Blogger: don’t need to spend to be happy

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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2 Responses to

Blogger: don’t need to spend to be happy

  1. I live in the U.S. and found this blog through a Facebook friend. I sincerely hear you. I declared bankruptcy a couple years ago after my former husband left me…I would say money had a huge part in our problems. I think it’s very important to find a balance with money and if that means scaling back on spending, it is well worth it. As a family, you need to sit down together and come up with ideas and suggestions that are comfortable for everyone to contribute to. If everyone knows how much money is coming in and how much needs to be there to pay for absolute living needs…then it paints the canvas for everyone. Often our children do not understand because they don’t know and it’s a wonderful life lesson. Believe me, I have a 21 year old and we go to Target and she picks out all these “wants” and then because she sees me struggling and being very frugal with buying only what I “need”…she ends up putting things back that she knows were just “wants”. Marketing knows what they are doing and we live in an age of way too much stimulation to buy, buy, buy. We are to think that we all have the money of a celebrity. That we deserve anything because we work hard. I understand that feeling. But once you get in the practice of living with what you have and can afford…no credit cards (I’ve done it for 4 years now)…and giving up other unneccessary things…there comes a time when you CAN afford special needed things on occasion. I find that it is actually fun NOT to be buying and then I treat myself to good healthy fruits and vegetables that I make up into healthy gourmet meals. You find things you can sell that you never use or want anymore. Teaching your children how to do that as well. Setting goals, having fun, finding inexpensive things to do. I don’t own a car and bought a bike 4 years ago. I ride my bike everywhere, even in the winter (unless it’s icy and snowy)…and the benefits are something I never thought I would truly appreciate…but I do now. Take your frustration and intuition to a positive place and give your family a chance to come on board with you. It’s worth it, and the rewards WILL come into view before too long. Trust me. Thank you for the wonderful post.

    Kathleen 23rd March 2012 at 2:47 pm
  2. Goin 2 da pub with no cash? Trying
    2 convince kids that they don’t really want an Easter egg??? Come on! Childhood is 2 short 4 that; ur kids will grow up knowing da value of a few quid but may also feel they don’t deserve 2 feel special
    Or hav problems with self worth. I admire ur attitude in some ways though
    An agree with u generally; money is giving me a wreaked head at the moment; I live in Ireland; most of our wages is taxed to pay the bank dept; we live pay cheque 2 paycheck despite working harder and longer than ever we hae less and less money; we don’t have free health care like the Uk ; constant paying of government charges and taxes like propert tax; universal social charges eyc; but no money put Ono services like health or education; I personally live on an over draught
    I can’t clear; working full time in a professional job and won’t get a holiday dis year and have 2 say no 2 my little boy all the time these days. Saving a few quid on chocolate Wundt make any difference though
    Can’t sleep 2 night over financial
    Problems. I wish u well with urs and I hope I can get more sensible like u. God bless u

    F

    Ashputtle 4th June 2013 at 1:55 am

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