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Has the recession changed the way you think about money?

(40 Posts)
boudoirbabe Fri 25-Nov-11 11:32:05

I saw something today about family spending going down for the first time in a decade. I'm aware of becoming more careful and I wondered if other people were, too?

Mishap Fri 25-Nov-11 11:44:20

We always were careful with money, as most of our post-war generation are.

The main impact of the recession is that our small amount of savings is earning very little for us - in some ways it is a good thing, as I do not feel I have to mess about finding good deals for places to invest it - they are all hopeless. We have it in an online saver account and I just move it every 12 months to take advantage of the bonuses. One place for the money, one form to send to the tax people - makes life easier.

Carol Fri 25-Nov-11 11:45:04

Yes, I'm being more careful with petrol, and shop around more, visiting Aldi for store cupboard tins and jars, making my own bread, using the slow cooker more and looking for Christmas bargains. My spending had increased by £40 a week, so I'm trimming it down where I can (live alone).

Butternut Fri 25-Nov-11 12:06:44

Definitely very careful, as we're both retired (and did so early) - yet it is not a problem as I have always home-cooked, and had the best teacher - my Mum - who could feed us all out of thin air. I am naturally inclined to watch my pennies anyway, so don't find it difficult to have to cut down a bit. We are watching the petrol, as living in such a remote area, there's a lot of travelling involved. However, the upside is that there is very little to be tempted with.
Living as we do is a life-style choice; completely dropped out of the rat-race and we don't have any regrets.

As I have family abroad, I'm ALWAYS saving to travel - and that's simply a pleasure.

I would love to have an Aga, but that is quite out of the question , so I am hoping to buy a 'poor man's Aga' - a slow cooker!

supernana Fri 25-Nov-11 12:49:27

Without a doubt, we as a retired couple on fixed pensions, have to forego many "simple" pleasures that we had hoped we might be able to enjoy in retirement. We no longer have proper holidays. The last four day break on Mull was taken over four years ago. We no longer hop into the car and travel a few miles for walks that we particularly enjoy - or have lunch [toasties and a slice of cake] at the nearby garden centre - or the luxury of bitter dark chocolate. The weekly trips for the Friday hair-do, finished 18 months ago. I sell clothing on eBay, and with the proceeds we're able to make occasional trips to visit family [a treat that I shall never forego]...and, of course, the time WILL come when we shall need to sell our wee home for an even weenier abode. We have much to be grateful for [no debts] and have positive thoughts on how to cope with a variety of on-going setbacks.

Butternut Fri 25-Nov-11 13:06:06

Supernana - you hit the nail on the head when you said there's 'so much to be grateful for and no debts'. I agree that positive coping strategies help, too. smile

supernana Fri 25-Nov-11 13:43:58

Butternut You may like the following -

Sir John Mortimer in his own words...

'The meaningful and rewarding moments aren't waiting for us beyond the grave, or to be found on distant battlefields where history's made. They can happen quite unexpectedly, in a garden perhaps, or walking through a beech wood in the middle of the afternoon. If we are to have religion, it should be one that recognises the true importance of a single moment in time, the instant when you are fully and completely alive.'

So, even though we may be short of funds, we can still appreciate the simplest of pleasures.

The sun has just broken through what was, only moments ago, a leaden sky. The islands that were tucked behind a sheet of rain, are bright and beautiful. The ferry is on it's way to Islay. The feral cat is dozing in his "apartment" keeping one eye on the door - just in case I appear with a tasty treat [AGAIN!]

greenmossgiel Fri 25-Nov-11 14:06:17

I've always been very careful and like most of us, can make a meal more or less out of thin air. I always cook from scratch using cheap cuts in the slow cooker (chicken thighs, shin of beef etc). I bake my own cakes - for DH - not for me, of course grin - and shop at Aldi more or less all the time, or get a free home delivery from Iceland. We got rid of our car about 2 months ago, and I thought I wouldn't be able to manage the shopping, but have discovered that we can catch a bus at the end of our road which takes us close to Aldi, and if we just take a small trolley we can easily carry the shopping between us and be back home within the hour! We have no debts either, and I agree, we really do have so much to be grateful for. smile

supernana Fri 25-Nov-11 14:09:04

green ...Oh yes - the car will have to go before too long. smile

Butternut Fri 25-Nov-11 14:36:41

Yes, I did like it, supernana, very much. Thanks.

Greatnan Sat 26-Nov-11 09:12:03

Oddly enough, I am slightly better off this month as my three UK government pensions (retirement, Teachers' and Civil Service) have to be converted to euros and the pound has actually strengthened a little this week. Of course, when I came to France in 2002 I was getting €1.66 to the £, and now it is €1.16.
Almost half my income goes on travel - I have no mortgage or debts and very low outgoings on my little flat.
With ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, I have had to limit gifts to those who are not working.
I don't smoke, rarely eat out (except when travelling, of course), don't buy cosmetics, visit the hairdresser only twice a year, don't buy new clothes, and drink a couple of bottles of wine a week. I have also discovered the joys of the slow cooker, but I am happy to have beans or cheese or sardines on toast for a meal. Fresh fruit is probably my biggest expense on food.
I put some money on deposit each month to cover emergencies - I had to use it twice this week, as my fridge packed up and I needed four new tyres.

When my daughter was almost killed in a botched operation in 2003, she lost her business , leaving her deeply in debt, and would have lost her home - she is divorced with four children. I sold my house in France and lent her all the proceeds and also borrowed on my own credit cards to keep her going. I had to rent in France, which cost me twice as much as my tiny mortgage, and had to meet the monthly repayments on the credit cards. As well as being wracked with anxiety about her continuing ill health, depression, PTSD, and dependence on codeine, I lay awake night after night with my thoughts just going round in circles, wondering how I could manage. It took seven years for the Medical Defence Union to agree an out of court settlement but she was finally able to repay me last year. I lost about £18,000 on rent and £10,000 on the drop in the exchange rate. I haven't asked her to repay any of that, just the actual amount I lent her.
However, I feel happy that she has been able to stay in her own home and help her adult children, and I feel very lucky that I can now get back my own life and enjoy my retirement.

Annobel Sat 26-Nov-11 09:43:24

Greatnan, I almost wept reading your post. What a terribly anxious time you and you poor daughter had. I'm so glad that you are now free to enjoy your retirement. Your family are very lucky to have you. thanks

bagitha Sat 26-Nov-11 10:05:42

You are a strong woman, greatnan, and your daughter was lucky you were able to help her in her hour of need. I hope you can enjoy the rest of your retirement peacefully and that your daughter is now secure and happy. xx

Carol Sat 26-Nov-11 10:06:40

Does put everything into perspective, doesn't it? Material things don't matter in the end, and your enjoyment of your family and retirement years are so much more cherished after experiences like that thanks

supernana Sat 26-Nov-11 11:54:02

Greatnan You are deserving of an armful of good-tidings. Hugs from Scotland. xxx

greenmossgiel Sat 26-Nov-11 12:59:31

Here's a bundle of hugs from the other side of Scotland too, Greatnan. What awful experiences. Very best wishes for a lovely Christmas with your family. thanks

glammanana Sat 26-Nov-11 13:54:39

(((huggies))) coming to you from The Wirral Greatnan you deserve them you are a superstar.

Butternut Sat 26-Nov-11 14:08:45

"Women Hold Up Half the Sky", as Mao Tse-Tung once said.....

greatnan - I think you've been holding up more than your fair share recently, so I am pleased to read you're going to have a marvellous time in NZ with your family at Christmas.

Greatnan Sat 26-Nov-11 16:37:02

Thank you all - of course I only did what any mother would do for her child, but it is nice to be praised for it!
My daughter's sanity was saved by the birth of her first grand-daughter. When we knew my DGD was pregnant it seemed just one more disaster but it has turned out wonderfully well
They now have a second lovely little girl and are saving hard to get married, which seems to be the way things are done today. My DD had to make a huge effort to get up, bathed and dressed and drive over to see her daughter and then to be cheerful around the children. Sometimes, if you have to pretend to be happy, you find it is becoming true.

grannyactivist Sat 26-Nov-11 16:47:45

Greatnan it would be lovely to agree that you 'only did what any mother would do', but actually you don't have to go further than GN to discover there are many mothers out there who would NOT have done what you did. I am sure that you had pleasure from helping out, but that's not to underestimate the cost. (And I don't mean the purely financial cost; the sleepless night's mentioned and the anxiety.......) your daughter has justifiable cause to be proud of her lovely mother. You deserve thanks.

Greatnan Sat 26-Nov-11 18:03:16

It made a lot more sense for me to go into rented accommodation than my daughter and her family. I was very happy in my little house in the Pyrenees (I like mountains!) but after all it was just a house and I have lived in many, many houses. It had two bedrooms, a good sized garden and a little pool, and I couldn't afford to buy anything similar because of the drop in the value of the pound. However, my one-bedroomed flat is very cosy, with a fabulous view from the balcony, and it would be difficult to maintain the garden and pool now I spend two months a year with my other daughter in New Zealand.
I am a great believer in wanting what you get, rather than getting what you want, and I have no regrets at all.

Seventimesfive Sat 26-Nov-11 18:09:15

Greatnan. You deserve every moment of a very happy retirement. What a great Mum you are! Enjoy your Xmas in NZ! Here's to you! wine wine

Ariadne Sat 26-Nov-11 18:19:53

Dear, wise Greatnan. Thank you.

Greatnan Sat 26-Nov-11 18:21:57

Cheers! There will be a bottle of champagne chilling when I arrive, flowers in my bedroom and a special 'welcome' meal. New Zealand wine is very palatable!

Annobel Sat 26-Nov-11 19:01:56

Enjoy your champagne, Greatnan - the NZ version is as good as many of the French ones. NZ wine is more than palatable! A lot of it is as good as it gets. The Pinots are specially good. I was going to say I envy you, but no. I can't envy someone who so deserves to have a lovely Christmas with her family. thanks