Thursday, September 8, 2011

Doing what our parents did

Long, long ago back in the days of my youth people were very very careful with their money and what they would spend it on. There was little or no credit as such, occasional store "tick" but that was often measured in weeks not years like today's credit cards, there were also savings schemes like the Co-op "Divi"
Thing was people were very careful with their money as they knew that if it ran out, well you went hungry till you got paid, gardens were for vegetables mostly and anyone who had a allotment was envied.
Seems people though are heading back to those days...
Shoppers are becoming increasingly "professional" as a result of the lowest consumer confidence in a generation, according to the head of Morrisons. 
Dalton Philips, the chief executive of the country's fourth biggest supermarket group, said: "We're seeing it across the country: the phenomenon of checking all the prices, of leaving the credit card at home, of being very savvy about what they are buying, buying in bulk packs and splitting the packs with friends or freezing. This professional approach to shopping, this rigour will continue long after the recession, I think. Grocery shopping is the biggest bill after your mortgage, after all."
The company said that 51pc of its customers were now checking the price of every single item before they put it in their basket, and that spending on credit cards had fallen by 8pc over the last six months, while spend on debit cards had increased by 4pc.
Its bleak assessment of the consumer economy came as it reported a strong set of figures, at the top end of analysts' expectations. Like-for-like sales increased by 2.2pc and the company claimed it was the only one of the big four supermarket groups to be gaining market share, with an extra 400,000 customers a week visiting its shops, taking the weekly total to 11.5m shoppers.
"We're encouraged by these results. It is especially encouraging that we delivered these results at a time when the economy is having such a pronounced impact on consumers. The last three years have seen the largest drop in spending power since 1980 to 1983. We are also hearing concern from our customers that there seems no end in sight. Consumer confidence is almost as low as it has ever been," Mr Philips said.
 I have to admit that the QM extended household do this sort of thing with buying in bulk and splitting the packs amongst the family. We also use our mobiles when at farmers markets and occasionally boot sales, though this is more down to the ladies being jigsaw fanatics.
People are learning the old lessons of not spending what you don't have again, often enough using the credit cards only for emergencies and setting out a fixed budget for food rent/mortgage, power, transport etc and sticking to it as their actual spending power has been reduced by price rises coupled with no real term wage increases.
Hard times in old England? Well not so much, we're still immeasurably better off than previous generations, though it's debatable whether we're happier or have more in the way of spare cash in our pockets at the end of the day. My Dad could easily afford to take himself and his 2 sons to the football on Saturday and go out drinking on Saturday night, I can't, I have to be a lot more careful with my spare cash in that sense, though I have a great deal more choice on where to spend it.
I expect a lot more families are now in the same boat, becoming more careful on where we spend what spare cash we have, we aren't poverty stricken by any means, just more choosy as and how we spend it. I don't expect this to change any time soon, if anything it will get worse as belts are tightened and prices rise.

3 annotations:

WitteringsfromWitney said...

A great pity it is QM, that our politicians have yet to learn the same lessons!

English Pensioner said...

Having been brought up during WW2, what upsets me is the waste of food. Nothing was wasted in our household, if it was edible, it would be eaten on the basis of my mother's rule "if it looks and smells OK it is OK". And it hadn't been kept in a fridge!
Now so much is wasted. Who has cottage pie made from scraping and mincing the remains from Sunday's joint - No it goes straight into the bin and either fresh mince or more likely a ready made cottage pie is bought from the supermarket.
There are still lots of economies to be made!

Anonymous said...

One thing I have noticed, as I do my shopping at the discount supermarkets, is the prevalence of special offers on things like strawberry plants, raspberry canes, blackberry plants, also compost, and fertilisers. I suspect a lot more folk have been capitalising on their gardens and greenhouses, by growing their own this year.