Friday, 14 June 2013

Beating inflation at a local level...

How much do macro-economic statistics actually matter to you ?

Take, for instance, the oft-quoted official rates of inflation.  They're maybe important if you've pension income or other similar indexed returns dependent upon them, but are these rates of price increase in any way rooted in the reality of your own particular existence ?

At the time of writing, the official rate of UK inflation is around 3.0%.  However, most of the money we spend on a regular basis goes on food items, for which the annual inflation rate on the items we buy is always many times higher than any 'official' rate.  We can see this just by pushing a supermarket trolley around – we don't need bodies of self-professed 'economists' to tell us.

Look at the rates of price increases for the things you have no choice at all but to pay for.  You can't really avoid paying for basic foodstuffs, water & sewerage, electricity, fuel etc, the prices for which all regularly increase by significantly more than the rate of inflation, nor do you have any choice but to pay the ever-increasing levels of both national and local taxation. 

However, you can choose to amend your discretionary spending to avoid the inflationary increases in golf club green fees, private school fees, champagne, flower deliveries, flat screen TVs, sat-navs, gas-fired barbecues, nightclub admissions, leg waxing, dating agency fees, knitting wool and cinema popcorn, all of which (...and I'm not making this up...) are among the items in the current basket of goods used for monthly price comparisons in compiling the official UK inflation figures...

So, put the golf clubs up for sale on eBay, tell the kids they're going to the local comprehensive and not to Eton or Roedean, drink the cheapest cider you can find, say it with a packet of seeds instead, live with that old TV set for a lot longer, look at online maps before you actually set off, cook your party food using the five grands' worth of equipment you've already got in the kitchen and just carry it the ten yards or so out onto the patio, go dancing down at the working mens' clubs, either put up with your hairy legs or get the tweezers out, scour the one-to-one ads in the free local newspapers, make your new woolly hats from unpicked old jumpers, and watch the same crappy feature films at home in a year's time and for free on terrestrial television, with an optional multipack of supermarket crisps.

Who knows, if you're lucky then you might just save enough to be able to afford the energy price increases....

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