greenbottletree











{11/10/2012}   The effects of the economy on my spending habits

I am fortunate enough to have work and can so far pay my bills but this year I have struggled more than ever.  I have less work, thus less income, and as a result this year I have been more aware than ever before of how I spend my money and how quickly so much of it goes.

For the first time in my life over an extended period and while doing a “proper” job, I am trying to economise, to the extent I’m considering life without a car (insurance, MOT and service coming up!).  I have noticed of late that when I go into a supermarket for dinner and maybe the odd other thing (eg milk or something I consider a staple in my kitchen), I am spending about £14.  I know I used to spend under £10.

Likewise, petrol.  Filling up my car is now about £80 to do roughly 400 miles.  It pains me to get past the £50 mark for petrol.  I know my car isn’t economical, but it really shouldn’t have to cost that much.  I am now going to try to reduce the journeys I make in my car.  I have never even contemplated curbing the amount of driving I do in an attempt to save money.

Speaking to friends, I know I am not alone and I know there are other people far, far worse off than me.  But I knew things were bad when I realised I have been avoiding shops for the past two or more weeks and prior to that I was returning things to shelves some minutes after having picked them up.  I am now getting a new kind of buzz, namely seeing how little I can spend instead of getting kicks out of shopping and spending money.  It’s almost a novelty, though I fear it won’t last.  But I am surprised how much enjoyment can be achieved by checking my bank balance and seeing how little has gone out compared to normal.  Long may this last and if only one good thing were to come of the recession, may it be that I finally embrace the concept of saving and spending more wisely.

For example, in supermarkets, I used to do a kind of supermarket sweep whereby whatever looked nice would be swept into my trolley.  The result was always too much food (and weight gain!) and too much waste.  I am now shopping for that day or the next two days and I think it’s saving me money, but I could be wrong.  I do seem to be chucking out less wasted food though.

I read about and watch the news on increased prices of wheat, crops partly destroyed by the poor summer and resultant food price hikes and I see the unemployment figures and increased bankruptcies, etc.  But normally when I see things like that it passes me by because they are not things that affect me, but now I feel I am part of this struggling Britain and it kind of gives me comfort.  I have no idea how things will change over the next year, but I do hope this gives me far greater responsibility towards my money.  I am rubbish with money and generally spend what I have, then get caught out when I’m in a spending pattern and I have a quiet month (usually over months with school/court holidays).  I wonder how I will look back on this year in about five years’ time.

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