I came across this article by chance – whilst trawling round the web looking for something completely different – and thought it was an interesting read. Especially point 35: “Give yourself a treat. Some 12 per cent of consumers admit to tightening their belts only to reward themselves for their frugality. Such ‘treaters’ explain why foods such as chocolate do well in tough times; sales of Dairy Milk jumped 11 per cent last year.”
Reading this, I realised that I use ‘treating’ as a way of motivating myself, and I do it far too often:
- eat a healthy main course, reward myself with Dairy Milk for dessert
- go for a nice long walk … reward myself with Dairy Milk in the park
- get loads of work done … reward myself with Dairy Milk on the way home
- manage to get through a morning without shouting at the children … reward myself with Dairy Milk stuffed in sneakily behind the fridge door whilst pretending to get the broccoli out!
In fact, I don’t think Dairy Milk is in any danger at all from the recession as I could single-handedly keep Cadbury’s in business … and probably have done for years! But I don’t think I’m buying any more chocolate now than I ever have done (well, not since I had kids anyway), and I’m definitely not buying more custard or Custard Creams. Or pigs’ trotters, for that matter! Or Saint Tropez self tan, although that’s something I could seriously do with.
When I think about how the recession has affected my family so far, I feel very lucky that my partner has still got a job despite redundancies in his company. Financially, I think we might even be better off because our mortgage payments have gone down. But what’s changed for us, I think, are these things:
- Our sense of security and, perhaps, complacency has been replaced by a niggling sense of insecurity – the possibility that things could go badly wrong and it could happen to us.
- We’ve started delaying big decisions, unsure as to what the next few months or years may hold. An extension on the house? Perhaps not. A new car. Not right now. Suddenly, we feel a bit as if we’re living in limbo land, waiting to see how things pan out.
- I’m trying to be slightly more of a domestic goddess … spectacularly unsuccessfully, it has to be said. The vast majority of my home-cooked meals get a resounding “yuk” response from the children (the ungrateful little madams!). And I haven’t even started with the pigs’ trotters yet!
- I’m trying not to spend as much money on frivolous things like coffees in Starbucks or glossy magazines that just make me want to go crazy with a credit card. And if I want a book, instead of heading straight for Amazon, I’m now searching my local library catalogue and/or charity shops first. Big pat on the back for that one.
- My other half is trying to grow us some vegetables, but is currently being beaten by some pesky and extremely persistent snails! I think this could end up being a false economy – a lot of money spent on seeds and plants and gardening equipment, a lot of big fat contented slimy things and just a few holey leaves left for us.
- Most of all, I’m trying to be grateful for what I’ve got rather than hankering after what I haven’t. This is the biggest challenge of all for me, but I’ve learnt so much about how an “attitude of gratitude” can help to make you happier, I think I have a moral duty to try it, especially now.
Anyway, I’d love to know what’s changed for you, if anything, during this “recession”. In particular, I’d love to know … who is buying all the mushy peas?!