Don't spend what you don't have

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

This motto, according to some research by Standard Life, has become the top money saving tactic among the British.

That has now after years and years of utter stupidity of buying on credit and the never never and it was about time that people realized that they cannot spend what they haven't got and that that doing it costs them dearly.

Credit had become, before the financial crisis hit, far too easy to obtain for almost anything and the use of credit cards went through the roof. People were spending as if there was never going to be an end to it.

Then came the credit crunch and the financial crisis and, because of it, the uncertainty of the jobs market, especially in the public sector. And, because of this uncertainty, I am sure, people have finally come back to their senses.

Not spending what one does not have is a common sense approach and I have been raised with this principle that I cannot buy something for which I do not have the money (in the hand or in the bank). We were taught as kids already that we had to save up for things that we wanted and, in all honesty, nothing has changed there, really.

However, the government does not like this approach by the consumers at all and neither, obviously, does business.

Some years ago the governments made noises that they were considering frugal people, those that were refusing to help spend our way out of the recession, as terrorists, undermining the recovery.

According to the research that was carried out for Standard Life 5.3 million additional UK adults have, in the last three years started adopting money saving habits, such as reviewing their utility providers, going online to find the best deals and using online voucher codes to save money. The recent downturn has now encouraged more than nine out of ten (91%) of British to engage in financially efficient behaviours.

But the most popular tactic, adopted by three in five people (57%), is a common sense approach to avoid spending what they don't have and thus not running up a debt on credit and store cards. Around 6.1 million more people are making sure they "don't spend what they don’t have".

It is an approach we all need to look at once again and also at the “if it isn't broken don't fix it” approach, which means that if something is still working perfectly not to go and replace it simply because there is a new model around.

This is often the case with people as regards to cell phones, and especially the likes of PCs and Laptops... Do you rally need the iPad 3 when your iPad 2 is doing perfectly? And the same is true for so many other things also. Many an old PC can be “rescued” by upgrading it with the Linux operating system in the form of, say, Ubuntu Linux.

On top of that, whatever our governments may like to make us believe, we cannot spend our way out of the Great Recession by simply buying and buying.

Instead we must look at preserving our resources in all aspects and adopt a real frugal approach to things.

DIY and Make Do & Mend must be employed for our financial health and the health of the Planet.

Upcycling many an item of packaging and other stuffs can give us the things that we want and need often without having to spend a single cent. And reuse and rework and rebuild also will do this.

Making a bicycle out of a number of “old” ones that have ended up in a skip to build yourself the ultimate one for yourself is not only satisfying; it also saves you a bundle of cash.

© 2012