Politicians need to lead by example

Is the MP expense row over, do you think?  I’ve been following it with great interest.  It’s unbelievable to see how many of us are struggling to cope with the recession, being unemployed, trying to just get by, finding ways to save money here and there, while those who are much better off are abusing public money.  It’s no surprise that the public is outraged.  And for some to say that the media has blown it out of proportion is completely unfeeling.

Of course, the well-off are probably not going to care much, but you have over two million unemployed people who are frustrated and they will be extremely upset by the paper’s revelations.  I’m glad the politicians finally realise how shallow they are.  Some of them need to go back to their constituents and learn to live like them.

Mr. Cameron suggests that we enter a new era of thrift.  So, can they lead by example and show us how to save?  The car scrappage scheme won’t work for many of us.  We have our beat up rust-buckets that we can barely maintain with the rising fuel costs.  But it’s better that we pay the fuel only, rather than take on a new car loan when we don’t have a job to pay for the loan.  Please, how else can you help us poor constituents?  You’ll need to be very creative to get our votes in the next election.

Rationing to combat recession

During the war years and the depression, many families learned how to be thrifty. Of course, the government helped by creating a rationing system. Because of the growing recession, some people have advocated that we institute some form of rationing.

I think it might be a good idea, as it will also teach young children about the importance of saving, of making-do rather than buying anything and everything their heart desires. It teaches them to value things. It might also teach them to eat healthier. At school, my kids have learned about war-time rationing and all the posters from WWII. Many of them advocated the importance of nutrition. Yet, they have not taken those lessons to heart because of the society they live in. If they were really hungry and only had vegetables to snack on, rather than all those unhealthy crisps and sweets, they might develop a taste for healthy foods.

But it is not just in food that rationing and the depression mentality would affect. It is also fuel and clothes. Women back then had to mend their own clothes, to keep them as long as they could. Sometimes, they were able to alter them a bit to make them more fashionable. Unfortunately, sewing and mending are somewhat lost arts. And women are not as creative in their fashion style as they used to be. Of course, the styles were simpler back then and I wouldn’t mind returning to them.

The fuel rationing might be rather problematic. Some of us have to travel quite a distance to go to work or school and public transport is not always easily available for these trips. It may be that we would have to live closer to work and/or school, but that is not always possible because housing might not be available, places at school might not be available, and right now, jobs are not readily available.

It would be interesting if the government does introduce some form of rationing to help us combat the recession. It may be another one of those “green” efforts.

Save money or save economy?

It is difficult, as the recession worsens, to find further ways of economising. It is not enough to simply spend less and waste less. Also, It is harder for people to save because interest rates have dropped to practically nothing. So, there is less money, which drives people to want to spend less. However, this becomes a self-defeating cycle. Although this blog is dedicated to encouraging thriftiness, we must be practical in how we go about doing so.

I do not advocate that people go out and spend money they do not have. I would not want anyone to go into debt to rescue the economy. However, I would suggest that those with the money go and spend it wisely. That is the main gist of this blog. If we spend, let’s do it cautiously. The economy is at risk of going into deflation, which would worsen the recession. As prices fall, people tend to hold back and wait for it to fall to the bottom. This can hurt the economy.

If there is a big item you have been waiting for and it is now in your price range, it would be advisable to make the purchase now. This mostly concerns furniture, home repairs, etc. But the same can be applied to cars and houses. We’ve been hearing about the housing slump, but, unfortunately, there is also the difficulty in obtaining a mortgage. If you have the money and there is a house you would like, go for it. But if there is concern that you might not be able to make a mortgage payment, assuming you can get one, then don’t buy the house. Times are uncertain but if your prospects are good, take advantage of the moment. At the same time, don’t allow the economy to worsen because it may affect your chances later.

If deflation occurs, more companies may decide to close, making more people unemployed. The government may be struggling to find a solution to the economic problems, but people (who can afford to) need to take a personal step towards helping get this economy rolling again.