/ Money

Your comments this week – cheques, printers & care

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Why do cheque payers have to pay so much more for their energy bills? Are printers the most chuckable tech product? And is it about time for a revolution in care? Here are the best comments this week.

Student Finance Day

As a recently retired lecturer, our regular commenter Wavechange gives some good tips on second-hand books for new students:

‘Check that second-hand books are the current edition or check the suitability of older editions with your lecturer. Sometimes previous editions are very similar and can be bought cheaply. Don’t rely on guessing this or advice from other students. If you buy second-hand books, you will probably not have access to the additional information on the publisher’s website. Even if you are given the password, access may be limited to one year.’

Rebecca shares her food budgeting tips:

‘As a student who didn’t just want to live off Pot Noodles and ready meals, food was one of my main expenses. But I found that shopping online worked out far cheaper – you can keep track of how much it’s all costing and you’re more likely to spend less when you’re not face-to-face with all the supermarket offers and enticing smells from the bakery!’

Why is the poor cheque payer penalised so much?

On average, cheque payers have to pay £100 more for their energy bills. Bmartin thinks regulatory action needs to be taken:

‘Ofgem should prohibit the practice of different charges dependant on the method of payment, and stipulate that the utility companies only have one charge irrespective of the method of payment.’

And Nfh thinks energy companies could learn from water companies:

‘I pay Thames Water on receipt of the bill by credit card and there’s no surcharge at all, despite Thames Water incurring a small percentage charge for this method.’

Printer pile-up: are printers the most disposable gadget?

Most people chuck printers rather than fix ’em. Mose thinks it depends on the printer’s price:

‘Depends how much it costs. A £30 printer – no as it would cost the same to fix it, probably. Printers nowadays are priced at little or no profit to the company. Their profit comes from the ink and I assume that these companies find that they make far more money by doing this.’

NukeThemAll criticises printer ink prices as well:

‘We have just gone through the utterly ridiculous, eco-toxic process of buying a new colour laser jet. Why? Because the cost of the cartridges exceeds the cost of a new printer, by a considerable margin. Factor in any other reliability and consumable issues, and it was the only sensible choice – for us.’

It’s time for a revolution in care

Carers UK was our guest to explain why there needs to be a revolution in care. Anthony shares his experiences:

‘Been caring for my 34 year old son for the last ten years and recently my wife. I had to give up work. Just couldn’t cope any longer. Affected myself quite badly having recently had heart problems and Angina. It’s unpaid but means caring for them 24/7. I’ve only just recently been given a carer to support myself. Only seen them once and that was to tell me I needed some sort of break. That was it, haven’t seen them since. God knows I’d love a break, but where would the money come from and what would happen to my wife and son if I wasn’t there?’

Boycie1946, who gets our comment of the week, has avoided care agencies altogether:

‘I’m a carer for my wife who has MS, both of us now retired and in our mid 60s. I had to close my business in 2000 to do the caring bit, the amount of which has increased over this preceding period from just a couple of hours per day to almost full time.

‘Eight years ago it was suggested that we approach our local social services to discuss direct payments and although we/I have had some ups and downs on the way, the system works reasonably well and gives us freedom and flexibility to arrange our days.

‘We have never used a care agency, mainly due to their inflexibility, when they can come, how much time and what they will do etc. My wife certainly didn’t want to wait until 10-11 to get up and then have to be in bed by 5pm. We have always used directly employed carers (read PA’s).’

Comments have been edited due to length, so make sure to read them in full on their relevant Convos (by clicking on the red title link).