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03 Nov 13 19:06
Date Joined: 12 May 01
| Topic/replies: 6,051 | Blogger: bongo's blog
I was looking at the 3 bottles for £10 offer at ASDA recently. This has been going since around 2006 and I don't think ASDA can continue to operate it much longer, what with inflation running 'officially' at close to 3% a year, and major fuel bills rising 8-10% shortly. The exchange rate looks set for further trashing against harder currencies, as the government continues to spend around £1.17 for every £1 collected in taxes, and prints a good-sized portion of the difference between outgoings and receipts. And over 98% of wine sold in UK is imported afaik.

Fwiw, the USD is not a hard currency any longer.

So in the interests of research and so that you don't have to, I've been testing the wines in the 3 for £10 category, and they are pretty rank with the exception of Dreamtime Ridge ( Australia ) which is acceptable. This cheeky red number which is bottled in Norfolk, so presumably comes into the UK on a tanker or container would cost over £8 in Australia itself ( probably more ).

Throw in the news that world wine consumption now exceeds production ( .

I predict that 3 for £12 will be the cheapest charva deal on plonk within 3 months, and as a bottle of red wine is a meaningful currency or unit of trade (if the western currencies collapse), I'm recommending to any preppers to get some now. Hic! and Happy Guy Fawkes night, stow, rich, xmoneyx, melv and the other 2 people on here.
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Report bongo November 6, 2013 8:41 PM GMT
In the interests of research and also so that you don't have to, I've spent the last 4 evenings testing whether you should heat or drink on alternate nights:
-Heating the house to a nice temperature for one night takes just under 2.5 litres of fuel oil ( kerosene ) costing just under £1.80 according the nice gauge on my tank.
-Downing a bottle of Dreamtime Ridge means you can make it through without using the heating at all, at a cost of £3.33.

This doesn't take into account other costs, such as having a boiler in the first place or time and cost in going shopping. It also doesn't take into account issues of addiction or mental sanity where some people can't get through the week without having a few units.

Conclusion from this simplistic research - if it's a choice between heating or drinking alcohol, heat the fecking house and DO NOT drink. Oil ( and related products ) are astonishingly good value still. Plonk is not. The effective value of oil for heating is even higher if you live cooperatively with other people.

Next time - i'd like to research the 'heat or eat' option which is claimed to exist in some households, but it's complicated as a lot of cooking will involve using gas/electric and has the effect of warming the house, so that will have to wait. For now - if you're on a middling income - carry on shopping around for value, but if you're on a low income, DO NOT drink, heat the house instead; oils are amazing.
Report FINE AS FROG HAIR November 7, 2013 4:14 PM GMT
You should be writing a column in a newspaper.
I've read a lot less interesting and witty analyses than you seem to be able to come up with easily and regularly.
Keep'em coming.
Report bongo November 10, 2013 9:11 PM GMT
Cheers FAFH, everyone needs some encouragement, thank you.

Alas, a personal assessment of the 'Heat or Eat' option is after consideration beyond my will-power. This is the option so often mentioned by Poverty Action groups as something that faces many of the UK's poorest families in the coldest months, although it's not always such a simplistic or binary option, as the poorest often use pre-paid or cash meters and cooking food ( rather than say ordering in pizza ) will involve a certain amount of heating of the premises.

Onto the personal failure: doing alternate weeks of either eating ( and keeping a food diary to boot ) or heatingand noting the readings on the guage, with no alcohol consumption to corrupt the data is beyond my will-power.

However, taking other people's data and making up what isn't available is perfectly possible, smiles.

First - the financial angle.
According to ( . ) there's only a slight relationship between people in cold countries eaing more than hot, and people in rich countries eating more than those in poor ones. Canada is richer and colder than the USA for example, and they eat less. People in Morocco where presumably hardly anyone needs central heating are eating only 500 kCal less than the the British. Alas, equatorial countries with similar or higher incomes per person as the UK such as HK or Singapore aren't included, but at a guess they are eating out of choice 600kCal less than the British per day, don't turn the heating on ever, and may use a lot of air-con.

Eating an extra 600kCal per day because UK is colder will cost a person about 80p in food imo. Two tins of baked beans perhaps. And that's nutritious.
Extra heating because UK is cold costs about £1.80 over and above cooking costs for me, and that's just for a house occupied 6 hours of the evening.

Second - the health angle.
Taking the extremes where choosing the wrong option out of 'heat or eat' results in death, you can search for deaths from cold and deaths from starvation. Depending on who you believe, there are worldwide around 200,000 excess winter deaths per year to almost none at all  ( . ) as even hot countries have similar seasonal variations in death statistics.
Searching for deaths from starvation and you can easily find numbers orders of magnitude above that. As an example ( ) has over 35000 people a day dying of starvation. In other words in 1 week, more people die of starvation than the worst estimates for the whole of the winter months.

Coming in from the extremes of freezing to death versus starving to death, you can look at the effects of the next most extreme options which are being cold or being malnourished.
According to ( ) living in a cold house can cause breathing problems and mental health problems. Being malnourished though, can cause many times more adverse health issues, susceptibilty to diseases, stunted growth, reduced development in children, impaired brain function, poor education outcomes, ADHD, the list goes on. I won't give a link, some are gruesome.

So unless you have very specific circumstances ( such as living in a shared house with 3 or more old people and no younger people or children ) then if you really are faced with the choice of 'heat versus eat' then choose 'eat'. The health benefits of eating nutritious food as well as the cost factor beats having the central heating on.
Report Dr Crippen November 15, 2013 2:40 PM GMT
Why would anyone except if they were an alcoholic spend money on booze instead of heating their home?

I'd put booze right at the bottom of my priorities if I were working to a budget.
Report Coachbuster November 20, 2013 2:41 AM GMT
a good drop of wine can be a lifesaver mr crippen

but the 3 for a pound maybe not the best value imho ,the  £5 bottles can be pretty tidy  though -go for the reserves
Report gawdalmighty December 6, 2013 1:36 PM GMT
I second FAFH's comment, well written post bongo, makes for interesting reading, mate.

On a side note, given the choice of a bottle of wine or sticking the heating on for an hour in the evening, I would choose the wine thanks ;)
Report charlatan January 15, 2014 9:55 PM GMT
they never present it as heat or eat after you've timed your shop with when all the bakery goods at asda have been reduced to 2p.
Report lingbleed January 19, 2014 12:26 AM GMT
very good bongo ,very witty indeed ,there are plenty who read on here  that don't post ....... use's are not alone
Report Stow_judge January 30, 2014 11:34 AM GMT
On the heat or eat subject, a mate I used to work with used to enjoy farting to such an extent that he purposefully swallowed whole lumps of food, rather than chewing them to smaller lumps. He reckoned it produced more gas and hence superior farts. This opens up the possibility of burning the said farts for a potent heat AND eat combination.
Report bongo February 4, 2014 10:00 PM GMT
I made some predictions on 3rd Nov 2013 with a time-stamp of 3 months so here's a review of how it went:
'Inflation running at close to 3%' : according to the ONS it's now 2.0%
'Major fuel bills rising 8-10%' : the govt have got rid of green levies and the savings will be passed to customers, so that isn't happening ( at least for now )
'Exchange rate set for further trashing' : taking say the Russian rouble as a random example of a medium sized currency, the GBP has gone from 52.4 to 57.9 during this period, and that's with Russia's govt running a balanced budget to within 1% of national income. It doesn't make sense.

Failed predictions, all of them.

How about
'UK govt still spending £1.17 for every £1 collected' : still broadly true
'The USD not being a hard currency' : the FED has started a 'taper' and now prints 65bn USD a month compared to 85bn USD a month at the time of the OP. Not yet a hard currency, but a bit firmer than play-dough compared to 3 months ago, and emerging markets have taken a hammering.

How about the headline prediction:
'3 for £12 will be the cheapest charva deal on plonk within 3 months' : the 3 for £10 offer has gone, and there are no special deals at Asda any more. Alas, this is no cause for celebration of powers of future-telling as the Asda wines are now individually priced, many are £4, but a handful, including a particularly awful Tempranillo-Garnagha is just £3 a bottle. It will get you there, but you'll be in a proper state when you depart the next day.

Hope everyone is enjoying a happy new year so far. Good health lingbleed and anyone else looking in, but stay away from my tips though.
Report bongo January 5, 2015 11:21 PM GMT
Another update:
'Inflation running at close to 3%' : this has now dropped to 1%.
'Major fuel bills rising 8-10%' : some people have even had their bills cut in the last 3 months. Fuel oil ( often known as kerosene ) is under 45p a litre ( it was close to 60p litre in Nov 2013 )
'Exchange rate set for further trashing' : the Russian rouble has gone from being in the mid 50s to being valued now at just over 90 to 1GBP, and even the EURO has gone from about 1=1.255 to 1=1.275 from the time of the original post to now. And that's in spite of the UK govt still running the 4th biggest overspend of any european nation ( just SPA, SLO and GRE are worse according to TE ).

None of these trends make sense, although to be on a decent full-time income in the UK still places you in a privileged position in the world now and historically so we should be grateful and crack on.

And the wine shortage never materialised - production is up and back exceeding demand now and this is expected to continue for a long time. And discount stores like SAVERS have offers of 3 for £10 or similar.

Switching the theme, I have heard an excellent two word joke this week
-dry January-
these health campaigners are such a laugh.
Report RioGrande February 11, 2015 5:10 PM GMT
predict how long my toilet paper will last?
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