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Finance Friday | Frugal living

Money - Seeing the future

I edited a guest blog earlier by Fairy Dharawat about how we buy things habitually and how that tendency can be used to merchandise more successfully.  How can we resist the attempts by the larger retailers to persuade us to buy more, when we are trying to buy less and save? We can be aware that we do get into habits and buy the same things every week. Some retailers change their stores around a lot and we complain because we can’t find anything or because our shopping takes longer. We have to actually think instead of buying by force of habit. I went shopping the other day and I have got into the habit of buying a soft drink when I enter the store, but it wasn’t there. They had replaced it with cider and so I didn’t buy any. The changes can be more subtle and clever though and we do end up spending more money.

We can be seduced by all kinds of subtle things when we are shopping, like sweets and chocolates when we are waiting at the checkout. They also reduce the size of packages and we dump a pack into our shopping trolley and get home to find it’s been reduced from 1Kg to 750 grams. I notice some trick nearly every time I go shopping. I noticed the other night that the broccoli was still  on special offer, but a lot smaller. They moved the bananas too, so you want the cheaper ones and end up with a smaller pack of organically grown, fair trade bananas at twice the price. I am a supporter of fair trade but not twice the price!

The never ending saga of the Eurozone crisis continues, with reference agencies downgrading the credit status of whole countries like Greece and Spain and making their borrowing more expensive at a time when they can barely afford the interest payments they have already. I find it amusing when we have a Eurozone and a collective and countries are issuing bonds individually rather than collectively. We do have civil servants and politicians running it all though and so we can’t expect much else. The whole of the Euro-culture is one of acronyms, empire building, buzz words and little in the way of practical common sense solutions. This politically correct garbage now pervades right through to local government and has even invaded charities that often suck up to their political masters to get grants. The Jubilee celebrations and the Olympics are classic examples of how people will suck up and waste money. Next week they will be out in their designer hats and dresses at Royal Ascot; the annual showing off of the haves to the have nots. They will even televise it, so the poorer people can see how wonderfully stylish, well dressed, well bred and utterly narcissistic they all are.

The problem is that ordinary people try to copy the rich and buy cheap crap with a designer label on. A pair of Diesel jeans that were made in some God forsaken hole in the Far East, doesn’t make you stylish. Even Prada and Gucci drowned in Chanel doesn’t make for style.  Style can’t be bought. You can look great in cheap stuff from Matalan if you know what, goes with what. I must go and get me a fake linen hat from Matalan, I heard today we might get a bit of summer next month.

I looked at the shops on a local High Street earlier. There are banks, building societies, loan sharks (pay day loans), pawn brokers, estate agents (real estate), fast food places, pubs, off licences and bookmakers. I can remember when there used to be shops selling things on Britain’s High Streets. This is in a deprived area too. The banks do business with the other businesses, the pawn brokers and loan sharks lend out money for people to go and spend in the pubs, bookies and off licences in an attempt to forget their worries. All the local services are provided by people who commute in on the motorway from more affluent areas and have nice centrally heated jobs on the council.

The macro economic system in Britain is sick and until it recovers we have to avoid all those businesses on the High Street as much as possible. Look for alternatives like Zopa for investing your money and get interest rates above the rate of inflation on your savings. Avoid pawn brokers and loan sharks like the plague, don’t gamble unless it’s a  the odd quid on the lottery (if you can afford it) and drink in moderation (buying it in the supermarket not the pub). A few friends around on a summer’s evening can be more enjoyable than a spending the evening in a pub full of people you probably wouldn’t like if you were sober. Take up a few money saving hobbies too like wine making, that might save a few quid. 

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4 responses

  1. That’s a huge problem for most especially back home. Come Friday everyone would head to the pub as if they were “owed” a night out. They seem to forget a roof over their heads and food on the table especially for their children is more important than getting rat azzed at the pub. You have to budget, you have to spend less than you earn. The best thing I ever did was move to Canada (it’s amazing here) and start budgeting….I always say…. It’s not about how much money you make, it’s how you save it.
    One part in your story that I chuckled as was when you say people buy fake stuff to look like the rich…. keeping up with the rich even if it is buying cheap crap can still potentially dig you into a hole of debt. Live within your means.
    Cheers mate and thanks for posting my blog post.

    15, June 2012 at 12:30 pm

  2. Hi Mr CBB,

    Many pubs here are disappearing, I think it’s a shame because they used to be the centre of the community. They helped many people get work because they provided contacts and friends. The culture of drinking a bit too much on a Friday still exists but a lot less evident. At least half the pubs near me have closed down and people buy booze in the supermarkets now. Keeping up with the Joneses is a problem and the bloody flag waving this year is getting on my nerves! Royal Ascot this week, can’t bloody miss that!

    15, June 2012 at 2:39 pm

  3. Pingback: Finance Friday | luck of the draw « Mike10613's Blog

  4. Pingback: Frugal summer update « Mike10613's Blog

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