Where in the World is Rebecca Today?

Personal Blog

Archive for the 'Money' Category

Pickpocketed in Dresden

You always read about people being pickpocketed, and you never think it will happen to you. After all, you’re smart. You keep your wallet in a secure pocket or around your neck; you’ve purchased RFID blocking cases and sleeves, and/or you use slashproof bags when you travel. But then perhaps you get too comfortable in your location and you become lax. You find yourself leaving your handbag by your feet while you take a photo, or perhaps your wallet doesn’t get put back into a zippered pocket….and then you get hit by a pickpocket.

This was my reality on our recent trip to Dresden. I felt so at home in the former East German city that I didn’t really think about my own personal safety and after having my Wochenkarte checked onboard a tram, I shoved my pass case into the front pocket of my camera bag instead of putting it away inside my zippered purse. We got off at Albertplatz and made our way to the Rebecca Brunnen (fountain) near the Drei Konig Kirche and on towards the fountain at the end of the street and even got as far as the golden statue of August II, two hours after we had had our tickets checked. It was while we were paying for our lunch at a Nord See takeaway that I noticed it was missing.

Queue panic. Serious panic. I emptied my entire camera bag right there on the sidewalk, double checked, and made Tim triple check…..it was gone. My passcase that contained my Wochenkarte (worth €61!), My London Oyster card, and more worrying – my National Rail ID and travel card for travel within the UK.

At first, we wanted to believe I had merely dropped it on the tram, so we headed to the DVB office at Postplatz. After finally finding someone who could speak English (I do speak German, but in this instance, I knew English would be easier), he agreed to contact the driver of the tram we had been on. The driver would check the tram and get back to him in an hour. So we went off to the shopping centre at Altmarkt (I really wanted ice cream!) and returned to find out that the driver had not found my case. We were advised to either return in 2 hours or come back the following day, and the Fundbüro was also suggested. Being pickpocketed was mentioned as a possibility, but we still didn’t want to believe that had happened. I also kept checking my facebook “other” inbox, thinking that if someone had found the case they might have searched for me on facebook and tried to match the photo ID to my profile pic, but no luck. We headed to the Lindt shop and had a delicious Eisschokolade drink (it was crushed truffles and milk. SO DELICIOUS) before heading back to our apartment.

The following day, I returned to the DVB office, but my case stil hadn’t been found, so we went around the corner to the Fundbüro. The Fundbüro is located at 13 theaterplatz, and is in the basement of a building that has many other city offices in it. I dont think it was the city hall building, but it was definitely a city office building. Once we got to the basement, there was a sign (in German) telling us we could only enter if the light above the door was green. Since it was green, we went inside. Fortunately, the people in the office speak English. After explaining what I had lost, they searched their computer that logs everything that comes in and the gentleman suggested to me that I most likely had, in fact, had the item stolen from me because things like wallets tend to show up fairly quickly if they are simply found.

Well, crap.

We had plans for the day, so we purchased a second weekly ticket (uuuugh) and headed on our way. That night I also researched how to get home after we landed back at Heathrow……and I had to spend an additional £31.50 – £10.50 for the Heathrow Connect (while Tim would be using the Heathrow Express, it was twice as expensive to buy a replacement ticket for me) and £21 for a single from King’s Cross to Lincoln. I planned on using my contactless debit card on the underground to get from Paddington to King’s Cross.

The following day, while Tim explored the transportation museum in town, I made my way to the police station to file a report. This report was necessary so I could have my rail passes replaced once we got home, and on the off chance that our travel insurance would kick in.


The main police station in Dresden is located on Schießgasse between Landhausstraße and Rampische Straße. it is a beautiful building, and we actually had admired it on our first evening in Dresden and took several pictures of the building so I knew exactly where I needed to be.

Once you enter the building, there are two windows – one to the left and one to the right. IF both are manned, I believe you are supposed to go to the left, but as only one window was manned, I went to the right. After asking if I could speak to someone who spoke English since my German wasn’t up to snuff (see the end of this post for some handy German phrases!), I was directed to a small waiting area.

After about 20 minutes, a female officer came out and I thought she would be helping me, but after I explained to her what had happened, she asked me to wait. 20 more minutes went by, and I was finally called back by an officer who identified himself as Herr Jentzsch. Herr Jentzsch explained that he wasn’t fluent in English, but since I could speak some English, we decided we could communicate…..along with the aid of google for looking up images of things and correct words!



I was back with Herr Jentzsch for quite some time, but that was mostly to do with needing to first explain everything in English (and write the report in English), and then helping Herr Jentzsch to translate what I had said into German. This is where looking things up on google helped us, as some of my English words and what I thought were the German equivalents were not understood. This was likely due to either dialect differences (I know a mostly Bavarian/Tirol dialect) or because when i translated a word with google, it gave me a literal translation and not the correct word. It didn’t matter though, because even though we had a slight language barrier, we persevered, and I was handed a Bescheinigung to take home with me to get my cards replaced. Herr Jentzsch even wrote part of the Bescheinigung in English for ease of it being understood once I was back in the UK!

All in all it was a pretty painless process. Well, the reporting was. Obviously, losing my card case has been quite painful and I’m still waiting on replacement cards from Rail Staff Travel, but I’m sure they’ll get to me eventually.

I still feel pretty vulnerable….and stupid. But at the same time, relieved. Sure, I had to buy another weekly ticket for 60 euros and train tickets for £30, plus wait for my replacement travel cards to show up before I can travel again, but it could have been worse. My entire purse could have gone missing with all my cash, debit card, and credit card. My passports could have been stolen, my entire bag could have been grabbed, or I could have been hurt. Yes, this incident has cost about £100, but it could have been worse. Way worse. And you know what? I learned my lesson. For the rest of the trip, NOTHING went into the front pocket of my bag unless it was disposable (like a brochure), and I buried my passport underneath the padding that holds my camera. This isn’t going to stop me from travelling, it’s only going to make me more aware in the future. And If I get checked by fare revenue on the tram next time we’re in Dresden, I’ll make sure I put my ticket away BEFORE getting off the tram….and I probably won’t store it in my passcase with my UK tickets and passes.

**
If you don’t speak German and you need help whilst in Germany you might need these handy phrases (with some rudimentary pronunciations. It’s not perfect as I’m not a linguist, but the effort will be appreciated):

Ich brauche Hilfe (Ik brow-keh hill-fe) – I need help.
Sprechen Sie English? (Sprek-ken zee) – Do you speak English?
Ich spreche kein Deutsch (Ik sprek-eh k-eye-n Doy-ch) – I don’t speak German.
Ich kann sich nicht verstehen (Ik can seech neecht ver-stay-en) – I don’t understand you.
Danke (Dank-eh) – Thanks.

***
The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission.

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blog.beccajanestclair
Twitter: https://twitter.com/annaonthemoon
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beccajanestclair
Blog: http://blog.beccajanestclair.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/beccajanestclair

No comments

Pocket Filofax Finsbury as a Purse/Wallet

I made this video for my friends on the facebook groups after I asked lots of questions about turning the pocket sized Filofax into a purse/wallet.

As you can see, it’s VERY full and with the one ring splitting a bit, I’m really not sure if this is useful or if I will keep using it, but I’m willing to give it a go.

Where to buy*:
Filofax Pocket Finsbury in Raspberry
Pocket Filofax Zipper Envelopes
Pocket Filofax Credit Card Holders
Pocket Filofax Clear Pouch

***

*All links lead to Amazon UK and are affiliate links, so if you click on them and buy something, I do get a tiny percent.

This post has not been endorsed by Filofax OR Amazon and I have not received compensation for writing this post or making this video.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

No comments

Grocery Tracker: January

I created an Excel spreadsheet to track our grocery store spending throughout the year, and my first month is complete. We have spent £173.18 this month on groceries ONLY. I filter out of the total delivery charges (£17.50 for the month), toiletries (nothing, bought everything at Boots or Wilkos), household goods (laundry soap, etc. £15.21 this month), pet supplies (£2.29 this month as all Prudence needed was a box of wet food), alcohol (£0), and misc (like if we pick up a DVD at the grocery store. £0 this month)

I’m debating about adding onto the sheet all times we go shopping for toiletries (boots/wilkos/etc), as I am interested in knowing what we spend on those things. I might still have my receipts from this month, or I can price things out individually and work out the total. It was less than £25, but more than usual because we ran out of everything this month including Tim’s aftershave.

Still, £173 isn’t bad. We’ve always aimed to spend less than £200. And yesterday was the most expensive delivery because we defrosted the freezer and needed to restock it.

Paying for delivery annoys me sometimes, but I can justify it, easily. If Tim isn’t available to drive me to the shop, I’d have to take a bus at £4.80 Return. Delivery fees hover between £3.50 and £4.50, depending on how fast I book it. Petrol would be negligible, since we live fairly close to most of the shops (though I bet Asda would be more in petrol than the delivery fee), but when you think about how much time you spend in the grocery stores…..the delivery fee is well worth it!

Here’s hoping I can do better in February, though. Ideally, I’d rather groceries be down in the £125-150 range for the month, especially since we will have houseguests in April and May that will add extras! (Dear houseguests: No, I am not asking you to buy groceries while you are here! Stop thinking that!!). We also are going on holiday in June, so groceries become a little iffy then, too. Even with camping, we still wind up doing a daily shop and it can add up since you never have a stocked pantry to work with.

~~*~~
The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog.]

3 comments

Quidco a No-Go

Over the Summer, a friend was talking to me about Quidco, a website that offers you cash back based on your purchases you make through their site. I was a member of a similar site when I lived in the US (I currently can’t remember the site!) and had earned back around $20 on various online purchases, so I signed up for it, but then forgot about it.

In October, Quidco sent out an email with an offer to join Weight Watchers UK. The offer was that if you signed up for their 3-month package at £32, you would gain £30 in cashback, making your three month subscription £2. I decided to give it a try, since I felt there was little to lose since in the end I would have only spent £2.


[screenshot of the email offering £30 cashback]

I am now out £32.

Quidco failed to acknowledge the transaction so in mid-November, I submitted a claim on their website. Oddly enough, the site would only let me put in a claim for £15 instead of the £30 advertised, but I figured at least I’d get £15 back and wasn’t going to be too upset over losing £15. A few weeks later, an email from Quidco arrived that simply said “We have an update for you from the Quidcare team.” and directed me to log into my account. I logged in and the standard “this is what will happen” message appeared. I didn’t receive any more email updates from Quidco.

In all the excitement of planning my emergency trip back to the US, I forgot about it until today, when I realized that I would need to cancel my original WW subscription soon if I didn’t want to be charged another £30. I checked into Quidco to see if the reward money was there because if it was I would have used the £30 cash back to pay for an additional three months of WW. My reward wasn’t showing. Instead, it showed that my claim had been denied based on my not providing information they asked for “in an email”.

Er?

Here is a screenshot of my email box filtered down to messages from Quidco:


[apologies for the small print, I had to re-size this for WordPress]

No where in there, beyond the first update email do I see anything related to this claim requesting additional information, yet here’s what Quidco has on their website under my claim:


[screenshot of the claims screen on Quidco]

I found where it was possible to re-submit a claim, so I’m filling it out online:


[screenshot from Quidco, Click for larger]

As you can see, it still is allowing me only to ask them for £15, when the original offer read £30, but again, I’m kind of past that point and really now only want at least the £15 they are offering. I go to the next screen, where it asks for my username on WW and my confirmation number when I joined. I provided those details, and moved on to the next screen.


[screenshot from Quidco, Click for larger]

Getting a bit ridiculous, isn’t it? I clicked on “contact us”, which brings me to a page where I need to click on if I am a member of the site, an advertiser, or part of the media. I select member and go through another set of pull down options to get to the following:


[screenshot from Quidco, Click for larger]

Okay, I will click on that “denied cashback claim”, but oh look where it sends me right back to:


[screenshot from Quidco, Click for larger]

Looks familiar, doesn’t it?

I have now been through this circus about 5 times now, hoping somehow that something will have changed and it will magically let me re-submit the declined claim. Seeing how there appears to be no other way to contact this company, I went directly to their facebook page:


[screenshot from facebook]

The link they gave me? Goes to the same page as the previous image, which is the same page as the first image, so my options are to start the cycle on their site again, or write off ever seeing my £15, let alone the original £30 I was promised.

I’ve since gone to the WW site and cancelled my membership there so I wouldn’t be charged in January. It was a very simple form to fill out and asked for the reason. So I told them this problem as well, though I doubt WW can really do anything about it.

2 comments

Extreme Couponing, Again

I watched Extreme Couponing a few nights ago via my friend’s Slingbox. And I just had to share the moment that made me laugh.

The first woman was shopping at a store that “prices matches” with fliers from other stores. A lot of places do this, and even the shops here in the UK will do it, too. But this woman truly went to the extreme. She had a flier that marked down cereal to less than $2, when her store charges over $5 for the boxes. That’s awesome. But what really made me laugh is the woman drove over 30 miles to get the flier. Uhm, hello? That 30 miles of driving probably cost you more than you’ll save on that box of cereal!

Tim and I worked out that we can go approximately 4 miles for each pound (£) of diesel we put in the car. A 30-mile trip would cost us about £7.50. £1 = around $1.50 currently, so if she could go 4 miles for every $1.50, that means she would have spent over $11 on fuel to pick up this flier. With the price difference being around $4, she had to buy 3 boxes before she even began to break even on the deal. Of course, she probably bought something like 10 or more boxes, I really didn’t pay attention to the number of boxes. BUT, she also didn’t include the $11 in petrol in her savings.

I still think the extreme way of couponing isn’t as glamorous as it looks. Looking at some of the stockpiling you have to wonder how much money do these people spend maintaining their stock? If they have multiple freezers, surely the cost of running them has to be calculated into their total savings? Or the shelving units they purchase to store it all on, the extra rooms they have built onto their homes. What about the wear and tear on their $30k vehicle because it has to sit in the driveway through all weather since the garage is full of their shopping? Or the sheer amount of TIME it takes for them to go through the coupons? Some people on the show boast that they spend 40+ hours/week clipping coupons and looking for deals. Do they calculate into their savings when they purchase coupons on eBay? How about the paper, ink, and electricity they use to print off on-line coupons? What about the time lost with their family because they are too busy searching for coupons and deals? Several episodes back there was someone who drove 100+ miles for something cheap, yet they didn’t calculate their travelling into their savings. One woman boasted that she couponed while on a family vacation because there were different stores than the ones she shopped at at home!

I know that pre-packaged food tends to have long expiration dates, but I also worry that the food will go bad before they use it – Sometimes when my mom or I would clean out the kitchen cabinet (our “stockpile”), we often found things way at the back that had expired without us realizing it. I couldn’t imagine keeping track of expiration dates on some of the huge stockpiles we see on that show. I have a hard enough time keeping track of the food in my small fridge, let alone if I had three refrigerators full of food.

And I’ll say it again… a lot of what they buy is JUNK. Candy, sugar cereals, soda, ramen noodles (sodium), etc. Even tinned vegetables still aren’t as healthy as fresh. And tinned fruit tends to be in sugary syrup. How can you stay healthy and eat that stuff? What do you need 200 bottles of laundry soap for? A bottle probably lasts at least a month or two, so you have enough detergent for how many YEARS of laundry? What happens if you move? Will you pay a moving company to shift your stockpile? What about insurance on it in case your basement floods, your house catches fire, or someone breaks in and steals things? would you even know if someone had stolen something from your stockpile? If you don’t own pets, why do you have 100 packets of cat treats? You’re past the age of having babies, and your own children are in primary school, so why do you have all those jars of baby food, diapers, and wipes? What’s the use in having a 20 years supply of feminine products if you are male and don’t have a female partner or family member to use it? Sometimes, I even wonder if the people actually eat and use the things they buy or if they just like looking at their “collection”, because they seem to do these huge shops weekly!

I’m still quite satisfied to see myself saving £10 off a £50 order. Some weeks I fail at saving money (this week, I’ve only saved about £2). Other weeks, I go for gold and can save over £10. It all evens out for me and I would never purchase something purely based on the fact that it was on special offer or if I had a coupon for it. Everything I purchase gets used within a reasonable amount of time, unless it’s part of our “Winter Kit” (which I’ll explain in a later post)

~*~
The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, or the RSS feed(s), please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users can comment directly on Facebook.]

No comments