Thursday, 20 January 2011

What People Want in a Cash Strapped Society.


How People Spend and How You Could Easily Earn - or Save -  Extra Cash.

This is a quick post to update those interested in my current research. It's based on a subject close to my frugal heart - shoestring budgets and how they get spent. It also ties in with how best to earn a few pounds extra when the going gets tough in the earnings race.

Analysing accounts, in any form, can reveal a great deal about current trends, mainly by highlighting what people, households or small businesses are prepared to spend on during times of austerity. For these purposes, alone, I always work with my very good friends, the spreadsheets.

Research is one of the things that can be carried out anytime, anywhere for FREE, so only a fool would risk dismissing the findings. Admittedly, I do seem to have an Obsessive Compulsive Desire to crunch numbers, but it's always for the benefit of maintaining a debtfree and self-sustainable status and I usually share my findings for FREE. Number crunching - it's what gets us out of debt, it's what keeps us solvent, it's what allows us to speculate and, hopefully, accumulate.

For the purposes of this research, I am analysing accounts from 40 individuals to take a sneaky peak at what they are most likely to spend their hard earned income on and what they are not prepared to give up, regardless of what austerity measures need to be put in place. My initial findings are surprising, to say the least.


Luxury food items! As expected, the top item traded within the marketplace is food. No surprises there, we all need to eat and drink, so it's good business practice if you can incorporate something edible into your portfolio. However, my findings show that most people don't cut out the luxury items. More importantly, even those on the tightest of budgets will indulge in non-essential or luxury foodstuffs - takeaways, meals out or the odd treat, be it organic, freerange or gourmet. Food sells and that's all there is to it.


My first surprise came in the form of the runner-up in my preliminary findings - domestic help! It seems many people hate household chores and would do without other things in order to get out of doing what they refer to as 'the mundane stuff'. From basic cleaning to sending the laundry off to be ironed, some folks just hate housekeeping and, for anyone prepared to put in a few hours work, there's an income to be earned right there. Anything, it seems, that helps keep the household or small business premises spick and span is not a luxury, it's an essential at all costs! There's certainly space to create a booming business by oiling those wheels - cleaning, ironing, window cleaning, carpet cleaning, painting & decorating, mending...


Now we come to the great outdoors. There's some fairly brisk trading going on within the gardening and pet sitting categories. I guess spending all your time trying to make ends meet means there's a chance you could neglect the garden or leave the dog shut in for too long while you're at work. But fear not, salve your conscience by hiring a gardener for an hour or two and having someone walk your dog or do some pet sitting for you.


Finally, in this brief update, is health related - alternative, complimentary or holistic therapies and feeling fit. If a shortage of money is getting us down, it seems help is always at hand and always within budget, no matter what. Massage, reflexology, crystal therapy, meditation... feeling better is worth the expense, it seems, even if it means buying a cheaper brand of everything in the supermarket.

I cannot guarantee that these findings will translate to all other areas of the country, but I would be interested in discussing this further. Feel free to contact Frugaldom through the forum or via Twitter.

What might this tell us? Well, it tells me that, regardless of the situation, people still want to feel good about themselves and their lives. I can completely relate to this and am now off to paint my nails a rather fetching shade of purple.


  1. interesting stuff , as you know i pay a cleaner but only because i am not able to do it myself ......not sure i would do it myself even if i could lol

    Have you heard of surveymonkey ? its free to use and recognised by academic sources, a lot of my fellow students are using it for their dissertation questionnaires.

  2. If I could afford it, I'd have domestic staff, a resident chef and an estate manager. But in that life I'd also have a heated, indoor swimming pool, a tennis court and a raised balcony around the main lounge, which would overlook my training gallops. Having seen Sheikh Mohammad's 'wee holiday pad' in Newmarket, I know exactly what I'd like but what I need is so much less. For now, as you well know, the closest I come to decadence is feeding the cat (home produced) quail eggs for breakfast and dining on game paid for with homemade lemon curd & duck eggs. :)

    Have heard of surveymonkey, thanks for the reminder about it.


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