General ramblings

Budget Day

March 20, 2013

So today was Budget Day (in case you hadn’t noticed).

budget

I am no economist, (in case you hadn’t noticed…) but even I know that the country’s finances are in a pretty poor way. And this obviously affects all of our own personal budgets too.

Lots of people have been asking me lately if My Make Do and Mend Year has saved us money, and if so, how much money.

Now, rather naively, we didn’t go into this as a money saving project, and have approached it more from a ‘save the planet’ angle, and I hadn’t really been keeping track of what we were saving. I did start a Purchases page with the grand aim of documenting everything we bought, but this fell by the wayside pretty early on.
But I am resserecting it now! I thought it would be really interesting to try and quantify how much money (if any) we save over the second half of our year of Buying Nothing New.

So I have re-started documenting our purchases, and I will try to compare what we spent to what it would have cost if we had bought that item new.

I wasn’t convinced that we would be saving a huge amount, but I sat down last night to do this, as I was asked to go on the Mark O’Donnell show on BBC Radio Wiltshire again, as part of their ‘pre-budget’ show, and I thought it would be useful to have some figures, and I was really shocked. We are only 3 weeks into March, and already I reckon we have saved nearly £60!

So if we extrapolate that for the month, that works out at £80/month. And with another few whirrings of the brain cogs, this works out at £960 for the year. And then if you throw in the £300ish I think we probably saved over Christmas, we could have saved ourselves about £1250 by the end of the year. And that’s not accounting for all the things we just haven’t bought, like £5 a pop magazines etc.

Woohooo!!

So not only are we Saving the Planet, we are Saving Money too.

Come on George, if it can work for us, then maybe a little bit of Make Do and Mend can work for the greater UK economy too…
(I realise that this may be flawed economics, as if you listen to the government, it is our National Duty to go out and bankrupt ourselves on shiny new things to stimulate the economy, but that is an argument for another day…!)

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  • Reply gailey2013 March 22, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    I love not buying new buying 2nd hand, repairing and making stuff. My 2nd daughter happily looks just as cute as eldest in hand me downs. I think savings are fab but economy wants us to go and spend.Its like economys at odds with peoples decreasing budgets. Hopefully your blog make people think as lot of waste in the world and thoughtless spending.

    • Reply Jen March 22, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      I hope so too. There must be a way of stimulating the economy without buying yet more stuff we don’t need.

  • Reply johnbelljubble March 21, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Part of the issue is that GDP is a measure of the amount of money spent, whereas there is a substantial and growing (via eg freecycle, freegle etc) non-monetary economy that is just not accounted for. As your experience shows, being active in this economy saves money, and the more money we save the lower the deficit (hence austerity).

  • Reply Workshopshed March 21, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Repair is typically a local thing so if I repair my car the money goes to the guys down the road rather than a new car which might give more benefits to companies further away.

    • Reply Jen March 21, 2013 at 10:59 am

      Great point. I keep thinking if there is a way for the economy to become more ‘service-led’ rather than ‘stuff-led’, so paying people for their time and services (like repairing for example), rather than for yet more stuff…

    • Reply Steve Waller March 21, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      A great point indeed! Services to repair broken or damaged things must be doing good business at the moment but we can definitely go even further and bring the amount of ‘stuff’ we buy down. Less money going out of the country on imports and more sticking around to cycle around the economy.

      • Reply Jen March 21, 2013 at 5:42 pm

        I am somewhat the depressed that the current Chancellor seems to refuse to acknowledge that a ‘green’ economy would SAVE MONEY, CREATE JOBS, AND help us step out of the cycle of continually needing to produce and create MORE STUFF. We only have finite resources-when will the powers that be wake up to that..?

  • Reply Sue March 20, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    That’s because we are still operating a capitalist Economy… It’s always going to collapse as it needs continual growth. I’m not sure how all these so called intelligent people don’t see that throughout history civilisations boom and bust as resources are ultimately not limitless… Make do and mend and live in balance…

    • Reply Jen March 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      I completely agree Sue that the economy and the production of ‘stuff’ cannot just keep growing. We only have finite resources. I am not sure what the alternatives are though. I know there are ideas for ‘sharing economies’ and the like, and I really must do some more reading into Ellen McArthur’s ‘circular economy’ and form a more informed opinion. I like your idea of Make do and Mend and live in balance though 🙂

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