What’s Your Frugal Blind Spot?

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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6 Responses to What’s Your Frugal Blind Spot?

  1. Kerri says:

    I must confess Sky TV is my nemesis. Despite the fact my Sky+ is full of movies I have recorded and not watched, and I never view the Kids channels (well ok, perhaps if Dumbo is on!) I never seem able to take the step to cancel the packages I don\’t use. I look every now and again but never seem to take the plunge to cut the channels I don\’t use – my excuse being, it will only save me about £20 a year….. but £20 is £20…. hmm, perhaps I need to rethink this one!

  2. Christine says:

    For the last two years I have been carrying a mobile telephone that was so rarely used as to be a waste of space in the handbag but which was being paid for by direct debit. Eventually at the end of March I bit the bullet and cancelled the connection completely. I\’d had a mobile telephone for work purposes for many years and never even stopped to consider that it was neither use nor ornament when I retired. Until it seemed that I could use the money better elsewhere.

  3. Christine says:

    And the cost of the direct debit totalled £180 a year which is more than a week\’s income for me! Hmm – definitely a frugal blind spot.

  4. Rik says:

    I\’ve managed to get rid of pretty much all of my personal frugal blindspots, (not always through choice). The main one from a family point of view though, is the horse. He\’s my step daughters dream and also having a horse mad partner, he contributes to keeping them sane after putting up with me. Actually I know people who spend more on smoking a week (or even drinking in one night!) than he costs to keep so he\’s a much healthier "habit" than lots of vices, apart from being useful in helping Beth learn about animals in general as she\’s decided she\’s going to be a vet one day!

  5. AK says:

    Food and video games. lol

  6. Jo says:

    I think sometimes you concentrate so hard on finding a deal on one thing that you completely forget about another…..for example, by the time I\’ve finished my working week I am more than happy to shell out £10 on beers to drink and party in the house with friends, however I wouldn\’t dream of paying the same amount on a joint of beef to roast on Sunday!

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