TIGHTENING OUR BELTS – WHAT CAN WE DO WITHOUT?

Friend Bushka’s current post touches on this subject. With the recession biting harder and harder we are all assured that we must tighten our belts. I wonder what that means these days?

Baby boomers like me and those with just a little more maturity will think of the very different childhoods we had when the war was on, or we were on ration cards. I know we’re getting older when we start talking about ‘in my day’ … but it can be an interesting viewpoint for comparison. I got to thinking, what are luxuries (see Bushka’s post) and therefore are not really needed?

Here are some thoughts:

  • we do not need…

    crisps, chocolate, cake, biscuits, alcohol, cigarettes – we don’t even need to go down those aisles in the supermarket

  • magazines and daily newspapers
  • loads of clothes, shoes, handbags
  • masses of make-up, hair products, skin creams
  • expensive cosmetic treatments such as nails and tanning
  • holidays abroad
  • huge flat TV screens, Wii and computer games
  • mobile phones with all the latest apps and games
  • expensive hobbies

Our children and grandchildren don’t need:

  • shedloads of toys
  • crisps, fizzy drinks, sweets etc (see above)
  • expensive trips out
  • designer gear
  • computers, TV and games in their bedrooms
    parents paying through the nose for frequent mobile calls

So what do we and our youngsters need?

  • healthy food – if we want cakes etc then we can bake them
  • exercise – bikes, skipping ropes, walks and footballs still work  – for adults too!
  • outings can be something simple like a trip to the park and a picnic in fine weather
  • a mobile phone is good in this day and age but give the kids sufficient credit to keep parents in touch when the kids are out:  the rest of the time they earn the money to talk to their mates
  • a good night’s sleep – studies show that children getting an extra hour in bed do noticeably better at school
  • board games at home …
    and … 

Our children need time, attention, love, security, encouragement, support, discipline and praise.  We don’t have to tighten our belts to supply all those.  We adults need to relax and unwind – but how can we do that cheaply?   We’d be better off, life would be simpler, kids would be more financially responsible (and so would we) and they would do well at school … or am I living in cloud cuckoo land?  

cloud[1]

What do you think – am I a terminal killjoy?  What would you add – or subtract – and why?

 

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39 thoughts on “TIGHTENING OUR BELTS – WHAT CAN WE DO WITHOUT?

  1. gillyk
    The many people we are criticising are the same as ourselves
    we are in the luxurious position of having more than we need for a very basic way of life which, were we to achieve that level we would then climb higher. each time we purchase an item we begin to worry, insuring it, just in case, this adds up with each item.There is no black and white answer to all this.Life is rather like balancing a pole on the end of a finger; the finger must be constantly on the move.I am a simple man perhaps even a simpleton.

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    1. This is so true, Blckbird … and I am wondering what are the possibilities of our society ever agreeing to any criteria on this or, indeed, on any other matter!

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      1. There is so much we do not know.The arguments between the unions and the government are a case in piont. My belief is that we are witness to charades. I suspect that the government do not know what to do so they keep stirring the pot so that nothing settles Ask yourself about pensions care for the elderly each individual is a separate problem trying to fit them into boxes is perhaps a political solution but none scientific.I was for a while an adviser in a government department . . .it was understood that political considerations came before scientific sense and ofcourse party politics overwhelm all. It all makes for good bar-room chat !

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      2. It certainly does … did you get frustrated with it all? I was reading in the paper of the problem NHS whistle-blowers get into. What are we coming to, that people’s lives are put at risk for the sake of the status quo? Appalling and unethical.

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  2. Hi gyllik,
    and thanks very much for your kind invitation. I do not write much these days as I have a Social Network page to allow me to keep up with friends. Work is taking up a huge section of my week. Please do not be offended but I just cannot put the time in to Blog UK. So I must decline your offer
    Thanks again Denise

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  3. For 2 years before the 11 plus I had to save my pocket money to buy a satchel if I passed.Then I started to save for a fountain pen followed later by a briefcase.What luxury it was to get a university grant.I’ve still got the fountain pen now.The nib is very worn down.i agree with Walrus.why are the lower end being hit whilst the rich are unaffected.Do they want a revolution or what?

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  4. Great post gilly, I agree with your list and most definitely for the youngster to go back to the good old fashioned pocket money which can also grow with jobs done by them. We used to have to clean Dad’s car on a Saturday for a bit of extra pocket money or take the dog for a long walk. Things that you hardly ever see kids doing nowadays. 🙂

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    1. Saturday morning was house-cleaning morning and that’s how my lot earned their pocket money – not that it was lavish, by any manner of means – but at least they got the message that if you wanted something it had to be earned!

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  5. Excellent post….Raises fundamental questions….not merely about… but surely related to…what constitutes ‘Luxury’….and….about ‘Greed’……:roll: ;)xx

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      1. I think such things are influenced by social norms. As in dieting, so in economic changes, it is far better to change one’s style of living than cutting down ‘a little’ on our consumption. Personally, I would never put cigarettes and alcohol in a list of what we don’t need. But I agree that fancy electronic equipment is something we don’t need. We could have our needs satisfied much more modestly. In Cuba, the stopped importing new cars for 40 years, and were able to maintain all systems just by fixing the old cars. Trips abroad are definitely a luxury. I think all of fashion is a luxury. The big problem is with cigarettes and sweets. We have to be careful not to be self-righteous when making laws for others. Excess might be very dangerous for people, but they are dependent on such items.

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      2. Thank you, Shimon, for this comment which is exactly the sort of thing I hoped someone would say! There’s a shading that takes place in these matters, perhaps: things we actually need (for life)and things that are desirable because they make life more enjoyable.

        The implication of my post is that so many people have begun to expect as their right and necessity things which are not so: everyone however will draw the line in different places, and it’s interesting to compare where each person would draw that line, and why.

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  6. I think that you have hit it spot on. I would add one important thing …….. respect! Our Children are, and I should not generalise I suppose, generally encouraged to show lack of it. I am working away from home and I have seen families having a picnic on a municipal bowling green. This bowling green is opposite a new grass court tennis court. An adult was playing football there with his young children whilst people were waiting to play tennis. RESPECT ????? My skin tone is several shades darker than “pink” and I am openly abused in the town where I am working. RESPECT ????
    I like your blogs
    Denise

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    1. Thanks, Buddy. I wonder if respect would return if we and our kids had less and appreciated more what we do have?

      Are you working in Warwick? I know that area well!

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      1. Do you think charity is missing entirely? I know it often is in personal interaction, but I think we’re a generous nation when faced with a needy situation. Interesting comment about hope. Must research that a bit!

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      2. Gillyk

        No, There is plenty of charity in terms of material generosity. I was thinking more of generosity of thought,human relationships and so on. There is much chariable giving in our society but at times charity can be cold.As with many I get a good feeling when buying the Big Issue or donating to worthy causes but being charitable is more to do with attitude. I suppose we get back to buddythecat’s ‘tolerance ‘.As for hope, without hope life is worthless. I am explaining myself poorly . . . .must find a poem !

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      3. Yes, I know what you mean. It’s not only an attitude, it’s a way of life, to my thinking. As for hope – it reminds me of Pandora’s Box.

        I look forward to the poem!

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      4. Just a simple thought gillyk

        The poorest societies are the most generous, materially as well as spiritually.Most elegant solutions are simple.

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      5. This is so true. We used to be embarrassed by the generosity of very poor Nigerians who always gave us a terrific welcome. Made us look niggardly and taught me something important!

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    1. Comments from a couple of my friends, over the teachers’ strike: ‘It wasn’t our country’s public servants who crashed the stock market, wiped out banks, took billions in bonuses and paid no tax.’

      And a reply: ‘What is the moral difference between threatening to strike over a thousand or two a year in personal income and threatening to move one’s business or home to another country because one fears a drop in personal income of a million or two?’

      Nuff sed. Or maybe not.

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      1. Not enough said, I’m afraid. The sooner the millionaires get on with their move away from here, the sooner we can run things for the benefit of the majority, without their greed poisoning everything.

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  7. Good post gilly 🙂 I agree somehow we managed very well on so little in our day so to speak everything was cooked from scratch plus it tasted so much better 😉

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  8. Lol….you know I replied and had the ‘same feeling’

    To many acquire and keep so much and we think is necessary…but that is rubbish.

    Yes I WANT to keep things the family have given me, like bits and bobs…but if once again I could not be home (as I haven’t been for ages) I could manage as I have done.

    Basically….you need a ROOF…..some clothes……cookpot….food…means of making a fire…..AFTER THAT….you are going into ‘luxury mode’

    P xx

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    1. You’ve certainly had to do the thinking, Pauline! Us too – when we went to Romania we gave everything away, because we could not store it – apart from a few books and one or two bits of furniture. Surprising what we can do without, and still enjoy ourselves.

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      1. But, I will tell you, still hard to chuck the things you have not used in gosh knows how long.

        I know I have to….like Becci will have to clear this place one day

        P xx

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      2. Yeah – mind you, I’ve warned my lot, because they dump things here – either you take what’s yours, or you lose it for ever!

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      3. Becci told me to chuck everything, but I couldn’t chuck some things. Like her school shirt autographed by all last day, her teddy inscribed by friends on her 21st. Her 18th and 21st birthday cards….the list goes on.

        P xx

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