I had this horrible dream last night which I’ll blame on the cheese on toast I had yesterday afternoon. I know it’s supposed to be an old wives’ tale about cheese, but I’ve always been able to trace a direct line of causation from strange dreams to the consumption of cheddar, stilton and even just a sprinkling of parmesan on my Bolognese.
Last night I dreamt I was in jail (perhaps this was also symptomatic of watching Vinny Jones in Mean Machine over the weekend – a film about a prison guards v convicts football match). I was sobbing and sobbing because I didn’t know when I would be let out and because of the shame of it all (not to mention being surrounded by four miserable grey walls). And what was I imprisoned for? Crimes against frugality? Well, yes actually. I’d forgotten to return one of my books to the library and they’d, quite literally, thrown the book at me. Oh dear.
I told DJ about my dream this morning and he laughed at me and nearly choked on his toothpaste. The truth is that I am terrible at remembering to return my library books on time and often have to pay fines. Sometimes I feel as though I am single-handedly keeping our local library going, even though I still feel like a naughty school girl whenever I have to do the ‘walk of shame’, as DJ calls it, and visit the librarian’s desk to repay my debts. Last year I even gave up borrowing books for a while and just bought them in charity shops because it worked out cheaper than paying the fines. But recently I’ve been lured back to the library because I love it. And even though we can renew our books online now, I still don’t always remember to do it. It’s like some kind of frugal blind spot.
But now I know I am not alone. According to research by Intune, consumers in their sixties take care over choosing their savings products but can’t be bothered to shop around for utility and insurance providers. Apparently one in five of them don’t bother to check the interest rate on their savings once a year, while 10 per cent never look at it at all. And 19 per cent never review their utility charges. I can sympathise with some of this. After all, I think if I have to sit through another annoying TV advert for a switching website I might scream. But a quarter of those interviewed also didn’t review their finances either, and relied on friends or family members to review financial products for them.
Now, I know that many of you are far shrewder than this, you watch your pennies like a hawk and review your finances regularly. Yet none of us are perfect frugalists, whatever our intentions. What do you find impossible to cut back on, despite your will power or circumstances?
What is your frugal blind spot? What are you unable to stop wasting money on, despite your best intentions? Leave a message and let me know.
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