BY ANDREW MCDONALD
A while ago I suggested you acted on what you can control and didn’t fret about what you can’t. When it comes to family budgeting, that’s a more difficult idea to get our heads around, but it is no less actionable.
You can’t influence inflation. Not realistically, anyway. Technically, if everyone stopped buying things, then prices would come down. Good luck with getting the wider public to do that, though. Even if that did happen, we’d suddenly face into the bleakness of a recession, so it’s not the best idea either.
What is firmly within your control is your spending.
There are wacky ideas the extremely frugal have come up with which are perhaps best avoided. Most people don’t pay direct water charges in Ireland. For that reason we can move straight past the toileting motto of bathroom cheapskates. “If it’s brown, flush it down. If it’s yellow, let it mellow.” It might save a few coins on water bills where this vital resource is charged by the litre, but I, myself, can’t see it catching on!
Up there in terms of far out money saving tips is eating roadkill, haggling in supermarkets, and dumpster diving. Leaving them aside, what are ideas most of us can put into practice without going red with embarrassment or feeling nauseous?
If you’re finding rising meat prices a problem, perhaps try less familiar cuts. I was recently in a Brazilian restaurant and saw chicken heart on the menu. Always one to try new foods, I was extremely pleased when I found it was very tasty. So flavourful in fact, I went back the next night and ate the same dish again. Something I never do… and I’m not even a big fan of chicken!!!
In terms of food, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. If your office orders sandwiches for a conference and there are leftovers, why not get a doggy bag? Just be sure to share with others with the same idea!
Shop around. This goes for food but also for anything you want to buy. Few things make me more nostalgic than the theme tune of the sitcom “Bread”. I grew up in North Wales and, being literally on my doorstep, Liverpool was like a second home. The song features the lyric “catchin’ the penny but missin’ the pound”. Despite that, a few saved pence, or cents, here and another couple there, quickly turn into pounds, or, here, Euro.
A way of saving whilst being generous is giving frugal but thoughtful presents. Money is replenishable, time isn’t. So give yours by gifting loved ones coupons they can use to get you to do jobs they hate. They’ll appreciate your effort!
The possibilities don’t stop there. Whilst you can’t stop inflation, you can be inventive and make your own life less stressful financial by buying wisely. And without the embarrassment and sickness caused by umm… let’s say stranger ideas.