Prepare for the downturn

An old saying by Naguib Mahfouz: “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.”

As I have said many times before, the quality of the decisions you take will be the result of the answers you get to the questions you ask. Presupposing you have asked quality questions and have received quality answers.

So, what are you doing about the economy?

If the Government and big business are estimating that the downturn will only last until 2010, the wise question to ask yourself is “Do you believe them?” Previous experience of dealing with people in these types of organisations should provide you with the correct answer.

There are two stages in the preparations you need to contemplate. First to start reducing costs which do not make too much of an impact on your standard of living. Intelliplugs that turn off everything in order from your computer installation and television and home movie setup so you save on stand-by electricity. For a one off payment of £77 for three of these special plugs we are saving £121.76 a year at present prices. (We have two computer installations and a TV installation.)

We have purchased a Remoska and a slow cooker so we can still enjoy meat but (a) we can buy less expensive cuts and (b) we save on oven electricity. They will both have paid for themselves in about ten months.

We have reduced our wine purchases by around £24 a case (£2 off a bottle) and could reduce this further as we discover special offers. We have reduced drinking to the weekends other than special occasions which will reduce costs further, make us healthier, and make us feel superior 🙂

We will not restrict our “healthy eating regime” but do look for the special price reductions at our local supermarket, and at the “nearly out of date” shelves.

“Now you’re cooking” is a good computer software program and we have over 300,000 free Internet recipes to choose from. The program can be used free although the price is only around £12 for the full program.

What I am trying to say here is, we are looking at general ways of saving wasteful expenditure without actually denying ourselves too much. We don’t need to now but that is no reason not to ensure we improve the amount we save every month in case things take a turn for the worse.

We have programmed our computer calendar to remind us every six months to investigate gas and electricity prices, and on the alternate quarterly six month period to check broadband costs and telephone costs. This means that every quarter we will be looking at a further way to reduce expenditure.

Phase two will only be brought in if things really become bad. I don’t think they will – but if they do, then phase two will mean real austerity to the Taylor household. But the important think is, we will survive. Will you?

There’s an old saying in Japan, “Success is always due to spending 80% of your efforts on preparation.”

Do you have the following telephone numbers in your cellphone?

  • Local police station – for those events that aren’t 999 worthy but still important.
  • Bank(s) – for questions on your account and stopping payment on cheques.
  • Customer service for your credit cards – in case your credit cards are stolen.
  • Family doctor and dentist – for those medical emergencies that require your doctor’s assistance. Having Your dentist’s emergency number is a must, having a dental disaster on the weekend is horrific!
  • Car insurance broker – for car related disasters.
  • Home insurance broker – for home related disasters.
  • Private health Insurance customer service – if you have private insurance – for pre-qualification calls and insurance questions. Helpful when you’re at the hospital and run into problems.
  • Children’s school – somehow, some way, you’ll call them sooner or later.
  • Pharmacist – useful for any questions you have about your medications and for phoning in refills.
  • Utility emergency numbers – for when you are out and about and a neighbour rings up with a problem. Do you have your water, gas and electricity numbers to hand?

Have I left anything off? E-mail me and I will extend the list.


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