A few years ago Vodafone ran an immensely successful advertising campaign in New Zealand. It featured swirling mayflies and a soothing voiceover encouraging people to embrace life. The mayfly’s cry was "Make the most of now". This might work well as the catchphrase of a mayfly, which only lives for a single day, but with families to feed, the cost of old age to bear and the uncertainties of life from unemployment to ill health, humans need a more robust approach to life.
The Prime Minister once urged Britons to start paying off their credit card bills. Easier said than done. Since then energy bills have risen, the cost of childcare has continued to creep up and the price of food has ballooned. It’s little wonder, then, that people are flocking to television programmes such as Kirstie Allsopp’s Fill Your Home For Free in droves, being encouraged to “freecycle”, “upcycle” and “freegle”. Even Jamie Oliver and Nigel Slater have now joined the cheap and cheerful bandwagon with their programmes on budget food.
Acting on all this advice on how to live more frugally, however, won’t come easily to many of us. For years we’ve been living in a hand-to-mouth culture – working, getting paid and spending. And if we want more than we can afford, we’ve simply been borrowing to buy that new car, sofa or house. We’ve been assuming the future will somehow take care of itself, or that if it doesn’t it’ll be ok because the government will step in and rescue us.
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