Bills and dividends. #FinanceFriday

Energy Bills

The weather has gone very chilly this week. A northerly wind is reminding us that winter isn’t far away. The government has essentially capped the average dual fuel bill at £2500 but I use more gas than average so I’m expecting to pay much more than that. I calculated that I would pay over £2500 even with the £400 discount deducted. I’ve been monitoring my smart meter and I have reduced consumption so I’ll have to see. I do have gas fires so I could lower my thermostat even further during the really cold months and put a gas fire on in the room I’m using. Some people will really struggle but I’ll cope with the rising bills. My discretionary income, that income I have left after paying for essentials, will go down, however.

Dividends

I’ve been paid my dividend from Lloyds Banking Group this week and the share price has gone up a little too. My holding is actually making a slight loss but after doubling up during the pandemic I now have high hopes of Lloyds making better profits and the share price getting back to pre-pandemic levels. I’m expecting higher interest rates and that should benefit all the banks. I also have a dividend from Natwest today and a special dividend! Barclays will also be paying me a dividend today. Next week will see the quarterly dividends from Shell and BP which have benefited from the high oil price. These dividends may seem low but I prefer to see companies investing profits rather than paying high dividends.

The economy

Can we expect a recession? I’m not sure. There will be a lot less money around through the winter. A fall in house sales would be a good thing. House price inflation doesn’t really benefit anyone. It would be better if people stayed put for a while so money was going into the shops and not on a new house. The US economy hasn’t really picked up since the pandemic. The USD is strong against other currencies, however. The GBP is at $1.136 this morning. The low GBP benefits our exporters and companies that earn in USD but makes imports expensive and leaves British companies exposed to takeovers from foreign predators.

Bills and dividends

Anyway, I have my dividends to ease the pain of winter bills. I have noticed other prices rising but my AA membership and car insurance remained roughly the same. I’m being thrifty and frugal to save money as always. I got 25% off wine by buying half a dozen and I often save by buying the offers. Obviously, having a little income from investments boosts my discretionary income. I’m even buying Christmas presents early when I spot a bargain. I’ll check out the warehouse deals on Amazon later!

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