Thursday, December 04, 2008

Doing my unpatriotic duty

There's been a lot of talk about shopping "up north" to save some cash this Christmas season. One tells us to tighten our belts and "shop around", the other says we need to spend & spend locally. Is anyone listening? Few, I hope.

I usually buy Irish. I understand the benefits for businesses, their employees & ultimately the country as a whole. But when the pennies are tight & unemployment is rising towards the 10% mark, I'm being more choosey about where I spend my money like many others. A huge amount of personal debt has been accumulated by Irish people in the boom times. I have friends who have borrowed to go on holidays, bought everything from car insurance to spray tans to rounds of booze on their credit cards with interest rates of 15%+. Thankfully, most of them didn't go that step further & buy property they didn't need. I can't help but see similarities between the housing market "normalisation" & what's happening in the retail sector. A lot of the people in trouble with their mortgages were living beyond their means when they bought property on 110% mortages in their 20s when prices were inflated beyond reason. It's a similar story when it comes to the day to day spends - buying stuff we didn't need on easy credit. I'm delighted to see that people are copping on and getting wiser with their money, even if it is a case of one man's meat is another man's poison.

On Monday, I took my Xmas booklist to Easons to do a quick price comparison. 4 of the 6 books I wanted were in stock & totalled around €58. Later I did the same on Amazon, got all 6 books for around €45 including delivery. And today they arrived in pristine condition in plenty time for Xmas. I guess the thousands of us who shop online are as unpatriotic as the throngs going to Newry, but at least we've a bit more sense. If you want to save yourself some cash & some stress & don't mind losing some patriot points, shop online this Xmas.

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