Towards the end of this life, Ebenezer Scrooge turned over a new leaf. He became a beacon; a shining example of the love a man has to give. It’s a nice end to the story of the harsh realities of life in Victorian England but, before seeing the light, Scrooge was a cruel man.
Much as we like a story with a happy ending, right now we don’t really care for Mr Nice Guy! Today, we’re going to look at some of the more controversial money saving tips that could have come from the pages of Scrooge’s big book of misery!
Leaving Pet Care To Charity
Who needs a pet? Dirty creatures! They make a mess, they poo everywhere and, in return, they expect you to fork out money to feed them. In Scrooges eyes, the only redeeming factor our furry friends have is that they can a very effective chimney sweep. All you need to do is find a suitable place to insert the pole.
Great Britain has long been described as a nation of pet lovers but times, they are a changing. Forget downsizing your home – some of Scrooge’s students are downsizing their pets.
On average, dogs will cost you, on average, £150 per year to feed. Cats can cost even more: up to £500! Hamsters will cost you a piffling £90. With those figures in mind, is it any wonder the kennels and catteries are packed full of the unwanted?
Missing Out On The Joys Of Stroppy Children
Childhood should be full of misery! Speak only when spoken to. Expect to beaten for the most minor of misdemeanours! The Victorian’s built an Empire based on democracy, free speech and nicking African gold. Who can blame them with misers like Scrooge tainting the young minds of those who would go on to carve out that very same Empire.
To have children or not to have children? To suffer from the terrible affliction of stretch marks or not? To have to give up at least part of my social life to care for a child? Decisions, decisions!
Those comments may seem harsh but, in some cases, they are a real reflection of the questions some people ask themselves in the modern era. But it’s not just about ‘me time’ – children cost money; an awful lot of money. The first 18 years of their lives will cost you up to £218,000 (according to the Guardian.
Fact: not having children will save you a lot of money in the long run but do you know what you’re missing?
Avoiding The University Debt Trap
In the world of Mr Scrooge, you don’t need much of an education. In fact, you only need to be able to add two beans and two beans and come out with and the correct answer (by the way, the correct answer isn’t ‘some beans’). As Scrooge would say, if you can’t afford it you shouldn’t be doing it.
I will always argue that education is a key ingredient to making a success of your life. What I, and many others now shunning further education, would say is that it doesn’t need to come with a huge financial price tag.
To get on in life you will need to be educated but you don’t need to £30,000 for a piece of paper. Prime examples of so called ‘drop out’s who made it big include: Simon Nixon, founder of Moneysupermarket and Bill Gates of Microsoft.
Fact: The new rules brought in by Vince ‘I’m not sure of my own policies’ Cable have ensured that the average student debt will be about £30,000 by the end of their time at university. Bonus!!
Forget Owning Your Own Home
Scrooge’s home is his castle but yours isn’t. 150 years ago, the house you live in now would probably have been rented from the likes of Scrooge. One day late with your rent and you’re out. A penny short on your rent and you’re out. In fact, look at the miser the wrong way and you’d be out on your ear.
But maybe he had a point. Why go through life paying over the odds for a house that will drop in value just before you retire? 25 years of paying for a mortgage only to see the value of your home decimated in the next house price crash. If that’s want you want then have it.
House rental is on the up. Fewer people are taking mortgages. Whilst many people still aspire to owning their own home (68% of UK households own their own homes) the government figures show a trend towards rental as the preferred option. Being able to quickly shift from one area of the country to another is key, especially in the fast paced jobs market.
But it’s not just about jobs. When you rent a house, the burden for repairs and maintenance fails on the landlord. Rental prices will take these factors into consideration but it’s still cheaper than having to pay for it yourself.
Eating Out Of Bins
In 2011, Kath Kelly took part in a challenge to see if she could keep herself fed for £1 per day. During the course of the documentary, we saw the plucky connoisseur of moulds and fungus rooting through bins and eating bruised and battered fruit. “What’s wrong with that?” asks Scrooge, “There’s plenty of goodness left in those boiled chicken bones. All you need to do is suck out the marrow!”
A new cult has sprung up from the ashes of our excesses: the freegan’s. Followers of the freegan’s way of life work towards getting as much free food as possible. Admittedly, it’s not only food they ‘recycle’. Bottles, plastics, clothes… you name it and they’ll find a new use for it. There might also be legal issues surrounding taking people’s private waste away without permission. If you want to join the freegan’s make sure you get permission to sift through peoples bins.
Although hygiene wasn’t necessarily at the top of Scrooge’s priorities any aspiring freegan’s may want to consider where their next meal is coming from. That half-eaten bacon and egg sandwich might not seem quite so appealing when you realise it’s sat on top of a ‘fresh’ nappy. Walk away from the threat of typhoid, my freegan friend!
Forget Washing Every Day
Although the Victorians were deadly serious about hygiene that wouldn’t have stopped the likes of Scrooge from eking out a few more savings. After all, thanks to your strict adherence to these extreme money saving tips you don’t have any friends so you don’t need to wash. The only one that knows how bad you smell is Fido (and he’s stuck up the chimney with a pole up his backside).
Seriously though, there are ways to save money by simply not washing your hair every day. How much could you save every year? 50P? £1? £2? Try about £200! Seriously, who ever thought that being unhygienic could be such a money spinner?
Oh, before you dismiss this as some crank fad endorsed by Z list celebrities, Prince Harry is, apparently, a fan of this trend. Come on girls: get stinky and hook yourself a prince!
For most of us, it’s all a bit tongue in cheek. The idea that we wave a wand and make huge slices of our monthly expenses disappear is a pipe dream. In fact, even strapping your budget to a time machine and sending it straight into the withered hands of Scrooge isn’t going to work.
You’ve no doubt heard the advice that we should all live within our means. Humbug! Has anyone really ever tried to do that without committing to a life of bread and water?
Every so often we need to blow off some steam. If that leaves us in debt then so be it but we have to remember that when the good times stop rolling we have to pay the man our dues.
In the words of the great man himself, “Humbug! “.