the skinflint philosopher

Attempting to thrift our way to a better life, with a toddler in tow!

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How much is your freedom worth?

Now on the whole I’m not a great fan of short stories; in general I feel slightly short changed. There is an element of frustration as the reader sees a simple snapshot in the lives of the characters. But for those of us with a literary bent, here is an absolute must for your weekend reading. A story that comes back to me again and again, and is very apt given my current way of thinking, even though it was written in 1889. Read and enjoy, and if you have read it before, read and enjoy again.

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You are what you eat

App-solutely can’t get my head around this. In our ‘plunging pound times’ I thought I would investigate a little bit more into grocery shopping skinflintery, and so downloaded a couple of free apps- Shopitize, Shopmium, CheckoutSmrt amongst other little square boxes of delight- to see if even a techniphobe can operate and save with some level of success. The general idea for most of these, if you have not come across them before, is that the app provides details of deals or savings to be made in various shops, you purchase the items, and then take an image of the barcode plus your receipt and get cash back. Others work on a voucher system. Sounds all good so far, if you have time to devote to planning your shopping to the nth degree and will happily doodle up maps of Tesco aisle arrangements in your spare time.
Meanwhile, back in planet reality, who is actually getting the benefit here? Why is the app free, giving away all these deals, literally at the click of the button? You know what they say folks, “If it looks and sounds too good to be true…..”.
Yes of course, non-savvy shoppers who splurge on branded pizza and luxury biscuits and carrot batons, will no doubt get some money back on those type of purchases- the high end, high cost, and high pile up in your trolley kind of shoppers. Because to put it simply, those products are of course what the apps are promoting. These shoppers will of course spend on other dubiously priced (What! Is one of the ingredients shredded gold?) items while in the same store congratulating themselves the whole time on their finger to icon budget mastery. The retailers can see these guys coming a mile off.

So what is the alternative? Do you need electronic ‘help’ to watch your pennies in the supermarket? Consider campaigns like Live below the line
or personal blogs like Stone soup…/how-to-eat-for-2-a-day-5-ingredi…/
about really cutting back, and then find the happy medium that suits you, your family’s eating habits, and your spending power.
Read this to give you a starting point to consider,…/…/feb/04/rise-of-the-own-brand
and then maybe step into the aisles (without your map) and open your mind to what is really there. If it’s cheap but crap, then don’t buy it again. But I’m pretty sure you’ll find some gems without breaking the bank, and of course enjoy the free smug feeling you get as you breeze past a heaving, wheezing trolley being wobbled around one handed by some poor consumer as they struggles to align this barcode or that voucher with a handful of gadgets, all to buy a product that will still be more expensive that what you have in your hand. Eat well for less.

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Escape to the woods

View some of the images here, just because. Who doesn’t need a little log cabin tucked away in the forest?
Unfortunately for most of us we only have a Hansel and Gretel trail to get there, and so never reach our destination.
Solution? Stepping stones, rather than breadcrumbs.


Philosophy of stuff

A little bit of real ‘philosophy of stuff’ for your weekend reading, especially if you are fog-bound as we are today and have time on your hands. Get your brains around these ideas, not about possessions or spending, but actual perceptions. If we are not going to step into the same river twice Mr Heraclitus, isn’t that a great opportunity?…/1…/Scrutinising_Material_Objects


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How more simple would our lives be if we actually did this more often?

Your time and energy is like a pie. Everybody wants a piece of your pie, because they think you can spare that for them, and the rest of the pie will remain yours. But of course that isn’t true, for if lots of individuals all want their piece of your pie, is there any pie left for you at all?

Mmmmm….pie. Sorry can’t blog any more, too distracted, I need to go eat something with calories.