Terry Lander, a blogger, refuses to fall for forced consumerism obsessions during special occasions. This is his introduction:
Money. It’s been described as the root of all evil (The Bible) and an item that must be funny in a rich man’s world (ABBA, 1976). We’d all like a little bit more, so why do we bow down to ever increasing pressures to spend it? Regardless of income, many live to their means and fail to save anything for a future that’s becoming more uncertain by the day. Particularly, when an event pops its head around the corner and the TV tells you to go out and buy one of every related product to be in with any chance of enjoying that occasion.
In 2007 the unthinkable happened – a bank collapsed. Northern Rock, a seemingly stable branch of an impenetrable industry, was given a bailout by the government to keep it alive albeit being strapped to a continuous life support supplied by the UK taxpayer. Since then, global economic turmoil has reached unprecedented levels and money seems to be owed to everyone by everyone with no-one willing to stand up and take the blame.
Meanwhile, on a channel watched by millions, an advert for a new kind of beer that has 2% more bubbles is taken in and digested by seemingly intelligent individuals. ‘2% more bubbles,’ they think, ‘must be worth a go.’ Forget the fact that consumers are actually losing out by having more CO2 within the same sized packaging, it’s bubbly!
For this reason I have decided to give consumerism a kick in the nuts by foregoing the rising necessity that is added to the growing number of apparent holidays in the UK and charting how much we could actually save by saying no to bunting and pre-decorated fairy cakes. Nobody actually needs a heart shaped photo frame on Valentine’s Day any more than they need an ‘I am Frank Spencer’ tattoo across their foreheads in giant letters with an arrow pointing to their genitals.
There is no animosity intended in this work; people can and will buy whatever the hell they like whilst advertisers are simply responding to a growing market. However, I like to think that it’s all unnecessary expenditure and wish to highlight my own personal experiences to give others the chance to really look at where their cash is going. You may disagree with me on the maths; after all, we all have different income levels and suffer different bills from different councils but I hope the ratio between events will be a good interpretation of which holidays suck the most from our potential savings funds. If not then feel free to scribble out the answers and fill in your own.
A word on the use of alcohol: booze do not make an occasion. If you have good company, chances are you will have a good time regardless of a chemical imbalance. I realise I started the year on a boozy note, however at no time did I think this was a necessity. Some of the best moments in my life were followed by me driving home afterwards and I would persuade you to avoid the sauce as much as possible as watching drunks fall about can be hilarious. The myth that beer ‘makes’ the evening is a massive boost for breweries and pubs alike and simply leaves you out of pocket should you fall victim to their charms or stops you going out in the first place. If you have no money, go to the pub and state this. Real friends want you there for your company and I have managed to learn this by doing.
With that in mind take a look at your local supermarkets’ ‘seasonal’ aisle, which is normally topped up with items you never dreamed existed, and consider how many of the things in that aisle you would actually buy if they weren’t related to any particular event. An Easter Egg, for example, is just 100g or so of chocolate that has been moulded in such a way that it could slide out of a giant chocolate chicken with ease if it needed to. Would anyone look at these things if we hadn’t all been brought up to associate Easter Eggs with Easter? “It wouldn’t be Easter without an Easter Egg” I hear you shout. Wouldn’t it? Would we all be dragged into work on single time and be unable to appreciate those around us because we hadn’t bought the equivalent of a single chocolate bar in a box fit for our own heads? Really?
I have three children and a wife which makes this project even harder to take on. I can appreciate an eggless Easter but breaking the news to your heirs is just fuelling the fire for when you get older and it becomes their turn to look after you. After these thoughts it gets much easier to succumb to their outrageous demands. This means all calculations involved are what I would spend on an occasion, not necessarily the cost of taking our tribe out and bankrupting ourselves as we seem to do every week.
As ever no medical practitioners have been consulted during the production of this work and I, an ordinary guy talking about life, cannot take responsibility if you find yourself with massive wallet syndrome, enlarged bank accounts or spare change lying around that causes you to slip and fall. Similarly if you follow the steps within these pages and find yourself no better off I cannot offer myself as a liability sacrifice. Chances are you were either pretty good at this anyway or found another channel for your funds.
As this is an opinion piece there may be anomalies or cultural differences that should be taken into account. In my blog I will include Flora Day as it is a massive occasion and always has been in my life, yet many of you won’t even have heard of it. All will become clear during the May part of the presentation, so it’s likely you’ll also get a small education in Cornish Heritage along with financial planning information. It’s all part of the service.
Wish me luck!
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