There is scarcely anything that will drag you down like debt.
Basically there are two ways we can have more cash to spend on the things we really like, want, and desire ~ one is to go out and get more money, earn it, marry it, inherit it, steal it….
The other way to have more cash to spend on the things we really like is to spend less on ‘essentials’ ~ the things we have to buy to survive.
For if we remember our Dickens and what Mr. Micawber said in David Copperfield, happiness lies in spending less than we earn, and unhappiness lies in spending more than we actually have.
There are some tried and tested ways to spend less on the boring essentials. In my quest for minimalistic living, I have personal, (sometimes very bitter), experience of all of these following ideas:
- Live in a smaller place. Smaller homes cost less to buy, attract lower property taxes, and use less utilities; water, gas, electricity.
- If you can, switch your utilities provider to a better and cheaper company. All utilities companies are money-grabbing vultures, but try to choose the best of a bad lot.
- Drive a smaller car. Smaller cars are less expensive to buy and insure, and in general use much less gas than a bigger car with more weight and a bigger engine. If you buy a classic smaller car, as opposed to the latest model, then you won’t even suffer from depreciation.
- Switch your car insurance to a better and cheaper company.
- Learn some DIY skills. You don’t have to use expensive and useless contractors, car mechanics, cleaners, or gardeners. It’s cheaper and better if you do as much as you can for yourself.
- Cut out impulse purchases. On impulse, too many of us buy too much stuff that we don’t actually need, want, or really like. All that stuff clutters up our home and convinces us that we need to move to a bigger place.
- Don’t marry a sexy trophy wife, (or toy boy), who will also want you to move into a bigger place. A trophy wife, (or toy boy), will end up costing you most of your treasure, and you’ll end up with a broken heart.
- Don’t try to buy love. It doesn’t work, it will cost you a fortune, and you’ll end up with a broken heart.
- Control your addictions….. booze, drugs, gambling, pornography, casual sex, smoking….. All of these will all cost you just about everything you have, including your self-respect.
- Resist the urge to have the latest and most expensive technologies. You don’t need a huge TV, costly cable, the newest computer, the best tablet, the most expensive iPhone with the most expensive contract.
- Buy whole foods rather than processed, heavily packaged, and generally bad for you costly crap.
- Buy generic brands. Trust me, I’ve been into factories where the expensive labels and generic brands are actually made on the same production line with exactly the same content. Only the packaging is different.
- If you can, then buy in bulk.
- Stop going out to lunch at work, instead take a packed lunch. Those people you go to lunch with are probably boring and certainly aren’t your real friends anyway. And, if you’re an average guy the women you take to lunch are never going to have sex with you, so you’re wasting your time and money.
- Don’t join a gym. Most of the people who have gym membership never go there. For great exercise take a long walk in the sunshine instead.
- Visit thrift stores, and if you find clothes you like, then save money and buy ‘pre-loved’ stuff.
- Don’t give to a big charity. (Have you any idea how much the bosses of the big charities pay themselves? The average pay across the top 100 charities is more than £250,000 a year, plus huge bonuses.)
- Don’t spend all your time drinking in pubs and bars ~ the booze is expensive there, and nobody in your favourite pub is your real friend anyway.
And finally, don’t spend on borrowed money, especially credit cards which all charge usury rates of interest. Credit cards are NOT money. Really, really, really NEVER use a payday lender, which all charge eye-watering criminal rates of interest.
You can probably think of some other money-saving tips of your own. For a month try making a note of what you actually spend your hard-earned on ~ I guarantee that you will be surprised and shocked. Learn what you actually spend your money on, and then you can start to control your finances.
Some say that money can’t buy happiness. And that a fool and his money are soon parted. All I know is that having money makes misery more bearable.
you can take the idea of living in a tiny home to the extreme…..
Easy Lifestyle Changes Could Save You A Small Fortune.
There some very basic things you can do which, added together, will save you a great deal of money. These changes to the way you live your life are not difficult, they’re not complicated, and they will not take up a lot of your time. In fact, all of these things are what my granny used to call; ‘basic common sense’. Get on with it, smell the roses, save yourself some money, and live a better life.
- Pay off all your credit and store card bills. The average interest rate on credit card debt is around 16%, with some banks charging as much as 79.9% per annum, this is just extortion and usury. Far better to borrow elsewhere, at a cheaper rate, and pay off your plastic.
- Use the internet and find cheaper providers for your gas, electricity, water, mobile phone, (cell phone), land line telephone, internet, cable television, and car insurance. Switch to the cheapest provider because customer service will always suck, no matter who you are with. And, by the way, do you really need all those rubbish TV channels?
- Lower the temperature of your heating, and raise the temperature of your air conditioning by a couple of degrees. We all pay far too much for heating and cooling our homes.
- Lower the temperature at which you wash your clothes. There is a 30C setting on my washing machine, (about 90F), and most of the time that’s what I use. This gets rid of most dirt and stains, but it does not get rid of germs, and it’s not hot enough to get whites clean. So, I still always wash my bed linen and whites at 90C, (about 200F). Mind you, I always use biological washing powder which works well at lower temperatures.
- Always make a shopping list. Far too many people go into a store and come out with a whole bunch of stuff they don’t really want or need, while forgetting the important thing they went in for. Make a shopping list and never, ever make impulse purchases.
- Try own-brand goods. Very often the own-brand products are just as good as the more expensive named-brands. Quite often own-brand products are made in the same factories and on the same production lines as named brands. Stores always try to make you buy the most expensive, premium goods.
- Never buy ‘designer labels’ ~ don’t be a logo whore, and who wants some other guy’s name on their clothes and shoes anyway? It’s pathetic.
- Learn to do DIY. I hate contractors, repair men, decorators, gardeners, with a passion. If it needs doing then 90% of the time I do it myself. Learn to decorate, put up a shelf, fix a leaky tap, (faucet), and save yourself an absolute fortune.
- Make your travel arrangements early and do it on the internet. Always shop around for the cheapest deal. Always pay by credit card. Get a brochure from the travel agent for information and to give you a comparison.
- Learn to drive properly. Almost everyone I know is a crap driver, especially women. Almost everyone I know drives too fast, races between the lights, uses the accelerator hard and the brakes hard, and sits in the wrong gear. Drive a little slower and learn what anticipation means and you will not only use less petrol, (gas), there will be much less wear and tear on your car.
- Don’t always buy the newest, top-of-the-range car. A low mileage used car, or the basic model in the new car range can save you thousands. Remember, the biggest cost of owning a car is depreciation. Most cars will lose between 50% – 60% of their value in the first 3 years. (Just don’t buy an Edsel ~ people will laugh.)
- Walk, don’t drive. If you don’t have far to go and don’t have much to carry, don’t drive, walk instead. That won’t only save you money, walking will do wonders for your health and fitness.
- Give up smoking / vaping. Both will seriously damage your health, both can kill you, and both will cost you a fortune. A pack of 20 cigarettes will cost you about £7 in the UK and about $7 in California, (USA prices vary by state). So, a 10 a day habit will cost you about £1,300 per annum in the UK and $1,300 a year in California ~ a lot of money for a disgusting habit that’s killing you.
- Cut down on your drinking. Too much booze will make you fat, ill, and temporarily or permanently stupid ~ it will eventually kill you. How much booze is too much? If you drink a bottle of wine a night, or 4 bottles of beer, or a quarter of a bottle of spirits, then you are drinking far too much. Decent booze is hellishly expensive.
- STOP GAMBLING. Gambling is exactly the same as throwing your hard-earned money in the trash. Gambling is an addiction, and all gamblers lose heavily over time, always, with no exceptions, (not even the Cincinnati Kid).
- Never, ever, join a gym, and if you have gym membership, then cancel it. Most people with gym memberships don’t go often enough to get their money’s worth. Gyms are poor value for money and bad places for most people to exercise ~ you’re breathing stale air, being made to listen to loud music, and you’re indoors under artificial lights. Nasty. Exercise for free instead.
- Plan ahead and buy stuff in the sales, at discount stores, and in thrift stores.
- Claim all your tax and other benefits. Use the internet at learn what you can really claim.
- Never use pay per view TV or TV services such as Netflix ~ this is just stupid. Do you really need to dumb down so much as to sit in front of the TV, and pay extra for the privilege, over and above whatever stupid cable subscription you are already paying for this crap?
- Never, ever buy extended warranties on things like a car, new washing machine, or television. These warranties are scams, not worth the paper they’re printed on, and cost a fortune.
- Stop buying expensive pre-prepared, ready meals. Learn to cook instead. ‘Ready meals’ are full of unmentionable crap, and are terrible value for money.
Remember, when you want to save money, when you want to stop wasting money, the internet is your friend. You may think you don’t have the time to spend on internet research, trust me, you do have loads of spare time, it’s just that you waste that too. Stop ruining your mind by watching hours of drivel on the TV, stop ruining your health by spending time in your usual sleazy pub / bar, and stop making excuses.
Never, ever, sign anything you don’t understand. Never, ever, trust a salesperson.
THEY HAVE LEARNED NOTHING AND FORGOTTEN NOTHING
After the abdication of Napoleon, Tallyrand was supposed to have coined the above phrase when speaking about the restored Bourbon dynasty to the throne of France. Einstein may have unwittingly borrowed from this when he gave as his definition of insanity as Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. For another example of willful hubristic stupidity to which both quotations could apply you need look no further than the major banks of Europe and North America. The people running these organisations still seem to be completely lacking in ability, common sense, expertise, foresight, honesty and integrity. One major scandal after another appears in the press with such predictable regularity that nobody seems to take much notice any more. And, for a professional banker with 30 years experience, it is as plain as pikestaff what, why, when, how, where, and who went wrong in each and every case.
Bank of America was ordered to refund and pay fines amounting to about $772 million in April of this year because of it’s illegal charging of customers for credit monitoring and credit reporting services that were never delivered. Allegedly, there was an institutional culture of mis-selling in the bank’s telemarketing department, or so says the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
In the UK the Co-op Bank has recently apologised for making a loss of £1.3 billion in 2013. The bank has also said that it does not expect to make a profit in 2014 and 2015. There is a strong argument for renaming this bank, as it is no longer a co-operative organisation, having already sold out to US hedge funds to plug a £1.5 billion hole in its balance sheet. Another £400 million is now required. The Co-operative Group is no longer the bank’s parent, and any claims the bank ever had to being an ethical organisation have vanished like smoke in the wind. The bank has admitted that these losses are due to ‘past misconduct and poor documentation.’ This is a supposedly ethical bank which has to pay £103 million compensation to customers for mis-selling Payment Protection Insurance, and another £114 million for overcharging on mortgage payments. The disgraced Paul Flowers, a drug addict who is also addicted to casual homosexual relations, had no abilities or experience to qualify his appointment as Chairman of the Co-op Bank. If nothing else that appointment says a lot about how badly this bank was run. I see no immediate signs of improvement.
Credit Suisse has pleaded guilty in US courts to criminal charges related to helping Americans evade taxes. The giant Swiss bank will pay a fine of some $2.5 billion. Eric Holder, US attorney general stated that hundreds of Credit Suisse employees, ‘conspired to help tax cheats dodge US taxes.’ If I were one of those Credit Suisse employees I would not plan on visiting the USA any time soon. This is not the first example of Bankers forgetting that they are not above the law.
Deutsche Bank is looking for 8 billion Euro, mostly from Qatar, and mostly to help the German bank pay fines, compensation and the cost of properly meeting regulatory requirements in its Investment Banking arm. Deutsche is another bank facing a shareholders’ revolt over plans to boost executive bonuses.
Standard Chartered has just suffered a shareholder rebellion at its Annual General Meeting. There was a 41% vote against its pay policy, the over-large number of executive directors on the board, the soft targets for top executives, high bonuses and a profit warning. Standard Chartered was recently fined £415 million for breaching US sanctions against Iran.
BNP Parisbas is currently trying to agree a $3 billion plea-bargain with the New York Department of Financial Services to resolve investigations into allegations that the French Bank violated US sanctions against Iran and Sudan, among other countries. Again, these are criminal charges. Employees concerned will be lucky if the worst they can expect is the sack.
British banks are facing an increasing number of complaints about fee-paying packaged accounts. Customers are paying up to £300 a year for supposed benefits they didn’t know existed or didn’t ever want. As banks see these packaged accounts as their new nice little earner, they are routinely rejecting customer complains, meaning the UK Financial Ombudsman’s disputes arbitration service becomes involved. Some 78% of referred complaints are upheld after initial rejection by the bank concerned. Some critics have said that this shows banks have a ‘rotten culture’ and that they have learned nothing from previous mis-selling scandals. As there are some 9 million packaged accounts already in use, we can expect the banks to be hit with another serious of massive fines for mis-selling in due course. British Banks have set targets for the number of these accounts sold by their retail staff, so expect customers to continue to be pressured into taking one of these useless products.
In 2013 Britain’s four largest banks; Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland were between them forced to set aside £21.5 billion to cover fines and compensation to customers. This is in addition to a total of about £25 billion incurred by these banks since the financial crash of 2008, in relation to meeting the costs of financial misconduct, including rigging the LIBOR market.
It’s not just in the major centres that bankers seem to have been making one monumentally incorrect decision after another. In Hungary, the banking sector faces costs of billions of florints to unwind the ‘foreign currency mortgages’ scandal. Anyone who thinks that borrowing in a currency where you have no income stream is a good idea should be locked up, bankers especially.
All of the above cautionary tales have some common causes. Monumental hubris and a complete lack of relevant banking expertise by the directors and management concerned at each bank. Worse than that, even a cursory look at the facts of each case shows a surprising reluctance to face the brutal truth by the people concerned.
Sadly, it is not only banks that seem to have an insidious culture of sticking the corporate head in the sand. Companies as diverse as BP, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, Pfizer and UBS have been hit with huge corporate fines in recent years. Often these fines are the result of mis-selling. You tell me why BP has recently been fined $34 billion.
The hard truth is; Any new or revamped product offered by a bank should be treated with the utmost suspicion. If your bank gives you any hassle, find another bank. George Bailey must be turning in his grave.