Monday, 10 August 2009


Leg-Iron writes of his approach to financial matters:

I'm no economist. I hear of theories on other blogs and I can't follow them at all. I have a simplistic view of my own economy. Either I have things, or I don't. Either I have money, or I don't. If I can't afford something, I don't buy it. If it's important to me I'll save up for it but I will not borrow to buy something (except the mortgage. By the time I saved enough to buy a whole house, I'd be dead). Most times, I find I didn't really need the thing I wanted after all. If I had borrowed money to buy it, then realised I didn't need it, I'd be stuck with a useless purchase and a debt on top.
No economist maybe, but sensible nonetheless.

He adds:

Interest rates are low now, so borrowing looks cheap. That will change. And you'll still owe the money.
Horribly true.


  1. It's very true about buying rubbish you don't need. I had a bit of a sort out of my flat recently and found mountains of things I had bought on a whim and had barely used, and a whole stack of expensive clothes I never wear. If you take your eye off the ball it is remarkably easy to fritter away all your money.

    The good news is that if you start to concentrate it is quite easy to reduce your outgoings significantly.

  2. Neither a borrower nor a lender be, as my Grandmother used to say.

    I believe she heard it from some bloke from Stratford.

  3. Blue - I hate clothes shopping. Are you my size by any chance?

    Et tu, Stu? He sounds like a force of conservatism to me.

  4. A few years ago I felt poor in the sense that friends were buying huge plasma TVs, joining expensive gyms and eating out all the time. A friend threw out beautiful baby clothes. I asked if she was going to save some for her grandchildren. She retorted that she would be able to afford new stuff for her grandchildren, putting me firmly in my place! Well, if she is able to, they will not be of the same quality.

    Now I think it is a case of keep one's head down and just to keep going. Saving money is time consuming, but £1 saved today is worth £10 in a decade if you invest wisely. Now did my grandmother say that?

  5. Keeping baby clothes also prompts nice memories when you look at nieces and nephews. Patently junior looked at his cousin a week or two back and commented that he "used to have a jumper like that one" ... we pointed out that his old jumper was *very* like that one indeed.

    No-one would know, looking at the jumper, that it was over ten years old and on its third outing. Replacing things incessantly is simply insane.

  6. We had hand-me-downs and while it used to irk slightly that we never got anything new in retrospect it makes perfect sense. This fashion for gratuitous over-spending is totally ridiculous. There is a weird inverse snobbery about it too - people who are financially confident often don't care that they are wearing Primark whereas people who cannot afford it often wouldn't be seen in anything less than Gucci.


  7. Patently,

    I had a similar experience recently with one of my children. They grow out of clothes so quickly that many things can be reused several times before they look worn out.

    I wonder if Measured's friend is self-righteous about people not recycling other things.

  8. Albert,

    My friend is insecure and always wants to appear better than others. She is very much into recycling now and she makes sure all her friends know that. Given the marketing that constantly surrounds us, I am not surprised many succumb to pressure to buy. Don't you think shopping malls attract the masses just as cathedrals used to?

  9. Measured,

    I'm sorry to hear your friend is insecure - though at least it explains why she put you in your place. That she is insecure fits with Blue Eyes' comment about people's self-confidence.

    I think a lot of marketing is designed to make people feel insecure, which is a terrible way to persuade people to part with their money. I think you're spot on about shopping malls and cathedrals. All of which is sad, because as Blue Eyes has pointed out, much of what we buy doesn't satisfy anyway. Why work so hard, in order to be controlled by others to buy what doesn't make us happy and may make us part of a culture that makes us feel insecure? It's deeply irrational. (Which isn't to say I have a downer on shopping per se of course.)

  10. To quote Dickens, the greatest observer of human nature:

    'Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.'
    -David Copperfield

    explained by

    'We spent as much money as we could, and got as little for it as people could make up their minds to give us. We were always more or less miserable, and most of our acquaintance were in the same condition. There was a gay fiction among us that we were constantly enjoying ourselves, and a skeleton truth that we never did. To the best of my belief, our case was in the last aspect a rather common one.'
    -Great Expectations

    Not much has changed.

  11. Particularly like the Great Expectations quote. It conveys a sense of the almost deliberately self-destructive nature of some human behaviour.

  12. "Horribly true. "

    And yet, there'll be takers for it. There always are...

  13. "Keeping baby clothes also prompts nice memories when you look at nieces and nephews."

    Indeed. And what happened to the custom of the 'family' christening gown, lovingly cherished and preserved for each new addition to the family?

  14. JuliaM, I regret the loss of baptismal gowns too. I think sometimes the reason for their demise is that (for lots of reasons) children are baptised much later these days than before, and so the gowns are often too small.

  15. I went to read Leg Iron's Blog and was rather amused to see that the three ads shown below were displayed by Google at the top of the post about Leg Iron's approach to financial matters. Sums it all up really.

    £8k+ Unsecured Loans.
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    Write Off Debt You Can't Afford.
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    Unsecured Personal Loan.
    Compare & apply online for a personal loan - instant decisions.

    If moneylenders can still afford to advertise, it demonstrates lending money is highly profitable..... assuming bad debts can be kept in check, of course.