Roll up, roll up!, roll up! Get your free sofa here!
Fear not, I haven’t turned into Boycie from Only Fools And Horses yet. But that line was drumming through my head when, earlier this month, Mrs B and I went into DFS and ordered a new L-shaped settee.
The Basildon store was heaving. Some cost-of-living crunch.
Sofa sense: Better savings rates of up to 4.4% mean interest free credit deals for expensive purchases can really pay off
Indeed, the shop was so busy that it was hard to corner any sales staff. What an unexpected turn of events. Usually, as soon as you enter a furniture store you’re bombarded by sales patter.
A large reason for its popularity, I would expect, is because DFS is offering interest-free credit for FOUR YEARS. Other sofa shops are doing the same, including ScS, which is on the same retail estate we were in.
Of course, ultra-cheap credit is nothing new from such stores. But given how quickly borrowing costs are rising elsewhere, it just shows how desperate retailers are.
Back in November 2021, the Bank of England base rate was 0.1 per cent. It’s 3.5 per cent now and the cost of loans and mortgages have rocketed.
Eventually, we picked our new sofa and paid with savings. I’m not a big fan of taking out credit for anything, no matter how generous it is.
But as I stepped away I realised there is a way to make a big saving on that sofa — or potentially pay for the whole thing.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Let’s say you purchase a new sofa for £1,500 and you qualify for 0 per cent credit. Over four years, that would mean payments of £31.25 per month.
With far higher savings rates now, you can get a fix of 4.4 per cent until 2027 — when you would have paid off the sofa in full.
If you tucked away a lump sum of £7,800, you’d earn enough interest over the four years to have paid for the sofa entirely (not factoring in inflation).
Even if you put £1,500 aside for the same time frame, you’d get nearly £300 interest — or a 20 per cent discount on the sofa.
Sometimes, it can literally pay to put items on finance even if you can afford not to — especially when it’s as obscenely generous as this.
To say I am disappointed by British Gas’s response to winning our 2022 Wooden Spoon Award would be an understatement.
Last year, its Homecare division scooped the prize. While British Gas boss Chris O’Shea, of parent company Centrica, didn’t accept the award in person, he at least conducted an interview via Zoom.
This year was a step backwards. Despite numerous requests, all we got was a bland statement — and frankly we can only take the word of the energy giant that it was written by Mr O’Shea himself.
Of course it will have annoyed him to ‘win’ this particular award. We get that.
But Mr O’Shea owes it to the customers he’s let down to explain where his firm went wrong and how he’s putting it right.
By shunning the opportunity, he’s sending the wrong signals.
I offered to visit Centrica HQ in Windsor to conduct an interview in person. I offered a short phone conversation. Time and again, my approaches were rebuffed.
It was a tough 2022 for energy firms, with prices rising, new state support schemes launched and more people than ever struggling with bills. However, it’s hard to have sympathy with the company when the man in charge wants to take the easy route out. Less British Gas, more Skittish Gas.
Our roads are a ruddy state. More so than any winter I can remember, potholes of various sizes seem to be on every road surrounding my home.
That hot spell in summer and now the recent freezing weather appear to have caused havoc.
Last week, I noticed a pothole at the last minute and went over it with a thud — though thankfully the car is fine and I didn’t attempt a last-minute swerve.
Car tax has been steadily rising in the past decade. Where is that cash heading, if it’s not used to sort the sad state of our roads?
Am I alone, or are the roads in your area also in the worst state you’ve ever seen?
Let me know.
>> We’re on the hunt for Britain’s biggest pothole… then we’ll FIX IT FOR FREE!