Friday, June 22, 2007

Who owns your bank account?

Easy, ofcourse, you have signed up to direct debits. That means that the company you have bought something from, automatically debits your account for a certain amount.
Now, how many of you have looked at the direct debits and standing orders leaving your account and wondered why it is leaving your account?

Some questions :
Is is essential? Does it help towards a downshifting life?
What benefit does it give me? Who benefits?
If it is necessary....can I get it cheaper?
Energy consumption - can I reduce the payments by reducing consumption

etc etc
You get the drift:
Here are some common Direct debits that we are sold:
appliance insurance : if you actually saved the same amount, you would be able to purchase a new item over a number of years. Do you need the appliance? Can you do without?
My parents had a formula which came to mind when I started downshifting. Imagine your appliance costs £ 250. It has a life expectancy of 5 years, that means that you need to save up £ 50 per year to be able to replace it when it breaks down. Compare that with the cost of the insurance option offered, look at the guarantees that are offered for free and make a choice.
magazine subscriptions
memberships of organisations - do they still meet your values and beliefs?
leisure - DVD rentals, television, book clubs.....

Anna on MiddleAgeshed asked Heather - what do you have to do in life? It clearly shows that quite often we do things because we feel we have to, its expected, its what people do, its what the neighbours do, it has become a habit etc etc. The fact is, every choice has a consequence and as a result, you need to ask yourself whether you can live with the consequence of your choice.
What do you do with the money saved? You pay off debts, or you save the same amount towards your downshifting nest egg. Often we imagine going from full throttle to stop and think it is easy. Downshifting may simply mean, now working 5 days, next year working 4 days and so on. You can then change money for time and make a choice about how you spend that time.

Often, we have difficulty saying NO. I am working on that one.

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