Friday, 30 November 2007


Yesterday we heard that Headline are going to publish Sheconomics, the book.
We're thrilled to be working with publishers who are so passionate and enthusiastic about getting the Sheconomics message out there. Putting all we know from the worlds of psychology and finance into a fun and funky book just for women is right up our street!
Coming to a bookshop somewhere up your street in January 2009 - we'll keep you posted!
Karen and Simonne

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

I doubled the value of my car this morning – just by filling it up with petrol. I really should heed Simonne’s advice and shop around more. This is what she suggests:
“With petrol prices breaking the £1 threshold at some garages, it’s still possible to buy a litre for under £1 if you know where to look. But you don’t need to rack up the miles to find the best deal – you can do your research from the comfort of your desk by checking out Just type in your postcode to find the garages selling the cheapest petrol in your area. The website also gives you useful information on environmentally friendly and cheaper ways of traveling such as green cars, green fuel, lift sharing and cycling to work schemes.”

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Is having BUY NOTHING DAY (24th Nov) a month before Christmas good timing?
Certainly, if it stops women buying flashing Santa earrings.
I did my own twist on it and had a DO NOTHING DAY, which was very rewarding. I stuck to both BND creeds, i.e. Shop Less and Live More. As we toasted crumpets by the open fire in the darkness of the late afternoon I reflected on how the really good things in life do come free (or in packs of 6 for 49p).
(Also The Times kindly made my rant to the Body and Soul section their Star Letter, so I was in profit with my prize of £50 worth of organic products).
See what others got up to on

Friday, 23 November 2007

I know tons of women swear they owe their youthful looks to Estee Lauder or Crème de la Mer, despite the £100 plus price tags.
So I was shocked to see a pile of these products on a table just before going through security at Luton airport recently. Yes, all these jars of youthful promise had been confiscated.
Couldn’t their owners have force them into a 100ml plastic bottle?
Or found the nerve to swallow them and retrieve them – er, at the other end?
The table was groaning with over a grand’s worth of stuff and I couldn’t help musing about what’s done with it all. Then I noticed that the security staff all had suspiciously smooth and wrinkle-free complexions…..

Thursday, 22 November 2007

From Simonne: Statement sleuth

Know that thrill of finding money down the back of the sofa, or a tenner in a pocket of an old jacket? Scrutinising your own bank statement each month can be just as fruitful! AND it only takes five minutes. You might even discover enough money to pay off your credit card debt.
This is what happened to two of my clients recently. They hadn’t checked their statements in years, but when they did, they each noticed that two direct debits were going out to a utility provider each month, instead of one. Following this up, they were amazed by how much they’d overpaid. One of them got £600 back, and the other received £1,300.
So next time a statement drops through the letterbox, have a good look at it before you file it away – you never know what you might find.
Simonne, Wise Monkey Financial Coaching.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Did you know today is My Budget Day?
An initiative led by insurers AXA is urging employers to give everyone an hour off today to take control of their money. The time people normally spend is an average 22 minutes a month.
Axa lead the way by giving their 12,000 employees an hour every month to review their finances. They reckon it saves people an average of £1,300 a year.
It’s all about giving staff access to financial advice and allowing them to down tools for an hour during the working day – presumably not to nip out to the shops....
More at

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

An estimated 2 million people pay a monthly gym membership fee yet visit less than four times a year!
Today I heard about the Green Gym. It’s a great idea – a charity that gets groups of people together to work on outdoor environmental and conservation projects.
After some warm up exercises, volunteers get stuck in to digging, planting, cutting back or shifting at their own pace. All good muscle-stretching and strength-building stuff - and no need to look ridiculous in lycra or watch yourself in a mirror.
Saving money and saving the environment whilst getting fit sounds like a triple whammy to me. Have a peek at

Monday, 19 November 2007

Talked to a girl yesterday who's in debt but considers spending about £40 a month on her nails as 'money well spent'. Looking good is important to her and to her job. Her nail extensions require about 90 minutes maintenance each month too. She doesn't have time to sort out her finances though - and she's not alone. Apparently people spend on average just 22 minutes a month on money management, it could be less for women.
Surely we're not all too busy spending time on 'nail', 'hair' or 'wardrobe' management'?

Thursday, 15 November 2007

When talking about money lots of women voluntarily mention their relationship with food. Through our survey, women have talked about ‘binge spending’ or having ‘shopping bulimia’. Of course, food and money are both part of the brain’s reward system so perhaps it’s hardly surprising that they’re related. There's also research that shows that women who diet are more likely to make impulse purchases. The scientists say it’s because restricting your food intake uses up all your restraining power, so you’re less able to resist temptation in the shops.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Some wise words from Simonne about Christmas.......

I read today that there are only 43 days until Christmas. How did that happen?
Wasn’t it summer just a couple of weeks ago?

Here are some tips to help you manage your Christmas finances:

* Talk honestly to your kids about what you can afford. It will help
them in the future if they don’t associate Christmas with a huge amount of
* Agree a capped price for presents with your friends and family or
get together in advance and draw a name out of a hat and buy a present for
only that person.
* Make a list of what you need to buy before you go shopping and draw
up a budget.
* Shop gradually over the forthcoming weeks. Don’t leave it until the
last minute.
* Check out offers from online retailers. Do a price comparison by
visiting one of the comparison websites like and consider buying new or used items cheaply through eBay.
* Leave home without your credit cards and take only the amount of
cash you’re planning to spend. Having to use cash will make you think before
you buy something.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Funny how talking about money can bring all kinds of emotions to the surface.

This week I was told a story by a lovely lady who’s been a successful businesswoman and brilliant fundraiser. Yet to get on in life she had to tackle a huge fear of asking for money. The fear stemmed from when, as a young woman, she asked her dad for a small emergency loan. He’d handed over the money - together with a contract for her to sign detailing the terms of repayment and interest rate! She said that for a long while afterwards she avoided all situations that involved asking for money.

Then the anger at the way her father had used his power took hold and she vowed never to feel that way again. She now regularly extracts large sums of money from people for a very worthy cause. A great example of how fear can be deactivated and how we don’t have to be prisoners of our past experiences.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Stories about people who reject consumerism seem to crop up all over the place. The Compact group came from an idea of a bunch of friends at a San Francisco dinner party who vowed not to buy anything new for a year. The idea spread and there are now 3,000 Compact followers across the world, all shopping in second hand shops, sharing their skills and giving creative home-made presents.

Today Penny Hancock of the Independent writes about her one-woman attempt to survive a year without buying clothes. Interestingly, within a month she’d saved £650 and a year on is still looking well-dressed in stuff she’d forgotten she had or has revamped, repaired or even dyed. If she had a hat I’m sure she’d take it off to one of our survey respondents who wrote:

“I certainly do not feel I deprive myself of luxuries or treats. My treats are my trips. I just earn enough to do that and do not want for more. I couldn't care less for designer labels or the latest hi-tech gadgets (what's an iPod?) to 'fit the mould'. I value my uniqueness. Nature is my source of comfort. NOT material goods - never ever ever. If I were to double my income, I'd only give more away... I feel I already have everything I could possibly need with good health and good friends”.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

There are loads of things that make weekends special, i'd count the weekend newspapers among them.
Sometimes I come across things that surprise me (that fact that Ken Dodd has a stalker), whilst other news items verge on the blinking obvious.
This weekend for example we’re told that we eat more chickens than ducks in the UK. Hardly a shocker to anyone who’s observed the notable absence of Kentucky Fried Duck outlets.
Another was the ‘news’ that people in debt often experience stress and worry. Again, not exactly gob-smacking news but serious nonetheless. Being in debt threatens long-term health and relationships.
Vivienne Parry in the Times on Saturday said “Debt is a modern fact of life but to avoid our health being damaged we need to be open and honest about it….[this] will ensure that we get help early and avoid those two fatal mistakes, hoping it will go away if we ignore it and getting into more debt to solve it.” We know this is something women, in particular, struggle with.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Clearly not all women are over-spending. By the year 2020 there will be more female than male millionaires (53% to 47%). So some women are doing all the right things when it comes to money.

For those of us who suspect we won’t be giving the men a run for their money in 2020 and wonder how it’s done, Thomas Stanley’s book. Millionaire Woman Next Door is a gem.

Goals, he says, are all-important. Here’s one question he asked:
Seems a tough one but apparently most of the women millionaires he questioned answered ‘Yes’.