Thursday, September 11, 2008


What forces you to be economical?

I guess it depends on what you're spending.

My dad was always very economical with chocolate. Most of what he got given at Easter was still in circulation on his bedside table at Christmas. Was it because he didn't like chocolate? No. It had more to do with four years spent in a concentration camp: there was no guarantee that what you had today was going to be available tomorrow. So use it sparingly.

For some people it's time. If you get an audience with the prime minister for half an hour, you probably won't spend 25 minutes talking about how he preserves those boyish looks of his - and you can guarantee he won't stick around if you do.

Perhaps it's fuel. If you're paying $1.70 per litre, you want to maximise the value you get out of each tank. Walk when you can. Fix as many things into one trip as possible. Sell your V8.

Maybe it's that last skerrick of butter that sits around the edges of the carton. You'd normally do one slice with it, but tonight it's too late to go to the shops, and you have two pieces of steaming, browned raisin toast in front of you.

Was it seeing the ridiculous excess of others? Did this confront your own sense of wastage, and call you to economise? Was it seeing the poverty of others that did the same?

Holidays: do you see how many people you (sort of) know within a particular geographical range, and then decide to holiday there, camping in the garages and rumpus rooms of others?

Is your sense of economy driven by genetics? Do you come from a family of tightwads - sorry, thrifty individuals?

What is it that drives you to economise?

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