Can we really ever forget about the Price Tag?

So yesterday something happened to pique my interest in a topic that seems to still be quite taboo, so I thought I'd share my experience to see what you guys all think. 

I asked a fellow blogger who mentioned she was hoping to buy a house of her own soon, how she had managed to save up her deposit, and I was called 'rude' for doing so. Now each to their own, and I did think perhaps she had misunderstood me, as I wasn't asking HOW MUCH she had saved, merely how she had managed to save it in the first place. Perhaps I was being a little nosey, but as a blogger well into an economy drive myself, I thought that perhaps she would like to share some tips as to how she'd managed to save up so much-fair play to her for doing this, I thought. 

I must admit I was completely taken aback by the response I got. And also quite offended. I consider myself to be a very polite individual and would never like to be considered to be rude; it's one of the traits I dislike most in anyone. Turns out, she thought it rude to ask about money. Which got me to thinking about the old adage that 'people are funny about money.'

Perhaps it was the way I was raised; money was never a taboo topic in my household as a child. I was taught the value of money from an early age, I didn't get pocket money on a regular basis as I have 4 brothers so it would have been very expensive for my poor mum and dad! But I had a wonderful upbringing and I was treated from time to time. Any paddies I had in the Woolworths toy aisle were not pandered to, and I learnt early on that I couldn't have something just because I wanted it.

This has stood me in great stead throughout my life. I remember feeling quite indignant around the time I took my GCSE exams, and several of my friends proclaimed that they would be in receipt of a £50 note for every A* they achieved. I of course took this idea home to my mum and dad who were quick to negate it. When I whinged asked why, I remember clearly my dad saying to me that he didn't want me to be motivated by money, and that I should do my best in my exams for my own achievement rather than for financial gain. I think this is the reason that I now work in a low pressure job that pays minimum wage and, at 27, am much happier earning little than I was managing a large fashion store at 23 for a huge amount of money. I guess I'd much rather be happy and broke than loaded and sad. And I can only say this because I've experienced both sides.

I didn't go to university in the conventional sense, but self funded an Open University degree by working full time over the 6 year period it took me to complete the course. I am now thinking about taking a Masters degree next year which I will need to fund myself as well. The best part of this means that I have no student debt, which is fantastic as I'd hate to be working the job I have now with debts piled on top of it. And whilst I'd like to be doing a job more in keeping with my degree, we have to accept that the job market at the moment is an unstable place, with many qualified graduates chasing a small collective of positions, and as such I am grateful to be employed at all.

Since I've been raised to be quite open about money, I'll happily tell you about my earnings and income, should you wish to know. Now I know not everyone will agree with me on this, and I accept that some things should remain private. But asking how someone managed to save money? Is this offensive or rude? Obviously it was found to be so to one individual. But I felt that in the context I asked the question, the reply I was looking for was maybe some tips to share on saving money, any advice which could be imparted to help me, rather than calling me 'rude'. Perhaps if the person hadn't wanted to give any advice to me she could have said that she'd rather not talk about such things. But I think if you blog about something, then you should expect open season on questions. Blogging is all about opinions, surely. So if you put something on your blog, maybe you should expect people to ask you questions about it. Ah, but I am going to contradict myself here; because I suppose if I state that blogging is about opinions, then in this particular blogger's opinion, I was rude to ask about her methods of saving. Oh well! I was only interested really, and if she doesn't wish to share, then that's her prerogative, and good luck to her.

I have a 'rainy day' fund which I pay into each month. I am quite a savvy shopper and I collect coupons for my food shop, and use money off vouchers where I can. I use a Nectar card and collect points when I buy food or fuel throughout the year-and since I spend so much on petrol, I usually earn enough points to be able to buy my Christmas food with them. I use a Boots card too and again save my points to buy Christmas gifts-usually at a 3 for 2 event! I charity shop and supplement my (tiny) income with a small amount of selling on eBay. I have 2 credit cards which I do use when I have to but I make sure I pay them off in full each month. They're a who's who of exciting buys, my credit card statements-food, petrol, food, petrol.....running a home is a big responsibility and I take it seriously and for me, this has meant drastic changes to my shopping and spending habits. I think this is probably the first time in my life that I've not stepped foot into a high street clothes store any more regularly than once a month-even then, I never seem to buy anything. When a quick trip round Topshop or H&M can equal a month's council tax, you start to redefine your priorities-or so I've found.

But back to my point! (from which I seem to have deviated over the course of this post!) is money the last taboo? Do you talk about it with your friends or is it something that should be kept between you and your bank statmements? I'd love to know your thoughts on this topic as I personally have never seen money as an offensive subject line of questioning until yesterday-so maybe I'm in the minority! I'm interested, what do you guys think?
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Amanda said...

Hi Amie!

I, like you, am quite happy to talk about my money (or lack of it) but I think we are maybe in the minority.

Many people these days are happy to moan about the cost of living and what they can't afford but being impoverished is pretty subjective and it seems to be more about comparative wealth than actual standards of living.

I too am a fan of charity shops, jumble sales and car boots. Not only for the price tags but it definitely helps when you want to create a more individual look when it comes to what you're wearing.

I have instilled the 'bargain' ethos in my children and they are more than happy to buy second hand and rejoice in how much money they have saved in doing so.

My problem will come when I win big on the lottery. This is going to happen soon I feel. Will I continue with my thrifty ways or will my children end up spoiled and unappreciative? ... I'll let you know :D

Kate said...

Really good post - I don't mind talking about money, although I get embarrassed as I don't save very much at all as I'm paying off a student loan (I wish I'd done what you did!), and a car as I need it for my job...I'd LOVE to know how people do manage to save for a deposit for a house. Maybe asking someone how much they earn is a little nosy but asking someone how they manage to save I don't think is a rude question at all. x

xxShivvyxx said...

I agree with you! I understand that asking outright how much someone has saved or how much they earn would be rude (though i usually offer this information to people myself) but if you asked me how i'd managed to save an amount of money i would assume you were asking for tips (and then i would tell you how much it was :P).

If you're looking for tips i've been saving for a while (though i'm not very good at it :S). What i try to do, is work out how much i need to spend each month, round it up a bit and deduct it from how much i earn (hope there is some money left over) and put the balance straight into a savings account. It does get hard as i also have a credit card which i sometimes use for petrol etc. in the days before payday but like you i pay this off as soon as i can! Then if i have a hard month i can transfer some money back from my savings (internet banking is both great and dangerous :P). Luckily i live with my parents though so my rent is pretty low - i'm sure saving will be a lot more difficult when i move in with my boyfriend next year!


Anonymous said...

Me and my housemates talk about EVERYTHING to do with money.. its silly to be secretive about it (unless hiding from your parents) because it can save unecessary worries if you know your not the only one struggling, and you can share advice and tips!

Kate said...
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Kelly said...

I don't think that money is a subject that should be taboo - what's the big deal?

I've never had a "real" job, just painted comissioned portraits, made jewelry, and nannied. But what I make I try to be responsible with. To save up for my fiance's wedding band, I just opened another checking account. It was not to be touched, and whenever I made any money, I would put enough to survive in my normal account, then the rest in the Ring Fund. After a few months, I had enough!

Unknown said...

Hi! I'd like to say first,before anything else that I love your photos!

By the way,I've just recently subscribed to your blog. I agree that maybe that blogger misunderstood you.

Me and my friends always talk about money. Sometimes we all talk about our plans in life and how we can achieve our goals.In fact, I would also ask the same question as saving up lots is also one goal that seems to be quite hard to do especially when there are a lot of things that we need to pay for.

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Julia said...

Hey Amie!

I also think that it was a terrible misunderstanding with this blogger. I would feel exactly the same about it as you do, I would have expected some tips on how to save money and not being called a rude person. I totally get your point!
In Austria it is kind of a taboo as well talking about money with somebody you don't know well or personally. But my friends and I don't hesitate to talk about our financial situation and everybody knows about each other's. I think this whole secret keeping thing is a bit overrated. Maybe some people are trying to hide great amounts of money or an empty bank account or they just don't feel comfortable with it for any other reasons we don't know.

Hopefully you know what I mean :)
I'm sure my English will become better soon because I'm planning on moving to the UK this fall :)

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