Page last updated at 07:03 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 08:03 UK

'It's like I'm running on vapour'

Daniel Donaldson, 28, is a law graduate waiting to begin full-time work who lives in Edinburgh.

Daniel kept a diary of his weekly spending across a week as part of a panel letting us know their views on the cost of living.

Daniel Donaldson

It all adds up! Saving 12p here, another 30p there, soon all adds up.

In my case, the regular shop for one reduces by around 20.

Supermarkets have their store laid out in such a way as to make you buy more.

I found that if I started shopping from the back and moved to the front, I saved on bill.

I have moved to supermarket own brands. On average, there are around 30-40p savings to be made here.

For the more expensive items, usually products containing meat you can save 1-1.50.

I find that there does not seem to be a coherent pricing policy.

Fruit and veg seem to change on a weekly basis. To increase their profits, they are reducing portion sizes and marketing more two-for-one offers.

Realistically though, would you want to pay 20p for a small clementine or 12p a grape? When you look at it like this, you notice how expensive things are.

I asked about increases in price for milk and bread - well above inflation. The complaints manager just shrugged his shoulders, 'everything is going up...' he said.

See Daniel's diary of living costs

I note that my wage increase was not above inflation and the government does not want people to have 'real' cost of living increases.

I cooked for friends, this did save money. I also have reduced food waste by making sure that left-overs can be used for lunch or a snack.

Unfortunately, I still feel like I am running on vapour when it comes to spending.

Utility companies seem to be making record profits

I ask myself, do I really need this? Will I eat this? What else can I use this for?

Everything seems to be tied to fuel prices. Although, no-one seems to give me a clear answer on why prices are so high for gas and electricity.

It costs more to produce, therefore it costs more to buy. However, is this really the case?

I notice the record profits are still being recorded by the utility companies. How can they continue to make money?

I think that someone should investigate how they are manipulating prices.

My utility company has a social tariff. I only found out about it by accident when I complained about my high bills.

It turns out if you spend more than 10% of your disposable income on fuel you are eligible for a 20% discount.

They sure kept that one quiet! Apparently, there is no legal requirement to publicise the discounts available.

I got a tax refund this month, so that has helped. However, I have had to use my overdraft - and incurred the fee for doing so and have increasingly been putting things on credit.

This cannot continue in the long-term. Sooner or later, I will have to wear nine jumpers instead of the two suggested by the CEO of British Gas.

Ironically, I wrote to my MP complaining that the government was not doing enough.

Apparently, there is nothing they can do. Although, I think there is plenty they can do, it's just they are reluctant to do so.

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