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Frank Hovis

Rejecting Austerity

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I was going to bury this at the bottom of the Number Plate thread but thought it deserved its own thread. Anybody else want to own-up to being a born-again consumer?

Maybe people buy them cause they aren't miserable ***** like the OP.

Seriously, if you feel the need to understand why someone spends some of their money on a personalised reg you should get out more. ******* me, this forum is full of the most miserable, self righteous pricks ever.

Which is one of its most positive aspects. I was for a long time very (and very unnecessarily) tight. Shabby clothes, old car, wouldn't buy things, always bought the cheapest option when I did.

Then a few conversations on here about austerity / saving money was like holding a mirror up to myself. Why am I still wearing that shirt which is two sizes too big, has a worn collar, stains, makes me look like a tramp and about two stones heavier then I actually am, and was a hand-me-down from my brother in the first place? Why am I choosing to look like I have been unemployed for the last ten years when it is very much not impressing anyone? Why is my stereo 20 years old and the radio doesn't work on it? Why do I pick up tarnished 1ps in the street? Why am I driving a car that is worth less than most of the lowest paid employees' cars?

So, in a slow and continuing process lasting about 6 months so far I have changed all that. I don't think I will ever have shopping for a hobby but I'm happy to buy things if I want them and know I will enjoy having them. I am off to buy a tape / CD player (yes, still have loads of tapes, and not about to throw them away) this morning from Argos. There was a perfectly good one for £20 or a better and much better looking one for £40. Last year it would have been the £20 one, no question, and now it will be the £40 one. And I will easily get £20 more pleasure out of it.

Thank you HPC! And especially the more austere poters.

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Anybody else want to own-up to being a born-again consumer?

I wouldn't go that far but I'm planning to buy an iPad, which is very out of character. I can (sort of) convince myself that it will be useful in evaluating eBooks, and I can claim it against tax, but for the most part, it will be pure indulgence.

Normally I find it difficult to spend money and I'm not quite sure why.

It's not meanness. I don't mind spending money on other people and I'm always first to buy a round. But for some reason, spending money on myself doesn't come easily to me.

What tends to happen is that I go for a long time without buying much at all, then "splurge" once every couple of years or so (usually on a new main computer).

Why am I choosing to look like I have been unemployed for the last ten years

I'd been unemployed for a few years up until 1997. After a few years in full-time employment, one of my colleagues pointed out that I was still doing my food shopping as if I were unemployed. It took a long time to get out of such firmly entrenched habits.

Even today I tend to potter around my place in worn out clothes that make me look shabbier than a Big Issue seller who's let himself go a bit.

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I'd been unemployed for a few years up until 1997. After a few years in full-time employment, one of my colleagues pointed out that I was still doing my food shopping as if I were unemployed. It took a long time to get out of such firmly entrenched habits.

Even today I tend to potter around my place in worn out clothes that make me look shabbier than a Big Issue seller who's let himself go a bit.

I did actually have you in mind 'Bart', though I remembered you as being a lot less austere than I was (and many people "beat" me hands down).

It's been a long process for me to change and, like you, the origins were in a period of no money. I had pretty much no money until my second year of work - 22 - which is a long and formative time. In that period austerity was the only option so I accommodated it. Far too well.

Many people have this period of no money and on having money to spend react in one of three ways:

Sensible middle ground - the way to go

Continued austerity - it was having no money, rather than no money to buy things, that most mattered so you start storing up as much as you can

Splurge - it was the lack of things that mattered most, so now you can you buy them all

And those patterns of behaviour then rarely change without real effort. I've dragged myself into the sensible middle ground. Decent clothes but no designer labels, decent car but no Porsche. I will still wait at least a year and, if I can, three before buying a house though.

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For years I/we were by most people's standards, massively thrifty. I went through the shared dive 13k 'graduate' job in South East hell so, if I didn't want debt, I had to live super frugal. If I had any consumerist tendencies before I soon forgot about them. Thrift soon becomes habit. It's amazing how, in our throwaway world, you can pick up clothing, furniture, technology, you name it, for free or virtually free.

Now after a while, and a big pot of savings later, there were a few things that I wanted/needed and could afford. After 7 years of not having a car we got one. We had some meals out at unfussy restaurants. We went abroad by plane rather than bus. As we rely so much on computers we have a couple of bought-new Macs. I got a digital SLR camera to replace a film one and some more lenses. I got a nice guitar amp. After years of having a 'granny phone' now have an basic Android phone.

Still, day to day we still don't spend that much at all and still make use of free/almost free sources. I now have most everything I personally need. Might get a new Mac when mine is too slow, perhaps an ereader. But 99% of the stuff I'm supposed to want to buy is meaningless to me - I'm baffled by the typical town centre, now probably replaced by a private megamall, full of complete tat.

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Its true about retained habits and formative periods. I didn't have a 'proper' job until I was 26, and that was 18k a year. Prior to that it had been the glories of the old-school PhD studentship (6.5k a year). Couldn't get credit even if I'd wanted it so the pattern is set there. I've loosened up slightly since but I suppose I'm lucky really in that either I like things that are cheap or never learned to like things that are expensive. It seems a lot of stuff other people get up to just passed me by somehow. If I see a book I want, I can buy it, thats the only real consumerist ambition I had and I've met it. In this area I am a crazy, reckless consumer(!), but when the fog clears and I wake up lying on the bed fully clothed surrounded by Waterstones bags and Amazon boxes, I've spent, what, less than most people spend on a night out. What I've tried to do is to buy quality in things I know I'll use. So, for example, I do have an expensive guitar but its also the last one I'm going to buy. There is no honour in not having nice things. The other thing I don't scrimp on is socialising but again, I don't mix with the kind of people who want champagne at the Ritz, so the pub it is.

I don't really see this stuff as a virtue, its just how I am, it doesn't require any effort so I can't claim credit for it either. But I do know people who want heavy with loans and credit and a lot of it was to do with the circles they found themselves mixing in, particularly with work if it was a kind of macho occupation. There is a perceived pressure for the office junior to live the same kind of life as the office manager. So then its expensive clothes, expensive nights out, expensive car and then you're in all kinds of trouble.

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When you do spend, spend well!

Don't be too tight as we all need a treat occasionally! :blink:

I don't like stuff which half works or trousers with shiny bums!

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Thank you HPC! And especially the more austere poters.

Yep

The certainty amongst a section of the posters on here has convinced me more than anything else that they're displaying essentially religious conviction

Engaging with one or two of them on subjects i know a lot about and they don't has led me to suspect that even on the stuff I don't know much abut they're probably equally unconvincing to those in the know.

It's a very useful site for getting a handle on the basic validity of a range of views.

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With me it is more of spending on experiences rather than on things....I rarely spend/waste money on impulse buying, I try to think about what I need and where I should buy it before I do....I don't mind paying extra for quality, and tend not to buy over complicated things with lots of extras knowing I will never use half of them...will go for simple, strong, well made tried and tested products. ;)

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I hate waste, wastefulness and inefficiency. Generally, spending £20 where £10 will serve the same purpose is, at best, wasteful and, more usually, vanity. That said, I also believe in buying quality if the cost/benefit stacks up.

I probably err to the "tramp" appearance. Until recently, I didn't even own a car and now I do, it's a Fiat Panda. PAs at work drive "better" cars. My jumpers have holes in. But they are top notch lambs wool.

I blame it on having been skint (as in homeless skint) at one point in my life. I now have shedloads of cash but still could never bring myself to "consume".

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Buy seldom and well is a good guide I think. With a lot of items, such as furniture, clothes and hi-fis, for example, buying quality usually means buying products from the UK, made by skilled workers and produced to last - and they can end up being cheaper over the long term. I have a pair of Grenson boots that are about 15 years old and polish up like new.

The rotten heart of the consumerist culture is the constant replacement of tat with newer tat - more rubbish, more resources used, low-paid drone jobs producing them.

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I hate waste, wastefulness and inefficiency. Generally, spending £20 where £10 will serve the same purpose is, at best, wasteful and, more usually, vanity. That said, I also believe in buying quality if the cost/benefit stacks up.

I probably err to the "tramp" appearance. Until recently, I didn't even own a car and now I do, it's a Fiat Panda. PAs at work drive "better" cars. My jumpers have holes in. But they are top notch lambs wool.

I blame it on having been skint (as in homeless skint) at one point in my life. I now have shedloads of cash but still could never bring myself to "consume".

That's where I was a year ago; and had been for a decade. Not easy to get out of it. The number of times I would use the word "vanity" to excuse the shabby state of my clothes or the unfixed scrapes on my car.

I have thrown away a vast amount of stuff and, in the main, haven't replaced it. It was all stuff I neither needed nor wanted and was hoping it would wear out or break so I could throw it away. So I short-circuited the process and just threw it out.

As Mr Pin said I don't anymore like stuff that half-works. When I find a decent Clock Radio with DAB & CD I will be throwing away my current one where the tape hasn't worked for five years.

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:D I've not read that thread but I think Frozen-out has cracked it!

You've only got to read the locked out till 43 thread on the mian board to see what some consider to be "normal". Enjoy it Frank.

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Buy seldom and well is a good guide I think.

Exactly. Buy really well made things that will last forever, you're still actually being tight, just over a longer timeframe. I've just replaced my old Hotpoint washing machine - it had struggled on for 16 years, and I'd had it in pieces all over the kitchen at least three times. It made a god awful racket, and when the controller finally blew it was almost a relief. So I've gone from the ridiculous to the sublime and dropped well over a grand on a Miele. Brilliant thing, the most pleasing bits are the uncanny silence and the LED light that comes in in the drum when you open the door - just like a fridge. Whoo-hoo. That's me done for washing machines, my children will probably inherit the thing, it is built like a tank. In the meantime, the feckless are paying £250 every four years for a heap of crap, so in 20 years or so, I'll be winning!

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Many people have this period of no money and on having money to spend react in one of three ways:

Sensible middle ground - the way to go

Continued austerity - it was having no money, rather than no money to buy things, that most mattered so you start storing up as much as you can

Splurge - it was the lack of things that mattered most, so now you can you buy them all

A guy who did the same job as me and joined only a few months after me in August 1997 took the third option. He immediately bought the same watch that Pierce Brosnan wore in "Goldeneye" (Rolex?). Cost him about a grand. But it was something he'd dearly wanted.

Actually, despite the often rickety state of his finances over the years, he may turn out to have the right approach. There's no way he's going to his grave never having lived.

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I've just replaced my old Hotpoint washing machine - it had struggled on for 16 years, and I'd had it in pieces all over the kitchen at least three times. It made a god awful racket, and when the controller finally blew it was almost a relief.

This summer? Plugged in during a lightning storm? Plug your new Miele in via a surge protector. It may save you money.

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I wasn't anything to do with lighting - it was just mullered, and we'd get random "events" happening, like sitting there running the drain pump for 12 hours....

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IMHO it all depends where you derive your happiness from. If you can only get happiness from buying things and it has become and addiction your buying too much and need austerity. However if you enjoy the little things there is nothing wrong with spending money to make you happy. Money != Happiness, however it can help but it can also destroy, if you know money and happyness are not the same thing, money is more likely to help you be happier...

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Exactly. Buy really well made things that will last forever, you're still actually being tight, just over a longer timeframe. I've just replaced my old Hotpoint washing machine - it had struggled on for 16 years, and I'd had it in pieces all over the kitchen at least three times. It made a god awful racket, and when the controller finally blew it was almost a relief. So I've gone from the ridiculous to the sublime and dropped well over a grand on a Miele. Brilliant thing, the most pleasing bits are the uncanny silence and the LED light that comes in in the drum when you open the door - just like a fridge. Whoo-hoo. That's me done for washing machines, my children will probably inherit the thing, it is built like a tank. In the meantime, the feckless are paying £250 every four years for a heap of crap, so in 20 years or so, I'll be winning!

I get in the shower clothed and wash my clothes as I wash myself - no joke. On the other hand I will happily spend 1000s on hifi equipment.

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Holy Thread Ressurection Batman!

I just wanted to bring this back to the top to admit, neigh, SHOUT from the rooftops...

I spent money on self indulgent holiday and I don't care!

Think of that the next time you're picking up discounted meat-flavoured floor-sweepings from the supermarket you miserable bastards :P

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This is a very interesting thread.

I am in my late 20s and have been part time employed for just over a year now. Before that I had a decent wage for a year, and before that I was a PhD student for four years on a relative pittance compared to London living costs. This has definitely been a formative skint period like the ones others have mentioned. I have learned to make do with just the bare essentials: shabby clothes, cheap (but healthy) food, minimal central heating, cycling and buses. My girlfriend took me to a restaurant for my birthday recently and at first I felt horrified that the mains were over £20 a head, then I felt ashamed that some part of me thinks I am not good enough to eat food like that. Of course I didn't say anything.

At the moment tightness is kind of essential if I am to keep paying my rent and grocery bills, but I hope that when my income and housing situations improve I will learn to relax a little and not just hoard any surplus cash. I like buying gadgets and cycle kit and I enjoy travelling around. I hope not to be too tight when times are better, but I suspect I will always be a bit cautious.

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  • 152 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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