New BBC programme – Right on the Money

I thought I would watch the new program on money management. Its about time TV started looking at finances and saving rather than having loads of daytime TV that is full of spending – property make-overs, holidays, inspirational living etc….

I took the test on their website to test your money personality – surprise, surprise I come out as a secure saver which contains the following comment :

Independence Seeker : Money means freedom….they use it to escape the daily grind – through weekends away, expensive hobbies or even breaking free from paid employment. Seekers must not forget about future events such as retirement and unforeseen life events.

The couples they featured are using ‘retail spending’ as their hobby and to provide ‘happiness’. They are bitten by the consumer bug and can’t see that they are impulse buying, they have houses full of stuff they don’t really need or use. They are collecting things just to ‘feel’ good about themselves – the emotional crutch. What is shocking is that some are actually starting the month on the verge of an overdraft as soon as their salary is paid in – ouch!

It is difficult for some to stop the impulse when they are bombarded with all the consumer marketing to ‘spend, spend, spend’ and ‘live now’ mantras. I know people who work all week then spend the whole weekend out shopping spending money on things they don’t really need, they do it just to have something to do with their free time.

I know its a struggle, the status anxiety/jealousy kicks in.

An example from my own life:

My friend has currently moved house (bigger & better) and is spending money on doing it up; new kitchen, all the rooms redecorated, new wood-burner stove (something I would like – and have mentioned to her in the past – but for frugal, new furniture and is now getting the garden re-landscaped. She just loves showing me around and telling me about all the changes being made. Oh…and just bought a new car (just happens to be the same make/model as mine but younger)! Its like they have won the lottery. Some of this money has come from her husband recently retiring and getting a large lump sum payment and some an inheritance she received last year. The rest will be from a brilliant annual bonus (she hasn’t said but I bet they got a great bonus this year given company results) and company share saves.

She has a well paid job – working at one of my ex-employers – which is where I first met her. I use to have a well-paid job there too so know the benefits. I could feel jealous of all this (I think I am – my green-eyed monster is active) : she has a job she enjoys, a lovely husband, a new house, new car and just come back from a great holiday abroad.

She does have her own status issues, I am not sure how long I will remain her friend as I am a frugal FI seeker who isn’t spending money on theatre/house/clothes/holidays and currently not working. She may dump me soon as I just don’t have the aspiration status that she wants to surround herself with. I was talking to her about getting a dog and spending some time out during my ‘work-free’ period, it would do my health good and relax me….well, what has she done? She has bought a dog – a puppy that her husband is now going to be looking after.

I shouldn’t view this as a kick at me but it does feel like one. She is the only friend I have left and now I feel that she isn’t the sort of person I should have around me.

With these kinds of environments. it does make it hard to escape the social pressures. I know that for me, my FI decisions are actually restricting my social circles and I will lose out in the short term – but hopefully I can gain some new true friends who are more suited to my new way of life – once I work out what that new life looks like.


4 thoughts on “New BBC programme – Right on the Money

  1. Hi Sparlebee,

    I enjoy your blog. You are in a similar position to myself and my good lady.

    It is interesting looking at people still under the illusion that buying unnecessary shit will bring you happiness. I wish more people would wake up and smell the coffee. If you put in a little effort and save, you can still live for today, but also relax as you know that you have a secure tomorrow. Being in debt up to your eyeballs doesn’t give you this luxury.

    We will probably lose friends as we become fully FI. I also know that they will be replaced by new friends with a similar outlook. That just the way it is.

    Go along to Huw’s gathering in York (, and you will meet some great people with a similar outlook to yourself.


  2. Well I wouldn’t worry too much (well at all actually) about your friends need/wants/actions. If she’s a true friend she’ll stick around and remain friends no matter how frugal you become. If she keep copying you I’d take it is a complement 😉

    Woodburners – I would whole heartedly recommend one. Our current house has one and (ignoring the efficiency calculations I cannot over estimate how much pleasure it provides. There is simply nothing more enjoyable than getting back form a cold wet walk/run/cycle/anything at the weekend then putting the burner on and settling down with some home cooked food and maybe a glass of wine. They are not cheap to install by all accounts but if you’re going to stay in the house for many year to come I would recommend getting one. Of course the side effect is you’ll likely become manically obsessed about trying to source free/cheap wood to burn and stockpiling it like there is an ice age on the way like I do!

  3. I’m with UTMT – if she’s a true friend, she will stick around.

    Some people keep up with the Joneses, but she’s keeping up with you, eg buying the puppy, so who’s to say she isn’t jealous of YOU, having achieved FI and not needing to work!? 🙂

  4. I was going to second Darrens thoughts on meeting up with some of us lot in York (well, the next meet up as York has just happened). I know there isn’t much chance of any of us being in the same area but having people to chat to and meet up with occasionally who are of the same mindset was pretty cool.

    Where abouts are you based? Huw is going to arrange a “down south” meeting in Sept/Oct so if you are nearer that way keep your eye out for it on his site.

    You’ve also mentioned volunteering etc… so no down if you keep doing that sort of thing or finding new hobbies then you will meet lots of new potential friends in your own area as well.

    Good luck whatever you decide to do 🙂

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