Sunday, 27 January 2008

Talking of mediocrity here’s something that lots of women in our Sheconomics survey have experienced.

Having been seduced by some irresistible object of desire in the shops, on getting it home they've found that in fact it’s merely mediocre. Who hasn’t done that?

One in three women told us they regretted a purchase, and almost a quarter admitted to buying something they would never wear or use, IN THE LAST SEVEN DAYS. Relegate it to some recess in the wardrobe and bring on the guilt and shame, again for a third of the women.

One tip from Sheconomics is to have the item put by for a later date. Then if it was an emotional (or hormonal) purchase you might find the urge to own it was just a passing phase, and your money's still your own.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Never underestimate the dangers of mediocrity, particularly when it’s disguised as something great. A friend sent me Seth Godin’s ‘Curiosity’ talk today where he accuses TV of hoodwinking us into thinking that mediocre things are great. Having eschewed TV four years ago, I could only nod smugly when he said, “The thing the smartest and richest people in the world have done is switched off the television”.
I wonder how long it has to be switched off for before you get smart and rich though…..

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

From Simonne

Do you have a dusty jar of coins sitting in the cupboard? One of my friends hates carrying around weighty change – anything smaller than 50p goes straight in her jar. For years she let one jar fill up, then another, and another. What stopped her from cashing in her growing collection? The hassle of sorting out mountains of coins into those little bags and carrying them to the bank. Little did she know her jars were hiding almost £125.

Technology came to the rescue in the form of an automatic coin sorter in the foyer of her local supermarket. It’s ridiculously quick and easy – you tip the coins into the machine’s hungry mouth and watch the counter whizz up. And who can help but play the ‘guess the final amount’ game while you’re waiting. When the machine has finished counting, out pops a voucher that you redeem for cash at the till – or you have the option of paying your money to charity.

Like making withdrawals from those ‘expensive’ cashpoints, be aware of the cost of the service – in this case 7.5 per cent of the value of your spare change. But that might not be such a big price to pay if it means the difference between paying off only the minimum on your credit card this month, and actually paying off a chunk of your post-Christmas debt.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Hold your nose next time you go shopping!

Psychologists have found that appetite-stimulating smells (that's chocolate, of course) induce people to seek short-term gains on unrelated purchases.

In a Singapore-based study, chocolate-scented candles led to female participants being more likely to make an unplanned purchase of a new sweater, even though they were told they were on a tight budget.

So next time you find yourself in a shop thinking, "Mmmm, that's a nice smell, I think I'll buy a new jumper". don't say I didn't warn you :-)

Thursday, 10 January 2008

How are those resolutions going?
For most people they’ll just be a distant memory by now.
The alcohol abstainers will be too drunk to remember they were going to give it up. And the resolved non-smokers will have had at least one crisis that called for a ciggie.
A friend of Simonne’s came up with a novel concept – instead of resolutions (which hint too much at unresolved past problems) she suggests evolutions. This means concentrating on behaviours that allow her to evolve. Simonne says, with regards to money this might mean setting up a direct debit into a savings account each month, learning about different approaches to managing money or simply checking bank statements online regularly. She feels this approach will lead to more behavioural flexibility, help her develop and won't put a limit on what it's possible to achieve.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

“I owed almost £25,000 on credit cards and my financial advisor warned me that I could lose my home if I did not stop spending”. So says Catherine Hardy in a 2 page article in today’s Telegraph magazine.
And the financial advisor who came to the rescue? Simonne, of course, co-founder of Sheconomics.
Simonne got Catherine to do the unthinkable – buy toiletries and cleaning stuff from the pound shop, ditch insurance policies, cut her food bill from £500 to £350 a month, replace expensive debt with a bank loan and become a compulsive bargain hunter.
Thanks to Simonne, Catherine now describes herself as a fully paid-up ‘frugalette’…’the trendy thing to be’ and declares jubilantly ‘what better way is there to move into the New Year?’

Friday, 4 January 2008

Never buy another diet book! This weekend, and for all next week, the Independent, are giving away a part of The No Diet Diet. It’s the diet based on FIT science and the Do Something Different approach and has nothing whatsoever to do with food.
So, if you’re not out buying a sofa that you don’t need to pay for until 2028, it’s worth picking up a copy every day until Jan 10th. They’re also offering a reader discount of 25% off the on-line programme (

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Debt used to be a dirty word but attitudes to it have certainly shifted over the years. ‘Being in debt during my childhood was a bit like catching the clap’ says Janet Street-Porter in today’s Independent. She contrasts her early years, when debt was something to be avoided, to today’s world where the government expects students to saddle themselves with massive debt and then to spend a decade of their lives paying it off. I don’t have a penchant for revisiting the past but there’s a lot to be said for a return to the debt-avoidance mindset of yesteryear.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

I do like the man who observed that his new year's resolutions always seem to involve getting physically smaller and mentally bigger. But I thought I'd quote Mary Kenny here, since hers is to do with money. She says, "This year I am going to develop a more positive attitude to money. Each morning I will say to myself, 'I should have more money because I deserve it.' I was educated at a convent school where money was regarded as filthy lucre. Many of us are taught to expect little in the way of reward, when we shouldn't. That is why that L'Oreal advert is so popular, the one that says 'You're worth it'"
Hope your new year brings all the rewards you deserve (but, as Mary says, that does involve believing you're worth it!).