Thursday, 16 February 2012

The good, the bad, and the downright ugly

It was a lovely day for a walk today, I think spring is here, so off I went down town. Calling in at the Cash and Carry as I was passing got me another bargain. The manager was filling up the new shelves, they are expanding, and he handed me a dented tin of red salmon. 'Want this for 50p', he said, 'normally £1.50'. 'Thank you very' much says I reaching for my purse, 'that will make me a dinner'. 
There was a lot of people in town, due to it being half term holidays. They had kiddie fairground rides up the middle of the High Street. I looked round the charity shops, I am looking for a lightweight pair of slip on shoes which won't take up much room in the big rucksack, couldn't find any. Paid a bill at the bank, and took a bit of cash out. Bought a map from WH Smiths. Bought six eggs from B & M, and a packet of cooked ham slices for the cats.
Our High Street seems to be sprouting money shops all over the place, we also have loads of nail bars. Even though people may not have a lot of money to spare the nail bars are always full of customers. Strange that.
Anyone who is struggling a bit with their finances would do well to go to one of these places. Credit Unions are the good guys for saving and borrowing. They wont rip you off, they wont rob you, they will give you good advice and put you on the right track. This is a good shop to go to.

If you haven't got much money this is a bad shop to go to. These shops are for people who are chasing dreams. The only sure fire winners in a shop like this are the people who own the shop. You will not find the answers to your financial problems here, in fact you are more likely to come out with more problems than when you went in.
This is also a very very bad shop to go in. They put tempting stuff in the window to lure you inside, swish furniture, desirable home electricals, big TV's, everything you need to bring your house up to showhouse standard. You don't even need to pay for it up front. Sounds good you may think, but there's a catch. They then charge you an arm and a leg in interest fees.
Before you know it you will be up to your eyeballs in debt. This is a very bad place to go in. They prey on vulnerable people, throwing stuff at them telling them how easy it is to have anything they like. Lovely three piece suite, wouldn't it look nice in your lounge, try it, sit down and see how comfortable it is. What about a plasma TV, you've got to have one of those. For God's sake don't get sucked in, don't even step over the threshold. Go up the street a few doors to the British Heart Foundation furniture shop, pick out something second hand that you can afford to pay cash for.
Well that's the good, and the bad, and now we have the ugly shops, the shops that want to throw cash at you. You can sell your belongings here to raise a bit of cash, but make sure you get a good price, don't take the first that's offered. They also give away money, or they would like us to think they did. Can you see the sign in the window, 'Are we cheaper than Wonga? Well they might be if that's what they are advertising, but I bet they are only slightly cheaper, maybe by a half a percent. Short term loans will cost you a fortune, avoid them like the plague. 
Here's another, log book loans. Don't do it, you will be sorry.
Anything to get you in the shop, dead easy, just come in and ask, we will give you anything you want. Look at the interest rate.
This is a good one, instant cash. Then it tells you how to qualify. You can walk away with the cash today. Yes, and you'll be paying for it for the rest of your life, it doesn't mention that bit.
Here's a few figures for you. Borrow £15,000 for seven months and pay back £18,000. Do it if you want to throw away £3,000.
The sign in the window offers Payday loans. Another expensive way of borrowing.
I can't give you any figures for the loans that these shops are offering but if you go onto Money Saving Expert forum, you will find these loan companies are mentioned over and over again by people who have got themselves in a mess with their finances. For anyone struggling to make ends meet, getting a short term loan is not the answer, it inevitably leads to misery. The sooner a problem is recognised the better, seek help and advice early, burying ones head in the sand only delays the inevitable. Tackling it head on is best. 
I've found an Asian shop, it's in a side road just off the High Street. Worth a look. I bought two tins of chick peas at 39p each, a lot cheaper than anywhere else. Also three tins of black eye beans for £1. Think I'll stick to the tinned version much easier than faffing around with the dried.    
I will add this shop to my list for cherry picking bargains, and call in again when I am in town. Toodle pip.


  1. It's similar where I live Ilona lots of new cash lending shops and pawn brokers popping up. More people selling the 'Big Issue' too. Don't live too far away from you , Nottinghamshire way. Wonder if all these shops are popping up down south too? Jules

  2. Couldn't agree with you more...and the tv ads for payday loans drive me insane. My teenage daughter knows all the strap lines to those "quick quid" type ads and I tell her everytime to look at the APR at the end - 280%!!! I particularly despise Brighthouse too, you just know the people in the showroom filling out the forms are unlikely to be able to afford it (otherwise they wouldn't be shopping there in the first place). I also hear when these people are coming close to paying off their goods, the sales team do a hard sell with the next shiny new thing to keep your business. We need to educate the next generation to be more money savvy and less materialistic. Debs x

  3. I used to work at a place that did pay day loans. They are ok for small amounts paid off on your next payday, if you have an emergency like you need your car fixed asap so you can get to work. Unfortunately most people never pay them off completely, they pay and then take another loan out right away. And at least 75% of the customers have loans at more than one place. It is very sad. I used to encourage people to pay them off and not get another but to save their money back each payday. No one ever listened and I was told not to say that to the customers. The companies want them in debt.

  4. THUNK******
    That was my head landing on my keyboard when I passed out at seeing %281.5 interest.
    Jane x

  5. Tinned chick peas might be easier but not cheaper but that is a choice we all have. I was looking at the high street shops and wondering how they are different from when I was young in the 50s. Pawnbrokers were there but not in our London suburb. Charity shops were unheard of as were pound stores or payday loan shops (Bad sign) Butchers, bakers, fishmongers, grocers, greengrocers drapers and coal merchants. The Gas and Electric Companies. Bookies have been around a long time though at least until the 60s.
    Lawleys china shop and Woolworths. Dorothy Perkins, Boots and the newsagents. Banks and a Wimpy Bar. Travel agent and post office. No supermarkets. We did have canned goods but not that many, baked beans, sardines. Most food was bought fresh and cooked at home. Our first supermarket came (Budgen) came in the 60s.

  6. What is a Cash and Carry? Is it a grocery store? Why do they call it Cash and Carry. Don't they take a credit card, lol?

  7. I agree with everything you say here. Jane - if you look at the small print on some of the loan ads on TV, the highest APR is 4700% !!!!
    Yesterday I bought some tins of organic pinto beans from B&M for 10p each. I usually find a bargain there. You might like to look at
    where people post bargains they have found, it's well worth a look.

  8. If you look at this youtube video, at 4:40 there is a tip to make cooking beans quicker. Basically you soak them and then freeze them which makes cooking them once defrosted quicker which means you use less fuel.

  9. great deals. It's so easy to see how people can get up to their eyes in debt if they have no sense regarding money.

    Gill in Canada

  10. That interest rate should be illegal !
    do people actually get sucked into that ?
    The jury's still out here on the tinned/dried chick peas etc., I get tinned chick peas, butter beans and toms for 29p a tin, from Home Bargains, and very nice they are too.
    I still can't see how soaking and boiling would work our cheaper when you've factored in the cost of gas/electricity ?

  11. Sadly people must get sucked in over and over because these companies are very successful. I too have seen the tv add with the 4799% APR. These sort of interest rates should be illegal, or people should be better educated about what they are getting themselves into. I'm sure that shiny new TV would not look so shiny if they really understood what 4700% APR meant!

  12. Wean,
    You cook more than one can of peas when you use dried blackeyed peas or any dried pea or bean. So, the cost of cooking is divided between the "cans" of beans cooked.

    Freshly cooked blackeyed peas are so much tastier than canned ones from the grocery store. I can barely gag the canned/tinned ones down. Then, there is the BPA in cans that leaches into tins or cans of food. It is a carcinogen.

  13. PP - I understand what you are saying, but I just open a can and pop the contents into the 'mix' in the slow cooker - so no previous cooking needed.
    Don't like the sound of the 'nasties' in the tins though !
    Also, storage is a big problem for me, I have a teeny weeny kitchen, and every cupbpoard/work space is already full, no utility area or garage, so space really is at a premium. No room for bulk 'canning' unfortunately.
    Also my freezer is overflowing with 'bargains' from Tesco and home made stuff already !
    I'm really going to have to eat my way through some of it.(and keep away from Tescos)

  14. Never ceases to amaze me that people continue to fall for thesw scams. Because that's all they are.

  15. i agree Cumbrian, but, and it is a big 'but' if you have no money, no means of getting any, your children are hungry, what do you do ?
    I've been there and done that, and it is precisely such vulnerable people that these 'loan sharks' aim for - it's cruel and should be illegal, but as I said before, when you are that desparate, a helping hand, even a tremendously expensive one, is sometimes the only way to go.
    Now I am well away from all that thank goodness, but I can still fully understand why people do 'fall for these scams' I'm sure they know what they are getting themselves into but what else is to be done ?
    I don't however, agree with people getting a 'quck fix' to buy new jeans, a mobile phone, drink or drugs !!

  16. Oh my word, the sheer volume of them is amazing! This is why I don't go to town much anymore - it's all so tacky!

  17. what with the government trying to pay off the deficit with massive cuts, you would think that they would ban Betting and Loan adverts on TV but if anything they are more than there ever were.
    Remember when they first thought of having a lottery? I think it was in the Tony Blair years and they were quite cautious about introducing it but now,there are numerous ways of chucking your money away.

  18. Wean is right. These organisations focus on the vulnerable and desperate. I volunteer at the CAB and have seen it time and time again. Thankyou Ilona for highlighting the Credit Union- more people should use them but, again, desperation is a terrible thing.
    Also it's worth remembering that an unauthorised overdaft, however small, can end up costing more than a "payday loan" once bank charges are factored in. Some clients have gone overdrawn by coppers and have been well and truly screwed by the bank so something needs to be done about that as well.
    Please, if you are in debt or worried, ignore the ads and go to your CAB.
    Great Post, very thought provoking, Suex

  19. I have also noted that in the larger supermarkets there is a dedicated section for "ethnic" foods whether this is Polish, Indian, Chinese etc. In the larger Tescos and Sainsbury's the tins of chick peas, kidney beans and other beans are all significantly cheaper in these sections than their own brands in the normal aisles. Also things like tinned tomatoes, dried lentils etc are cheaper as well.

  20. We have a lot of Asian and Oriental supermarkets here and I love shopping in them for the exotic looking fruit and veg. As you say, they are cheaper than a normal supermarket.

    Oh this blasted two word Word Verification is driving me demented!

  21. oh I know - it's awful isn't it ? I'm having to have two or three goes just to get in !! I can't read the ****** things ! I've had a long number too ! for goodness sake, we're not trying to break into the Bank of England here.

  22. Thank you all for your thoughts on money lending. I can only think that the ammount of company's dishing out the cash, then ripping people off to get it back, is going to escalate. I always try to discourage people from borrowing, no matter how skint you are there is always a way to sorting it out without resorting to digging yourself further into debt. Wean makes a fair point, what else do you do if you have no money. I would like to think that there are other places to go to for advice, such as the CAB. This should be the first port of call for those wanting help. We need to discourage people from thinking it's ok to borrow more, it is never ok to borrow more. The only way up and out of the hole you find yourself in is to cut your spending.

    Hello Mick from Cumbria, thank you for your comment. I browse the continental section in the supermarkets, you are right, you can find things cheaper there. However, last week I was looking for tinned chick peas and they had removed them. Also the bottles of lemon juice used to be cheaper but the price is creeping up. I shall keep checking back though, they won't beat me.

  23. Ha ha Wean, you just made me laugh. Those verification words and letters are a right pain. I can't make out what half of them are. I guess and hope for the best, expecting to get my hand slapped because it's wrong.

  24. My goodness, isn`t it dreadful that we have so many money lending facilities in our towns now, they seam to grow on every corner. I never ever would be tempted to use any of them. My dad has always warned us as kids never to get ourselves into dept, as you shall never get out of it again. It`s a viscious circle of robbing Peter to pay Paul. I shall not be tempted, no matter how hard up I`d be. And there were times when I was truely in need, and still would stay well clear.
    As for the tinned beans and other pulses, I prefer to put a little preparation time in and cook my dried pulses from scratch. Dried pulses are cheap and I`ve just had a blog post on them at my site. Anyone interested is welcome to pop across and visit my blog.

  25. MQ - those continental aisles seem to run promotions tied in with festivals such as ramadan when many products were at rock bottom prices - tins of chick peas at 20p for example. If you check out hot UK deals - the grocery section - people post deals like this that they have found in supermarkets.

  26. Hi Ilona,
    I am preparing a course on consumer credit for students my college is planning to take on sometime later in the year. I want to explain the reality of consumer credit rather than simply the legal facts so I plan to have them read your page. It is exactly the sort of thing that I think will help them. While I have been researching I have even managed to find things with 16000% APR. It is quite ludicrous what they get away with. I think the big problem is that English law has for a long time tried not to regulate things too heavily because traditional British sense of fair play was seen to look after us. Maybe it is time that a change was made.

  27. Hi Harry, Thank you for your comment. If I can be of any assistance at all just shout. I think it is vitally important to educate our youngsters in personal finance, it's the only way we are going to break the stranglehold that the banks and financial institutions have over us.

    I am not that knowledgeable about interest rates and percentages, but even I can recognise a crap deal. Unfortunately some people are so wrapped up in their quest to keep up appearances that they totally ignore the ludicrous interest rates and sign up anyway. It must be stopped, people must be told. Use anything you like from my blog. Regards, Ilona


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