Counting The Pennies

The adage featured for today’s FANDANGO’S FEBRUARY EXPRESSIONS is:

A fool and his money are soon parted

hosptMost people are interested in money to some extent. We all need some money. We need some money to afford shelter, food, clothing and perhaps medical costs etc. But people have widely different thoughts on how much money they need to cover the cost of those basic needs.

It is a good thing to have a little extra money so that you can show hospitality to others. That is a wonderful aspect of life. Generosity and hospitality are very desirable qualities and often help forge strong friendships with others. In addition to needs, people have wants, and for some their list of wants is a great deal longer than for others.

hwMy parents have taught me to cultivate qualities such as contentment, modesty, a simple lifestyle, recycling, repairing my belongings etc. That has helped me to live on a very small budget ever since I left home. I find it attractive in others when they live a modest lifestyle. I would recommend judicious use of material things and thoughtful care of one’s possessions.

However, all around us, we see people spending a lot of money on flashy, luxury items. If you could see the area I live in, well the houses, the cars, the pricey boutiques, the fine restaurants…people here seem to have a lot of spare cash! A big name in the music industry moved in to a house just round the corner. The papers said they spent over £15,000,000 on their new pad! Ay karumba! Apparently they have numerous properties all over the world, so they spent £15,000,000 on a spare house!

cousntWhat about the rest of us normal folk who have to check the price of things before we buy them? Well…many of us have had times when we have to watch the pennies carefully and times when we can be a bit more relaxed and have a bit of extra cash to enjoy.

There are three areas that I think can catch “a fool” out. They are:

  • advertising / peer pressure
  • credit / debt
  • get-quick rich schemes / gambling

Friends, colleagues or advertisers may bombard us with subtle or blatant claims that we need a certain product or even a whole way of life. Electronic devices, cars, kitchen cabinets, sportswear, holidays or all sorts of other items. Think of how many times you see or hear commercial adverts, or how many times someone tells you about something they have just spent their money on and recommends the same product to you.

yelwosEven television shows have great power. There was a television drama broadcast here in the UK within the last couple of years. The lead actress was seen in a bright yellow waterproof in the show. Sales of bright yellow waterproofs went through the roof here!

Celebrity endorsements are huge in advertising. Perhaps it is the fool who wants to wear a certain colour because their favourite pop star, sports player or actor is seen wearing it! (Sorry I am still laughing about all the celebrities running around in Sainsburys uniforms!)

codThen there are coffee shops as we know them today. The younger generation might not realize it, but before the television series “Friends”, we did not have coffee shops here in the UK. We had cafes. But after “Friends” became a hit show, Starbucks and all sorts of other coffee chains, with comfy seats and free wifi, sprang up on every high street.

Now, I am not complaining about coffee shops. But the influence from friends, advertisers and entertainment is enormous. A fool may try to keep up with the Jones, the Kardashians and every extra tweak Apple can think of. The fool might not realize that we all have to develop some resistance to the influences around us to spend, spend, spend!

American Express, Cards, CreditWhen I was in my late teens, I began to receive junk mail. Back then some companies would post a credit card out to me with a letter to say that if I wanted it, I just needed to start using the card. I had never asked for or applied for a credit card, they just sent it to me! I understand that financial companies have had to become more responsible in who they offer or extend credit to. Many people have ended up in serious trouble because they have taken on too much debt and have not been able to manage it.

One of my favourite and perhaps one of the wisest nuggets of advice on money ever penned is this one:

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

– Wilkins Micawber (from Charles Dicken’s “David Copperfield“)

hasThis system loves to say “BUY NOW, PAY LATER”…when what they actually should say is, “BUY NOW, PAY MORE LATER”. Often that is what credit involves. Paying extra charges and interest. Your money will go further if you save and then spend, rather than spending and then having to pay extra in interest.

On the subject of debt. People might look as if they are doing well, but appearances can be deceptive. One of our neighbours was in the newspapers recently after being declared bankrupt. The media said our neighbour had £60,000,000 worth of debt and that banks had refused to extend any further credit.

pysaPyramid schemes, timeshares, get rich quick schemes – there have been so many scams! Often the fool falls for them because they get so excited about the idea of huge profits from a relatively small investment. Whereas, the wiser are aware that “IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT USUALLY IS!” What makes people fall for the bait? Could it be a touch of greed? It sometimes seems as if there are bloggers on WordPress who seem to think that blogging is a “get rich quick” scheme. Well, I can’t say anything on that subject, I have never made a penny from blogging.

That brings me to gambling. What is it that attracts people to the notion of suddenly possessing a fortune without having to do any work for it? Could that involve some greed too?

saveMoney is a necessary tool. It is satisfying to go out and work with our own mental or physical abilities and to earn a fair wage. We know that we put time and effort in to earn that money. So we ought to use it wisely. After we have covered our basic needs, we should think about how we can use spare money to show hospitality to others and forge strong friendships. After that, we may find we have wants that will help us to enjoy life.

But don’t be a fool! Let money remain a tool. Do not become a slave to advertising, a slave to debt, or a slave to greed! Be wise! Be practical! Be content and be modest! Love life, love nature and love people. Don’t let money get in the way! The very best things in life are not those that can be bought with money.


This was my response to today’s FANDANGO’S FEBRUARY EXPRESSIONS:


I Want My Spring

Teresa’s prompt today stirred my thoughts of what is to come! I am already excited by the thought of spring being on the doorstep!

For today’s writing prompt, use the image above of a spring wood as the setting for a story, poem, or other creative venture. There are no rules except to enjoy yourself and follow where the prompt leads.

I have been helping out extra during January (and it looks like I will be working a lot of extra hours during February too) at my paid job, because they are very short-staffed. I have mentioned to our manager that I can be flexible on a short term temporary basis, but I am really looking forward to them recruiting a new member of staff. I know they have had interviews and I think there are more lined up. But I hope they have someone by spring time because I do not want to miss out on enjoying spring!

Just at the end of my road lies deep dark woods. Right now they are almost barren, devoid of life and charm. Stiff breezes are clearing away the autumn leaves that have lain upon the ground all these cold grey months.

But there are tiny buds emerging. Signs of life to come are hidden away. Nature is hatching something spectacular – I know it!

I want to be ready to behold the unfolding of spring. I am longing to discover the joys of colour and floral fragrances again. I long to walk in the woodland alongside the scampering rabbits and squirrels. I am craving for the blue skies, the fresh green leaves and the emergence of rainbowed flowers. I am yearning to breathe in spring again and to see the kind of smiles and relief that comes when we know the dark, cold months have been vanquished once again.

Hark! Spring is on the way! A jubilant chorus awaits us! Hold on for these last few bitter grey weeks. They will lose their hold. Spring will reign supreme and launch us into golden summers!

For My First Love

Engagement, Couple, Romance, BikeBee, the creator of The Bee Writes…, is hosting a music festival, which I have to say, is pretty darn tootin cool! Don’t you think! By the looks of things her themes for this month long festival are going to rival Glastonbury!

Today’s theme is:

A love song for your first love

This is Bee’s post for today’s LOVE IS IN DA BLOG Music Festival, where you can find a line up of songs from other blogger’s on today’s theme:

From the age of seventeen to twenty-four, I was courted by James, who everyone called Jamie, who as a kid told everyone his name was Jammy. So, we all called him Jammy. Ahhhh! Young Love! Jammy was great. Although I chose to end our courtship, I still think back very fondly on the memories I have with him. Reminiscing about him, made me think of this song: