Central Otago Mirror - - CLASSIFIEDS -

I’m un­der­go­ing a ter­ri­ble or­deal in my bat­tle with frit­ter­ing.

My work­place has moved into a su­per-mod­ern of­fice on top of a su­per­mar­ket.

It is now dan­ger­ously easy to put a thought like: ‘‘I fancy a sausage roll’’ into ac­tion.

Thoughts like: ‘‘Mmh, I fancy a dou­ble choco­late stout tonight’’ are com­ing with greater fre­quency now I spend my days over a nice beer se­lec­tion.

I have ex­pe­ri­enced a mas­sive de­crease in what a re­tailer would call ‘‘fric­tion’’, which is shop­ping in­dus­try jar­gon for the dif­fi­culty of buy­ing some­thing.

The greater the fric­tion, the less money peo­ple spend, so the harder re­tail­ers work to get rid of it.

When I was a nip­per, it was hard to spend money.

No-one had credit cards.

Shops shut early, and didn’t open on Sun­days.

Once the closed sign was up, you couldn’t buy any­thing.

The in­ter­net had been in­vented, but you couldn’t shop on it.

These days your lounge is a shop­ping mall when­ever there’s a screen open.

If you are awake, you can shop. Even the ac­tion of buy­ing has lost fric­tion.

Writ­ing out cheques and count­ing out cash have largely gone.

These days PINs of­ten don’t even need en­ter­ing.

If you’re too lazy to get a card out, just wave your wal­let at the ter­mi­nal.

As fric­tion di­min­ishes, peo­ple need more willpower and an­ti­con­sumer de­fence strate­gies.

Here are some of mine.

Will­ful ig­no­rance: I vir­tu­ally stopped watch­ing TV years’ ago, so I don’t see much ad­ver­tis­ing. I’m squea­mish about vi­o­lence, and bored by re­al­ity shows. I know less than I used to about things I could buy. As a re­sult, I don’t yearn for them. Cut­ting screen time re­duces con­sumer pres­sure.

Place avoid­ance: I dis­like shop­ping. I de­test malls. Re­plac­ing recre­ational shop­ping with more healthy pur­suits (walks in the bush, trips to the beach, build­ing scale mod­els of the great build­ings of the world, etc) in­creases will­ful ig­no­rance, and phys­i­cally sep­a­rates you from temp­ta­tion. Dou­ble win.

Big pic­ture think­ing: Do you want an­other shirt, or do you want a mort­gage un­til you are 72? Fair ques­tion. Is that cof­fee a cof­fee, or is it the par­tial sac­ri­fice of your early re­tire­ment? Fo­cus­ing on the big uses for money makes it eas­ier to avoid frit­ter­ing.

Hap­pi­ness fo­cus: Fo­cus on us­ing money to bring deep hap­pi­ness. Ask your­self: ’’Will knock­ing four months off the mort­gage make me Be­ware fric­tion­less spend­ing Fo­cus on spend­ing for deep hap­pi­ness

Work on your willpower

hap­pier than bring­ing for­ward the pur­chase of a new car by a year?’’ Train your­self to ask the ques­tion.

In­creas­ing per­sonal fric­tion: Many peo­ple do it. They leave their credit cards at home, or don’t carry change, if there’s a vend­ing ma­chine at work. They’re sab­o­tag­ing their abil­ity to spend.

Joy­less sneer­ing: I know it doesn’t sound very pleas­ant, and I don’t do it out loud, but I am sus­pi­cious about the per­sonal fi­nances of the best-dressed, best-housed peo­ple I know. When I find my­self in­clined to envy, I de­fend my­self with spec­u­la­tion about the state of the en­vied party’s debts.

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