This week I have heard several programmes on TV and radio giving tips on how to spend/save money wisely. The trouble is they are all so time consuming.

When did we become so obsessed with money? Was it when the “clever” marketing people started developing ever more complicated ways of extricating as much money as possible from the financially naive?

Once, you decided what to spend your money on and went to the appropriate place to spend it.  

When we wanted to buy a train ticket, we went to the station or the travel agent and bought a single, a day return or period return (returns were always cheaper than two singles, which is logical),  first or third class, and that was that. Now we have to work out whether we save money by buying two singles or one return or even splitting the journey. Is it cheaper to buy months in advance or last minute on a standby!

We bought electricity from the Electric board and gas from the Gas board. Now we are supposed to choose between various tariffs, fixed or floating prices, etc. etc.

We usually banked with either the nearest branch, or the bank our families used. These were run by a Captain Mainwaring type manager, who knew us and the neighbourhood and gave us guidance on decisions. They didn’t try to sell us insurance or other financial products. Unless we were wealthy we usually had a current account and a savings account, which gave us a modest rate of interest, and didn’t vary greatly from one bank to  another and stayed fairly constant.

When we left school we  lived at home with our parents until we  left home,either  to work away or got married. If we went away for further training, we usually lived in accomodation  provided by the training establishment, or in “lodgings”.  I can’t remember any of my year who bought houses or flats before they were in a permanent relationship.

When we went to buy a house we knew that we had to save, at least 10% deposit plus legal fees etc. This was usually done at the Building society from which we hoped to obtain the mortgage. This presumably showed them that we could afford the repayments. It was easier to save the deposit because rents were more reasonable. All the property I rented was owned by the landlord, who did not have to factor in the mortgage repayments into it, just maintenance and a modest return on his investment, after all he still had the increasing value of the property. Now,  since they brought in “buy to let” mortgages, the new breed of landlords expect their tenants to pay their mortgage for them in addition to  the increased value of the property. ( Seems like you can have your cake and eat it too)

 Since I don’t have a degree in accountancy or law, I have to decide whether to spend half my life on the internet searching for the best deals before buying any goods or service, reading every inch of small print, switching banks, fuel suppliers etc. every month, or just being as careful as I can and know that I will probably pay more than I need to and spend my time doing the things I want to do.

I have decided… so I will never be rich in money terms, but I’m sure I will enjoy life more. 🙂

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