyle

Jul 03, 2012 at 12:09

I have been retired now for 15 months and my wife and myself, both in our 60s, look after her Father who is in his 90s, we also look after our Grand-daughter two days a week. We live off a state pension and a small Local Authority pension, though we have not had a holiday in several years, for above reasons, we do manage to budget quite well. Not many luxuries, but I am saving a small amount per month in an Investment Trust PIP, I'm not taking the quarterly dividend yet ( over 5% yield), to build up the holding, but will wait until next year when I estimate I will receive close on £200 per quarter ( assuming no change in dividend policy ). Very likely this will be needed to compensate if HM Government decide not to increase pensions. Many will say it's a bit late to start saving, maybe, but if anything happens to my wife or myself, then daughter will have a nice little nest egg. Also, may I say that it far more fun saving trhan being in debt !!!!!!!.

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George Tynesider

Jul 03, 2012 at 12:12

As an encore, perhaps he could attempt to live on the weekly amount a pensioner would have received in 2001.

This is the amount I currently receive, since my pension is frozen simply because I decided to spend my retirement years in Canada with my children.

I don`t receive any supplements either.

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Greg Kingston

Jul 03, 2012 at 12:17

George - I'm always open to the idea but may think differently by the end of the week...!

My next diary entry is now up and running here -

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Ian MacLean-Boyle

Jul 03, 2012 at 12:32

May I just add to my earlier comment, that when I moved from the private sector to work with a Local Authority, 20 years ago, I transferred my private pensions to the LA Pension Scheme, a wise move methinks !!!. Gave me an additional 10 years final salary pension. Just to say that with State Pension and LA Pension my wife and self have £1500 a month (Net).

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Alan Morrice

Jul 03, 2012 at 12:49

Noted the contributors who feel that the present generous benefits to pensioners will be curtailed in future.

I'm pretty sanguine about this. There are plenty of pensioners, our numbers are growing and we tend to use our vote.

If the Government wishes to save on social security there are other targets to hit, many of these being seen as 'less deserving' than pensioners - and who tend not to use their vote.

If things carry on as they are, whichever Goverment is in power, one day the nation's finances are almost certain to be overwhelmed by accumulated debt.

What will the Goverments of the day do to forstall this? What they have always done. They'll let inflation rip, allowing them to pay back the holders of Government debt in devalued money. It's how Goverments of all nations have always got themselves free from their creditors.

Those on fixed incomes (eg private pensioners with annuities) will be impovrished. Those on the state pension plus benefits will be protected by automatic, vote-buying, increases in income.

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Jul 03, 2012 at 16:38

Good luck - I hope you find it difficult so that when you report back you wil be able to demonstrate to the doubters - people like the Institute of Fiscal Studies in their recent report - what a load of rubbish they come out with...especially about the frozen pensioner.

Frozen from the day it becomes payable in the host country, like Canada, Australia and Thailand and never to be increased. As a result Annie Carr who is now 100 years old and emigrated in 1970 to be with her sole relative in Australia still receives only her full pension at the 1970 rate...£6.12 per week.

Now there is a challenge Greg....but it would highlight this disgraceful discrimination by successive governments.

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Greg Kingston

Jul 03, 2012 at 16:49

RobtheFox - if someone is prepared to get me out to Australia I will gladly try and live there for a week on £6.12!

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Jul 03, 2012 at 17:17

Greg - it is not the living for a week on £6.12 that is is the living on £6.12 per week every week that is the difficult bit...and remember AGE UK made a deduction of £37.45 from the maximum figure to cover bills, council tax and so £6.12 less £37.45 = oh dear!

As regards getting to Australia I'm sure Legal & General have a petty cash tin which would support such a venture!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Jul 03, 2012 at 18:38






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Roger Cooke

Jul 04, 2012 at 14:53

With reference to Alan Morrice's comment regarding the means tested benefits, I think a lot of pensioners have too much pride to claim benefits. Then of course, there is the ritual of actually claiming them. I remember when my Mum had to go into a nursing home, we had to have a visit from the council just to fill in the paperwork. As I remember it, there were about 50 pages!

For someone living alone with no dependants, this would be very daunting.

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Alan Morrice

Jul 04, 2012 at 17:10


I'm not talking about 'complicated' forms of benefit, just the bog-standard ones, easily arranged, that every pensioner who has only the state pension is entitled to.

If any pensioner is too proud to claim benefits that's quite up to them. If their pride will not allow them to accept state cash that they know is freely available to them then they must accept their poverty.

The state had no such pride or sense of honour when it came to confiscating large portions of said pensioners income through direct and indirect taxes, NI, etc when the said pensioners were working.

Unfortunately these proud old persions are at odds with the zeitgeist. Over the years we have become a high-tax, high-benefit society. In the case of many people in the private sector it is simply not possible/advisable nowadays to save for old age. Public sector workers and traditional benefit receipients are All-Right, Jack. (they're already clients of the state - why should things change after retirement)?

The rest of us must, within the bounds of the law and honesty, play the system to our advantage. I for one would much have preferred to have lived and worked in a low-tax, low-benefit society, but we must live in the world as we find it.

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Jul 07, 2012 at 09:21

The last comment I can locate is dated 4th July at 17.10 hours. I am unsure if this means we have a fault somewhere or, more likely Greg you have faded away having run out of money and food.

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russ thomas

Jul 07, 2012 at 17:07

The AgeUK figure of £70 (£107 State Pension, £34 Net Mortgage/Rent/Council Tax after Housing Benefit, £3 Home Insurance) is before other average weekly non supermarket expenses such as :-

Gas & Electric £39, Water £10, Phone/Broadband/Cable £13, TV Licence £2,

Mobile Phone £7, Banking £3 ... that is £74 bare minimum, most younger folks easily spend three times more on many similar items and think nothing of it.

To get out and about needs Transport .... Bus / Train / Taxi / Road Fund Tax / Petrol / Insurance / Tyres / Maintenance / Hire Purchase ... Younger folks easily spend £100 per week, but for anyone reasonably fit on State Pension transport usually amounts to using a free bus pass and walking the rest with heavy shopping bags and very tired legs.

Then there are superfluous non essential luxuries such as Clothing, Shoes, Spectacles, Non Prescription Medicines, Homeware Maintenance, Health/Life Insurance, Fitness and Exercise, Postage Stamps ... etc

And finally - some food and drink, very often last in the queue.

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