Would I lie to you?

No, but I was tempted. My assignment for the week was to arrange a dinner party where I’d do my best to steer the conversation towards theories, fears and ideas about personal finance. But I haven’t and I can’t be bothered.

Well, I can be bothered, but I’ve decided against it on the grounds of pragmatism.

The first thing that happened is an email went flying around from a friend called N. who I had top of list for my money dinner party. Having never invited me to hers for dinner before, her email announced she now wanted to find a date to do so. The other person included in the email invite was another friend, A., who was also top of list for my money dinner party! Had N. read my blog? Was she trying to sabotage my master plan by “getting there first” with the dinner party invite?

Why were N. and A. top of my list anyway? Because there’s no way I’m inviting a bunch of friends over that are really clever with their money and completely organised about it. What’s the point in that? Well, there is some point to that … it depends on what I’m trying to achieve with the dinner party. (N. and A. don’t be offended … it’s only that you’ve both recently confessed interest in or trouble with personal finance.)

I chewed over what to do while meanwhile noticing that the dates being suggested by A. and N. for said invite were stretching further and further into the calendar year. And now that the date’s been set for December, I’ve decided not to proceed with my own dinner party at the moment. I might go ahead with it in the New Year.

No, instead I’ve come up with a different tactic … I’m going to take my pet topic and invade the dinner parties I’m already invited to with a set of questions that Old Me wouldn’t have dreamt of discussing over dinner. Not only because quizzing people about their approach to money is impertinent at best, but because as a money ostrich, such chat was often deeply traumatic for me … flooding my mind with all sorts of anxieties about stuff I hadn’t done, papers I couldn’t find, realities I couldn’t comprehend and fine print I’d overlooked.

While I haven’t done my assignment as it was originally set out, I have spent some time working out my objectives for money dinner parties and started to formulate my killer conversational openings … These I won’t yet reveal, but I’d love any replies to the questions below. And if you’ve invited me for dinner, you’ve been warned.

Questions for lovely Zeros followers:

  1. Which is of greater concern to you — the amount your necessities cost (e.g., rent, the bills) or the amount you tend to spend on the things you want (e.g., shoes and bags, the movies, daily coffees)
  2.  If you could change one thing about your “money personality” (which is whatever way you understand your collection of money habits and beliefs), what would it be?

5 thoughts on “Would I lie to you?

  1. These are surprisingly difficult to answer!

    1. My answer is somewhere between the two – most necessities don’t concern me because they’re standard and accounted for month-to-month – I don’t have to think about them. But food shopping spends, which I assume we’re calling a necessity, do worry me – they’re unpredictable, apparently rising constantly, and there’s a discrepancy between the food I want to buy and the food I can buy. Other than food, I worry more about the extras – which impact on food. (Perhaps I think about food too much…) Mostly I worry about going-out type spends – if I do this thing now, can I afford to do this other thing later in the month?

    2. I would shop around more for better deals – in all areas really, both banking and spending. But the reality is, I just can’t be bothered – it feels like an unsatisfying drain on time and I don’t feel educated enough, money-wise, to know what I’m doing. I don’t care enough and I guess I think it would be useful to me if I did. I’d also save more, although this probably has less to do with personality and more to do with means.

    1. Brilliant – thanks!! I empathize 100 percent w your answer to 2. If I find any super smart tactics for comparison shopping which don’t strike me as soul destroying or a major time commitment, I shall certainly pass along. On question 1 I definitely worry more about disposable spend as I just assume I can’t do a thing about fixed spend / necessities — tho of course I can since where I live/rent etc are all choices and because there are ways to save on bills etc. Do you notice any pattern to food costs? There was a money program on the BBC last year where everyone in the documentary spent a remarkably similar amount on groceries ea week — even though there were couples, families, retirees and single people — everyone seemed to spend 80 per week ….

      1. That’s interesting. I guess that must be a lot to do with supermarket shopping and packaging – often a pack of whatever will happily feed a family but if there are only two of you, you’ll buy it anyway and either eat more of it or stick what’s left in the freezer. Also, a lot of so-called special offers require you to buy at least twice as many tangerines (say) than you can possibly eat – which is a false economy and mostly just leads to waste.

        I’ll be interested in anything you can find out in either area 🙂

  2. My greater concern is definitely things I WANT and MUST have- shoes, bags, dresses, etc… I leave necessity stress to my husband, and check in every now and then to see how we’re doing…..

    I wish my money personality included savings consciousness. (not sure about that word choice, it sounded correct…)

    1. Thanks!!! I’m with you on 1. Tho it’s not my husband who monitors the bills, rather its all automated and mostly unquestioned by me. My weakness in the past has been bags and definitely jewelry; this year I’ve contained that habit a but and I’m more concerned that I can continue to spend on travel and going out / socializing … Or whether Zeros will prove once and for all that my spend in these categories is genuinely a problem.

      Re 2 do you mean conscious or conscientious? Zeros is absolutely suppose to help me become money conscious — rather than asleep to the topic and totally avoidant! But saving usually demands making choices now and being conscientious about it. Are you saying you wish you saved or saved more? So far the only thing that works for me is removing the money before I ever see it and putting it somewhere harder to access. I almost forget I have savings which is brilliant as I’m never tempted to raid it unless I’ve a big expense — but I never dip into it for run of the mill overspend, shopping etc. Also I think there are phases in life when saving just aint going to happen no matter what and the important thing is to manage debt.

      Some ppl believe that even if you are in a lot of debt its important to have some savings. I get this even if the math never works — interest paid on debt always being worse than interest earned on saving. It’s important psychologically to save even a tiny bit despite debts

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