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Saving Money

Page 1: Living: No More Luxuries.

(Survival tactics)

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Backs Against the Wall

A recommended MoneySurgery patented philosophy is to think in terms of SURVIVAL. Every opportunity to save and make money must be exploited. Every molecule of your intellect has to be used to win this battle. This war against the evil that is DEBT. YOU are in charge. YOU decide where your own money goes. Wherever your money goes you must have something to show for it. That means getting tough and avoiding the traps, or trappings, of luxury. Laugh in the face of charge cards and credit cards (gold, platinum or myrhh). Refuse all invitations to Double-your-Discount at out-of-town furniture palaces. Excuse yourself from bingo and nightclubs and restaurants and healthclubs. Tell them you're working out at the new wealthclub. Satellite TV is not to be. And as for travelling when you don't even NEED to, well...

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Spending Snapshot

(Friday 25th January 2002 news story)

A recent survey of lifestyles and consumer spending published by Mintel yesterday has revealed how we spend our money, like a snapshot profile of the average Briton. The results were interesting. So does the following ring any bells with you?

Apparently, people are spending more on wine, spirits and convenience foods than ever, and to counteract the ill effects of their intensive lifestyle they buy a record number of beauty products, vitamin pills and over the counter medicines. Personal disposable income has risen by 30% in real terms over the past 10 years, but the average debt for every man, woman and child is now £11,830. Personal debt rose to £720bn in 2001, encouraged by low and stable interest rates. Nearly a third of people are concerned about their financial situation. But two thirds were either happy about it or had not thought about how their circumstances might be affected by the global economy. There has been a 24% drop since 1992 in the number of adults who would save money in a bank or building society when they felt financially confident. Instead, the trend over the past 10 years has been to spend more on ourselves. Conversely, there are also signs of prudence with spending on financial services is growing fastest, as people invest in life insurance and personal pensions.

The number of older men is growing relative to the number of older women, as the life expectancy gap between the sexes narrows. The next decade will see fewer single old women and more old couples, who are likely to spend more on leisure and travel together. The next five years will also see a growth of 3% in the number of 15 to 34 year olds with out dependants, who as first-time buyers of houses and services will stimulate growth. Predicted spending by these two groups makes Mintel bullish about the economy generally.

The size of the average household is still falling, as divorce rates rise, down to 2.23 people from 2.65 people 10 years ago. More than half of households now have a computer, compared with under one in three in 1995. The value of the mobile phone market has increased by a whopping 439% in the past five years, and is now close to saturation point. Spending on home furnishings has risen by 19% over the past 10 years to £10.3bn in 2001, stimulated by the popularity of TV decorating programmes. And as people stay home to enjoy the results, drinking and entertaining at home are on the increase.

Consumption of wine at home was up a massive 47% last year against five years ago. Consumption of spirits, which declined by 9% between 1991 and 1996, has grown by over 20% in the past five years as flavoured mixed drinks have become fashionable among younger groups.

People are also spending more to buy time. Spending on domestic and garden help has grown 88% in five years at current prices to £4.9bn, while the convenience meal market has grown 41% in real terms over 10 years. A fifth of adults rarely sit down for a meal. Men's spending on toiletries was 21% up in real terms in 2001, compared with five years ago while women's toiletry expenditure was only slightly up. Mintel interviewed 2,000 adults immediately after the events of September 11 and again last November.

The Rise of Demon Debt

(Thursday 15th November 2001 news story)

We have collectively amassed more than £700 Billion of debt for the first time in the UK. A shock new report shows that the average non-mortgage debt is at over £5,000 per household. In other words, if one household has £5,000 in savings, the next has £15,000 in debts.

The Trading Standards Institute and the Office of Fair Trading have been so alarmed that they have dedicated their annual National Consumer Week to controlling debt. The campaign, which was launched earlier this week, urges people to think carefully before borrowing money or buying on credit and to shop around for the best deal. They also suggest that people seek good, impartial advice if already in debt. MoneySurgery applauds this promotion.

Unfortunately, people with debt problems can't be changed. They have to recognise the probem and want to change themselves. Simply consolidating numerous credit card debts into a single monthly loan payment can be a good idea but if we still carry on using the cards and mounting up the debts again,the situation becomes worse. This time of the year is also a time when many people struggle with debts. The average consumer spend on Christmas festivities is likely to be over £600 for the first time this year. Analyse your own situation and if you have debts that you want to eliminate, get wise, get informed and take control by adapting your own lifestyle to your income and your debt burden. Get into intensive care with MoneySurgery and our programme of discipline.

Our phrase of the week is, "Debt free". Repeat it every half-hour. It sounds wonderful. "Debt free, debt free". It's easier said with a smile. Try it.

Remember patients: Keep it tight. Spend wisely. Maximise the money potential you have to set the maximum aside to reduce your debts. A happy Christmas is a "Debt free" Christmas and shopping sucks.

Defiance versus Recession

(Sunday 16th September 2001 news story)

Tomorrow sees the re-opening of Wall Street and the US stockmarket after the terrorist attack last Tuesday. Share prices have been tipped to move higher initially, in defiance of the terrorists attempts to wreck the world economy with many determined to demonstrate a "business as usual" attitude. The insurance and travel sectors seem likeliest to suffer most as a result of the attack.

Long term the impact of Tuesdays events could be more negative. The United States economy was already desperately trying to avoid the slide into recession. Now with the heart of the US and world economy physically ripped out, recession seems inevitable, not only because of the physical cost but, to a larger extent, the traumatic impact on consumer confidence amid fears for the future and an impending middle east conflict.

The future cannot be foretold, not even by Nostradamus. Events can occur that sweep us all off our feet that we can have no control over. It is important that we continue to live, work and travel in defiance of terrorism but it is equally important to reduce our debts and build up an emergency cash reserve. Control as much of the future as possible by being financially prepared.

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Saving Money: Switched on ways to keep hold of your precious cash.
Getting Money: Clever, barely legal ways of getting money.
How a house, open a bank account...
Future Dreams: Planning, after your debts have been eliminated.
Financial X-Ray: Let the nice doctors at Money Surgery X-ray your wallet.
Money News: The latest from the world of personal finance.
The best interest rates for saving and borrowing.
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