Tag Archives: credit card

Consumerism and Wealth Cumulation

I’ve been controlling our spendings quite closely for the past few months. You may say about 6 months ago I went through my financial awakening. At the moment I have a much better understanding of what my assets are and how much wealth I’ve accumulated. The fact my finances are under control makes me feel much better and inspires me to do many things I didn’t think of doing before. I am much more motivated to think creatively more often and take pleasure in finding solutions that avoid spending money at all or at least save me a fair amount.

The reason I looking closely at my finances was because me and my girlfriend were getting more and more into debt and had no plan of paying it all back. A few simple steps helped us pay back around £2000 credit card balance within 4 months. I’m proud of this even more because this happened towards the end of the year and beginning of 2010 so Christmas time when we had to buy gifts and pay for my travel expenses.

When I read financial advice blogs most give the same advice to pay back your debts, save for emergency fund, control your spending and take advantage of compound interest. These come in varying orders but in general they are mostly the same. What very few of them mention is what is the purpose of this tactics and as some of them suggest that you may become wealthy at some point they fail to mention what you do with this accumulated wealth and all the assets.

I guess some of these people are trying to save enough for retirement. Which is probably a very good idea knowing that your health may be failing you by that time and you may no longer be able to work. But is this it?

This guy managed to become financially independent at the age of 30. This is so cool and I can’t help to think it must feel great not to be forced to go to work every day. Which is a quite an achievement.

But I can’t help to think “what if”. I keep asking myself what am I going to do once I’ve accumulated enough assets to be able to quit my job.

– What if my assets lose they’re value suddenly?

– What if I’m unable to enjoy the value of my assets for whatever reason?

– What if aliens invade the earth?

These questions make me feel the whole idea of wealth accumulation is flawed. I mean it’s OK as long as everything is fine. But if something goes wrong globally you’re as fucked as everybody else. You may say this applies equally to those who have accumulated lots of assets and those who haven’t so what’s the problem? Well, the problem for me is I’d rather enjoy living my short life before something bad happens either to myself or to all of us. I know I’m a fatalist :D.

Let’s think about the world’s economy for a while and how it functions. The global village is growing in strength. Despite the credit crunch we still seem to be doing quite well thanks to the global interconnections. If one place is short of corn it can be easily delivered via plane. So places where nothing is produced may be abundant within the next few years. They will be full of people whose only skills are related to administration of goods and funds while the production is taken care of in other less developed locations. If for any reason transportation of goods becomes impossible these people will be in big trouble – you can’t feed on money!

In my opinion the world economy is in a highly deregulated state at the moment. We rely on so many factors to sustain our lives at the moment such as energy and food supplies it is fairly easy to imagine the whole population can be controlled by suppliers of products we rely on to live.

To me financial independence is an illusion. You are only financially free while living in a society that can only survive as long as the economy keeps growing. Once it starts to decline the results will be fatal.

The answer to this for me is self sustainability i.e. a state in which you can rely solely on your own skills to survive. Unfortunately, I’m very far from that at the moment. Being stable financially is still an important goal for me. But let’s not forget money isn’t everything and remember to live our lives while living within our means.

8 Ways to Get Cheap Ryanair Flights

Some travellers hate Ryanair for it’s user unfriendly policies, poor customer support and millions of other things. I travel often and it’s not usual for me to fly 5 times a year. That’s at least 10 flights each year. I’ve learned to travel as cheap as possible with Ryanair. Although they do have cheapest fares on all of their European routes, they often charge for

Ryanair

If you love it like I do, here’s 10 ways to enjoy your trips even more.

Our cheapest fares are available, on www.ryanair.com, for passengers who travel at off peak times (after 12.00 Monday to 12.00 Thursday and after 12.00 on a Saturday). Our lowest fares generally require an advance purchase of 14 days; however this can vary up to 28 days. Passengers can search for our lowest fares by checking the flexible search option box when selecting your departure and destination airport.

1. Don’t pay for baggage

I can’t  stress enough how important it is for me to travel light. One bag is all I need. Travelling with Ryanair you’ll need to pay for any item of luggage apart from your hand luggage. I’ve referenced One Bag a lot of times on this blog. It may not work the first time but eventually you’ll become a one-bag master. It takes a little thought, planning and patience. But it pays well. Both me and my girlfriend have travelled light for the past year. It gives you freedom, lets you enjoy your holiday even more and it’s cheaper.

If you buy 5 round trip tickets a year,  you’ll save £300 as opposed to anyone usually travelling with one item of checked bag and a staggering £1000 in comparison to those usually taking 2 suitcases. £300 means at least one more round trip for me and my girlfriend. Alternatively, you can spend this money on high quality lightweight clothes that will keep you warm and will dry quickly.

2. Don’t pay for insurance

If you travel often get an annual travel insurance that will cost about 15 pounds. Again, you’ll save about £45 on 5 round trips and can chose the cover that suits you best.

3. Don’t pay for priority boarding

Don't pay for priority boarding

Don't pay for priority boarding

 

 

 

Theoretically, all passengers could buy priority boarding and would all be standing in the same queue. It’s 8 pounds per return trip = 4 pints!

4. Don’t pay for anything on board

Raffle tickets, coke and smoke-free cigarettes are all great fun and help fund the cheap tickets. Thank you guys 🙂

 

Don't buy anything on board

Don't buy anything on board

 

 

5. Don’t pay credit card charges

Ryanair charges ridiculous amounts for all credit and debit cards apart from Visa Electron. Here’s more on how to obtain one.

6. Keep an eye out on offers

Ryanair’s special offers website is useful sometimes but I prefer Skyscanner.net. You’ll have to buy directly via Ryanair’s website anyway. But their search engine really gives you the best overview of the cheap flight offers. If you’re really determined you can experiment with various destinations and connecting flights combinations. Don’t forget to check out the guide to Sleeping in Airports. Sleeping in an airport may not sound like an great idea but it can help take prices of your tickets really low.

Remember to check other airlines for better access to cities. Ryanair’s strategy is to minimize costs by flying to unpopular remote airports.

7. Booking techniques

Booking in advance is usually the best way of ensuring you’ll get your tickets at a reasonable price. Prices may go up nearer to the departure but they also may go down. Ryanair’s sell outs are usually 2 weeks prior to the departure which ideal for last minute fans.

Also tickets tend to be least expensive in November, January and June. Yes, June is the beginning of the holiday season, this is when days are longest and weather is reasonably good. For some regions like the Mediterranean, Spain and France it’ll probably be too hot anyway for those used to the weather on the Isles.

8. Check your destination

Before paying for your £10 return check how easy and cheap it’ll be to reach your final destination. Ryanair prefers low budget small and remote airports that charge little and are unpopular with other airlines. Some of their flights arrive late at night when there is no other transport available. And a 50 mile ride in a cab is expensive everywhere in the world. Always sum up the cost of your flight and airport transport before you buy any tickets. It may be cheaper to pay more for air travel.