I am reading a book by Judith Levine called 'Not Buying It: my year without shopping'. It gives a fascinating insight into how we are all led to spend money on things we don't actually need. The author decided to try living for a year without spending money on anything other than necessities. Difficult in today's consumer society. The book is American so not everything is relevant in the UK but it still makes interesting reading.
Why do we feel the urge to go out and spend money on things we really truly do not need? A simple example. Where I live there are no coffee shops such as Starbucks or Cafe Nero etc, so I have no temptation to get a takeaway coffee on the way to work, or when I've been out at lunchtime. I am saving myself an absolute fortune! Assuming you might spend £3.00 per day on takeaway coffee - that's £15 per week and assuming you work about 45 weeks each year that's £675 per year. Admittedly if everyone stopped doing this then all the coffee shops might go out of business - but that's another topic entirely, and maybe one for another day.
Again thinking about food and drink and work. If you take yoour own sandwiches from home each day how much money can you not spend? Where I live sandwiches are relatively cheap and £3.50 will probably get you a freshly made sandwich, a cake or yoghurt and a drink. Other areas are more expensive. I mainly keep the wherewithal to make sandwiches in the communal fridge/freezer at work. Loaf of granary bread - £0.59, butter perhaps £0.69 - between them enough for at least two weeks' worth of lunches; cheese, ham etc to put in them - say £1.50 per week; youghurts £0.29 for 4 from Lidl. Then you can have fresh fruit - 6 apples for about £0.50. I have a reasonable lunch each day at work for probably about £3.00 a week.
In case you're wondering about the prices I try and shop at places like Lidl and Aldi. They are at least 30% and frequently 50 - 60% cheaper than Tesco or Sainsbury. Quality is as good if not better than the big ones. As an example. I buy unsalted butter - usually hovering around the £1.00 mark in Sainsbury. Same product - not a recognised brand - £0.69 - in Aldi. Every bit as good as its more expensive cousin.
There are plenty of ways that you can live well without spending a fortune.
Watch this space for further thoughts on the subject
Slogan for today - don't be a sheep - think for yourself!