The recession has paved the way for the development of defensive measures that will turn your wallet into free money for those who know how to benefit from it. While financiers are bathing in champagne and beautiful people, common mortals are relegated to finding a way out of these tricky times. Curiously, though the recession has affected most businesses, it has also demonstrated humanity’s ability to think outside the box. In the spirit of fighting back, we thought we’d give you a bit of a heads up on some of the ways this is affecting us and how to counter it.
This widely renowned feature of Arab souks is not only reserved for your exotic holidays. Outdoor markets during your weekend shopping? You’ll be surprised how much of a discount merchants are ready to give if only you ask for it and are willing to negotiate. Mysterious “administration fees” upon the signing of a contract whether it’s gym membership or something else? You’ll often be able to get these lifted if you can go about it smartly. Remember, you can always take your business somewhere else, so never feel pressured into a sale and remember you can walk away. Sales reps will often have more room to negotiate than you’d think, a fact which for obvious reasons, isn’t well publicised. Hint, if you’re paying asking price for a car on auto trader, you’re doing it wrong.
Cash versus cards
How often do you go to the supermarket and end up stocking up on unhealthy snacks, unnecessary kitchen gadgets and things you just don’t want? You end up with a hefty bill as well as a cholestorol-inducing pantry. To avoid this, go shopping hungry and only take the cash you’r willing to spend with you. You’ll feel more inspired by the food you see and you’ll have to fit all of your purchases into your budget which can’t be stretched, unlike when you head in with your card.
Keep up with debt!
Interest… It’s a simple word, yet it encompasses so many things that affect your household. The average UK household has £53,706 of debt, most often in mortgages, credit cards and if you’re lucky enough, even a bit of student debt. Hopefully, your household is not struggling too much to pay it off, but if you can afford it, you should raise your repayments as much as possible. Indeed, interest accrues over time, so the faster you pay off that debt, the less it will cost you in the long run. Remember, paying back your balance is honouring an agreement. Paying back interest is akin to throwing money out of the window and this isn’t jack and the beanstalk, and that money isn’t magic beans!!
If you’ve managed to jump through the hoops and get your driving licence, chances are that you own and drive a car. It’s been estimated that running a car in the UK can cost on average £6,000 a year. This figure can vary depending on your motor’s appetite for fuel and your insurance companies take on your appetite for road rage, but it comes down to a hefty figure for your household each month. In order to cut down on that spend, consider the following:
– Pay your insurance yearly instead of monthly, otherwise you’ll often be charged a 15-20% premium for the “privilege.” Don’t buy it directly, use a broker such as a website or someone who specializes in insurance broking.
– Drive more gently. This means letting your car slow down without braking violently and not accelerating madly. You’ll make great savings on your fuel and you’ll give those brake pads a bit of respite.
– Avoid parking your car under the sun. If you can, park your car in the shadows. Even though this is the UK, when the sun is hitting on your car for a few hours, this causes it to heat up and makes petrol evaporate. Save yourself a trip to the station and put your car in the shade.
– Get an auto-savvy friend to teach you some of the basics of car maintenance. You shouldn’t intervene with a loose part in your motor, but simply knowing how to change the oil will save you from the strong markup you get at the garage.
There comes a time when you and your significant other will be drawn to make a purchase that requires an agreement from both parties. This could be a car, a new TV or a kitchen. In all likelihood, you probably won’t reach a consensus that easily. It’s doubtful that once the purchase has been made, you’ll go out and buy a 2nd version so both of you can agree – i’ve tried, and fitting 2 kitchens in one room is definitely not recommended! If you do want to reach an agreement and avoid becoming the mayor of couch city for a month, then your best option during the consideration process is to filter out options that only appeal to one side. Doing this will enable you to drastically minimize buyers remorse on either side and avoid that feeling that you’ve been pressured into something you didn’t want. If in doubt, remember…what a woman wants, she’ll always get…somehow…
Bulk Buy vs love handles
Websites like Groupon leverage the power of bulk-buying to give you great discounts on products and services. However, this approach only works when multiple parties are involved. Let’s take an example involving your children. You want to make them as happy as possible but also take care of your finances. In that case, how did that multipack of crisps work out? Yep, it lasted just the same amount of time but you now have to deal with empty packs strewn all around the house and your kids’ stomach pains. Bulk-buying can come as a real advantage, whether it’s washing liquid or shower gel, but do yourself and your body a favour, don’t stock up on temptation.
You’re making fun of techie fanboys
Back in 2007, the iPhone was a revolution. It brought a modern experience of mobile to mass market and ensured that Apple was a name to reckon with. Fast forward 5 years, and the iPhone 5 is also a revolution. Indeed, released just a year after the 4s, it brings highly futuristic features such as a 4 inch screen, 2 more hours of battery life, and the inability to borrow an iPhone charger from a friend who hasn’t yet upgraded. As much as we’d like to believe this could only be the result of millions of pounds of investment and totally justifies a £500 price tag, it’s also safe to say that you could also go ahead and buy a 4s which has now been discounted as a result of the iPhone 5’s release and still have an award winning piece of technology in your grasp. Don’t always rush for the latest and greatest, these days, technology is moving so fast, it doesn’t have time to leave its predecessors behind so bag a bargain without the price tag.
You’re getting healthier and happier
Research has shown that in harder times, we make better spending decisions. However, this instinctive behavior also leads to increased well-being during a recession. When you’re cutting down on your expenses, a homemade meal is much cheaper and healthier than the afterwork drinks/fast food diet your body thrives upon during peaceful times of economic expansion. While you are exposed to the grand scheme of things and witness the increasing amounts of misery around, your day to day problems start to seem less of an issue as well. Do you really care that your partner brought back decaf instead of real coffee? With penguins dying all around the world, you’re just going to enjoy that coffee and meditate on world peace. You’re also going to be wanting more bang for your buck and to become an increasingly savvy shopper. That’s why you should take a tour around the Buyometric website and treat yourself to something special.
In the mean time, we’ll be in London Bridge working on more ways to cut down your stress everyday. So if you want to send flowers or alternatively just sign up with us, you’ll be doing yourself some good and scoring a place on that tropical island we want to buy but haven’t been able to take care of just yet.