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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What would you do for a free £5?

Free Fivers? Cor blimey, gov!

There are many things I would not do to gain £5.

One of these would be to sit in a bath of spiders. That, as Meatloaf might have once sung, I won't do.

Another thing I would not do for £5 would be to eat mint choc chip icecream. Oh no, the resultant endoscopy would be far more hassle than a mere fiver is worth.

However, if I were to see a chappy standing in the street, wearing a sandwich board saying: "If you want a free £5, stop me and ask: it's yours", I would happily shuffle over to him and hold him to his promise.

Of course, the initial shame as people see me begging for money would be offset by my demeanour. I would feign that I was merely bantering with him, saying something like: "Yeah, mate, what are you selling? You're having a lend" in a loud voice. I would look quizzically at him, pretending to be oh-so-cool about it, when really I would be doing a happy dance inside ...

"I got a Fiiiiiiver, I got a Fiiiiver, you haven't got one, your mom's on welllllfare"


After receiving my £5, I would then come back for more, changing my appearance by carefully-positioned hats, coats, etc. I might even wear a shawl like a hijab to maximise my money-earning potential.

However, I would be in just 0.5 per cent of the UK population. Oh yes, 0.5 per cent.

For when someone from money-saving ideas website did just that - stand in the West End for a day offering £5 to people - more than 2,700 people passed by and only 16 people decided to take him up on this.

That's right. SIXTEEN.

Which begs the question, are we Brits too proud to take money off strangers? Or too sceptical?

Either way, 16 people who either 'had no shame' or were trusting enough to believe his statement went home £5 richer than when they started out.

If only 0.5 per cent of the population is really bold enough to take such opportunities when they arise, then it's no wonder that UK consumers are more than £3trn in debt (excluding mortgages) and only 24 per cent of the population have made savings in the past 12 months.


Electro-Kevin said...

I've just done our budget... again !

We work out (on paper) as being £1200 pcm over what we need to pay all essentials and things such as gym, clubs etc. And yet we're getting deeper into overdraft each month. I've checked for leakage but there is nothing fishy going on with our account.

I really don't know where it goes - I suspect that a lot of it is to do with the fact that a fiver will barely get you a coffee and a bun nowadays. (and I don't blow my money on that sof stuff either !)

Inflation is far worse than they're making out.

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

That sounds like you need a money doctor!

I suggest the following to help (I'll write this up into a bigger blog later):

1) Ditch the gym membership and find a running buddy/buy weights etc for Christmas

2) Estimate what you might spend in a week on those little items ie coffee, a sarnie here and there, and take out the cash, leaving your credit and debit cards at home in a 'safe place'. Spend on the cash in your pocket

3) Keep all your receipts for two weeks and work out where you get the cheapest deals, and where you can stop doubling up.

4) Think about the economy of food - how much do you throw away without eating? You can freeze a lot more than you think - whole peppers, fruit, milk etc.

Gorilla Bananas said...

The reason you would take the fiver, Mermaid, is because you're (a) an extrovert and (b) trusting of the good intentions of your fellow man. That said, I would advise you against accepting sweets from a fellow wearing a dirty mac.

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

Extrovert I may be dear GB, but fool I am not! I take the £5 because I am broke!

Gorilla Bananas said...

Only because you want to marry for love rather than money.

Electro-Kevin said...

I've just been going through my statements. It's incidentals such as dental bills, replacing the knackered fridge ...

I can understand the basic cost of living which is all well covered by my wages - but where the hell does the £1200 go ? I've even asked Mrs E-K if she has a double life !

I've gone through our statements with a fine-tooth comb and it really does seem to be the incidentals (dental bills, fridge repairs) which catch you out.

Have to say, it's the small things which really add up though. I will take your advice.

(PS - thought I'd set up moderation. How DID you get by it ???)