How Important is Money in a Man?

How much emphasis do we put on money when searching for an appropriate suitor?  Is it a factor inbred into our nervous systems when looking for our prince (or pauper)?  Oh none I hear you cry?  Money doesn’t matter it’s the person inside and that’s all that matters you say?  OK I believe you….  However there are of course out there obvious gold-diggers who wouldn’t even entertain the idea of dating a man who didn’t earn a comfortable 3 holidays a year, 80k and above.  These women are the obvious kind of money orientated women who believe that St Tropez and Dubai is part and parcel of having an affluent boyfriend.  These women you will usually find propped up against a pole or on Sugardaddie.com searching for a meal ticket to feed their 5 kids.  These are not the lawyers and barristers of the world, oh no.  These are the women who couldn’t make their own money and are looking for someone who does.

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Diamonds – A Girl’s Best Friend?

Nonetheless you don’t need to be so obvious with the wealthy attributes to realise what you will put up with and what you won’t.  There are plenty of my girlfriends who are more than happy to date men who earn less than them and I feel that is very commendable.  How much less is anyone’s guess?  Many men I know don’t feel comfortable with that especially if the wage gap is more than about 10k.  However many man would relish in this prospect of having a 21 century business like woman on their arm.  However there are a number of my girlfriends who have a strict policy of how much a guy should earn and what type of car he drives.  Mercedes tick; Renault Clio keep driving.  They believe that a man should pay for the restaurant, for the holiday and for the jewels.  If they expect all this from their partner then they should not be expected to be treated like an equal.  Instead expect to perform favours on tap and be dropped for someone younger, thinner and prettier in 6-8 months.

Some women consider it merely wanting to feel ‘looked after’.  I use the term loosely because unless you are a bed wetting 5 year old then being able to look after yourself should be second nature in a grown up’s world.  This can boil back to traditions where men were seen as the breadwinner and the woman stayed at home baking bread and baring children.  However in the day and age where women want to be seen as more and more equal especially when it comes to money, to only date men who earn more than you seems rather un equal.  It reverts back to the man being in control and the woman a submissive to his wallet.  It’s no more than what a lady of the night does, sleeps with men for money.   Gold digging women are just a glorified tanned version of a street walker who’s possibly trying to make a better life for herself and her children.

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Peter Jones – Does Money Make the Man?

For all you ladies out there earning a respectable 25k and above, would the idea of entertaining a man on a meagre 15k salary excite you?  Probably not no, does that mean you should dump him?  Probably not no.  The questions you need to ask yourself before hitting delete are reasons why he is earning what he’s earning?  Is it lack of ambition or just a situation where he is trying to better himself and has to work his way up from the bottom.  Simply putting complete emphasis on how much the guy earns is very shallow.  Ok so we may look unimpressed when he rolls up in a Primark suit and pays for dinner with a voucher off of his bus ticket but he could be a really sweet guy who believes there is more to life than money.  He may rather be doing a job that he loves for less pay than work in hideous office with bonuses, suits and company laptops.  If that is the case then don’t let money get in the way of true happiness.  However if he is just a lazy stoner working in Burger King, then him and the Renault Clio can keep driving.

Images reproduced from mining.com and principalbloggy.files.wordpress.com

Are Bankers Bonuses Justified?

"financial crisis", "banking", "bonus culture", "bankers"

The answer of course is never as simple as a yes or a no!  The question comprises of a highly convoluted set of circumstances and factors that some bright academic one day might use to write his doctorate. You’ll know who he is by the one who everyone will be avoiding sitting next to at a dinner party.

First let’s remove the political bandwagon from the question.  Here’s how I imagine a conversation went in either a Coalition or Labour Party PR meeting:

MP1 : We need more votes.

PR Man: Well, OK what we need is something all the public are angry about then jump on that and promise to support them to the hilt and be equally angry.

MP2: Like the expenses scandal?

PR Man: Yes but their anger directed at someone other than us.

MP1: Then we’ll get more votes?

PR Man: If the public see we’re as angry as they are and promise to change it, then yes.

MP1: Won’t they see through that?

PR Man: Maybe but they’re too angry to notice.

MP2: But isn’t the government in charge meant to ensure the mess doesn’t happen in the first place and ensure economic stability? Isn’t it kind of our fault as well?

MP1: You just don’t understand politics do you. Bankers witch hunt it is……

I not suggesting the banking community are blameless in any way, shape or form. Some were reckless, in cases,  some were greedy and had no proper self-regulation or forethought about the future. Some however were very good at their jobs and through no fault of their own found themselves in a global economic meltdown. So let’s not drown them all just yet and burn them at the stake. The last thing I want to see is small children walking around dressed in smart pinstripe suits on Halloween.

I could go on for pages and pages describing how bonuses can and cannot be justified. Neither of us want that! So I’ll try and be as brief as possible, providing an simple overview.

Firstly, the bottom line is that bonuses are performance related pay and part of the remuneration package in many different businesses in the UK and around the world. From call centre staff and sportsmen, to management, it’s an accepted part of many different professions.

Now let’s remove the amount of the bonus from the argument. Note, I’m not talking justification yet, just taking the amount of it. The bonuses awarded to bankers are in some cases a huge amount of money to you and I, millions,  some might say an obscene amount. (Or in my new currency: one Tamara Ecclestone bathtub) It’s an amount that you and I can possibly only dream of earning.

Does the amount make it wrong? No, I don’t think so.  If that’s part of an agreed pay package and comparable in that line of work then that in itself can’t be wrong.  A top footballer can earn £1 million a month. Is it an immense amount of money? Yes. Is it fair? Maybe. Is it wrong? No, it’s part of an accepted part of our capitalist society and it’s better than the alternative (another debate that we won’t go into now). I’m not suggesting that they’re the same thing or comparative jobs. I mean I have no idea how well a banker plays football… probably really rubbish and so they would end up playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Should a banker be rewarded for individual performance even if the company is failing or in serious debt? Let’s take a different example:

I’m the top call centre agent and have to achieve 100,000 sales in a year in order to get a 20% bonus of my salary.

Now let’s run through some questions:

If I achieve my targets and through no fault of my own the company is doing badly, should I still get the bonus?

If the company through external pressure refuse my bonus I worked really hard for, what incentive is there for me to perform at my best in the future or even stay at the company?

If the agent performed actions that were reckless and put the company at further risk to achieve that bonus should they still have it? Should they be fired?

A few questions to think about there and banks have to be careful in future that their targets set for bonuses do not force or encourage reckless activity in order to achieve them.

The governments around the world need to put into place more rules, regulations and controls to ensure the global banking crisis never takes place again. The banks in turn need to ensure that their bonuses and targets reward sustained stable growth and profitability.

Do we, the public, have a say in bankers bonuses?

A bank is a business. A business is owned by shareholders. The directors of that businesses have a duty to the shareholders and to run that business profitably. It is the shareholders that have certain power and rights over that business and can, if there are enough of them call votes, if necessary to change that business.

For banks such as RBS and Lloyds we all are now part shareholders. So do we have a right to speak against the bonuses awarded? Yes we do, its our money invested in those banks. However the great economic genius of their time, my grandmother, once said ‘don’t cut your nose to spite your face.’

The thing about a banker witch hunt is that they will often drown an innocent banker and one that could be the ideal candidate to get us all out of the crisis quicker and on the road to recovery. What people have to remember is if we want them to perform to the best of their ability we have to offer incentives, like their competitors will be doing. If we don’t do this and in some cases publicly force them to give up their bonus, then, like workers in any businesses, like you or I, they will look elsewhere and we will end up with the average mediocre people running our banks instead.

Should bankers have been awarded their bonuses before the banking crisis? In hindsight perhaps not but we must move forward. We have to reward those who will use their intelligence, knowledge and experience (including lessons learnt) to safely take the banks back to recovery. So before we cry out how unfair it is that bankers should get such high bonuses when we are struggling, we need to also think about the ramifications of not rewarding them.

Image reproduced from news.sky.com

Beauty: The Math

Why it’s OK to splurge on the important stuff if you don’t mind scrimping on the essentials!

It is true to say that I do love me a beauty product. I’ve never quite got the shoe thing though, I know for instance that Posh Spice is quite happy giving herself bunions pouring her feet into stilettos which could frankly kill a man in her quest to be the most stylish woman on the planet, but I have a confession to make… I prefer flats. There I’ve said it! And for me browsing the likes of Boots, Superdrug and the various online purveyors of beauty products is what I can only imagine shoe-addicts feel like in Jimmy Choo. They are my Mecca and I could happily spend half my salary on products with scientific sounding ingredients in them that promise to make me ‘glow’, ‘sparkle’ and ‘baby soft’, and when I was starting out in my career and not earning very much money at all I probably did spend half my wage on them, and that isn’t sensible.

So, how do I manage my love of all things beauty related without going overdrawn every month? Simple, I do the math and it goes like this:

Add - the beauty products you can’t live without

I sometimes find myself using the term ‘false economy’ to justify my purchases to friends who have less disposable income than I do and would balk at the prospect of paying over £20 on a lip and cheek tint. This is because every other (usually cheaper) lip tint I’ve had the pleasure of using has been a letdown in comparison to my trusted Benetint. That’s not to say they were not decent tints, most were quite reasonable in fact, but for me Benetint is a legend amongst tints. It is the Godfather of all tints and I would rather be parted from my childhood teddy bear than I would my Benetint.

Add – your (non budget-busting) essentials 

For me it’s things like shower gel, sure there are brands and scents and even formulas I like more than others but I am happy to go with whatever is on offer to fund my tint addiction and ensure that I can buy the foundation which makes me look like I’ve had ten hours sleep every night.

Minus – lots of savings from being bargain savvy

Most stores regularly have great offers on like buy one get one free (BOGOF), 3 for 2 or ‘save 1/3’ etc. on tons of beauty products. This is a good opportunity to make some big savings on the things you needed to buy anyway. Even better, online stores often have an ‘offers’ page which lists the products that are currently on offer. Need antiperspirant and not fussy about which one you end up with? Go on the ‘offers’ page and see if there are any going cheap!

Plus, these days most online companies offer free delivery if you spend over a certain amount (check the website before you spend hours filling your basket to avoid disappointment though), so make yourself a list and do your toiletries shop monthly or bimonthly. If you are struggling to make the minimum order value needed to ensure you are eligible for free delivery (usually about £40) and you have a spare drawer, then think about stocking up on the items which you know you will use and that aren’t perishable – that way you won’t get stung on delivery charges.

Points are another great way of saving money and all the main loyalty schemes on the high street are free to join so there really isn’t anything to lose. I spend roughly £50 on toiletries and beauty products per month and I can sometimes amass £50 worth of points in a 6 month period (Tip: watch out for points events and make sure you use the coupons they send/give you for extra points and savings).

And so she lived happily ever after with perfectly tinted lips, no less

And so with beauty it really isn’t true that the more you spend the better quality product you get. Some of my favourite products cost less than a fiver (and even less if I buy them on offer), but sometimes you find a product which is a little bit more expensive but just works, and in those cases I’m happy spending more knowing I’m getting more. That’s the beauty of beauty though – it’s like a sweetie shop for grown-ups. So experiment, play with the testers and work out what you like…. Then wait for a points event and stock up!

Image reproduced from pmtips.net

Gardening on a Budget

Gardening has become a low priority in the current tough economic climate. Recent research shows that a staggering 47% of us spent nothing at all on our outdoor areas in 2010. Some people have saved money by going from green to grey – covering their gardens in concrete or decking to cut down on the expense of planting. However, there are plenty of ways to cut the cost of gardening and still have a beautiful garden you can enjoy. Here are our top tips to help you keep digging your garden without digging into your pockets.

10 Top Tips To Save Money When Gardening
1. Plan where you want to put things in your garden
2. Make a list before shopping at the garden centre
3. Plant permanents rather than annuals that need replacing each year
4. Take cuttings
5. Buy plants after they’ve flowered when they’re cheaper
6. Buy younger plants as they are cheaper than more mature specimens
7. Sow from seed which requires patience but is less expensive than buying trays of seedlings
8. Buy seeds from discount stores like Lidl, Poundland, Wilkinson
9. Car boot sales are great for cheap plants and tools
10. Make your own compost

Finally, a good way to cut costs when gardening is to make a friend of a fellow gardener. That way, you can swap your unwanted seeds and plants for those you like and profit from bulk buy discounts when purchasing supplies and plants for both your gardens.

If you have any hints or tips on saving money when gardening, please add a comment below and share your ideas with our readers.

Image courtesy of ehow.com

Should We Expect Less This Christmas?

There was a recent report done about the number of chocolates that you would be getting in a tin of Rosesâ„¢ chocolates for Christmas this year, which showed that on average, there would be two less chocolates per tin in the year of 2011. Of course, the price has not dropped and consumers are suggesting that corporations, which are trying to make themselves more money, are ripping them out of more money. However, with the current health problems our country is in, with an incredulous amount of overweight children, teens and adults across the board, is it not sensible for the levels of chocolaty, sugary goods to be reduced at the time of year where we consume the most?

Of course, two chocolates per box is not a fantastic start. If there were ten chocolates less, then perhaps it would make a real difference to a weight-gain situation over the Christmas period. However, that would lead to a greater uproar than has already been received. Therefore two seems like a reasonable start.

There is always that moment, which I believe most people have had, whereupon they reach for the last chocolate because they “don’t want to see it go to waste”. Imagine now, that that last chocolate was two, three, four chocolates prior. Admittedly it is not a gargantuan change, however it is a start. Now take in to consideration that people overbuy for Christmas, for those just-in-case moments. Just in case there is too heavy a snowfall to leave the house. Just in case all of the family decide to come over last-minute. Just in case the shop runs out the next time we come. There is always going to be an overhaul at Christmas, which needs to be eaten. It seems fair enough to take just two chocolates per tin out of the equation.

But then why should it stop there? Why not rear turkeys that are a few pounds lighter? Why not make Christmas cakes that are a few centimetres thinner? Why not have five mince pies per pack instead of six? And why even stop at Christmas. We could, potentially, make Easter Eggs lighter. Ration Halloween sweet-giving. Limit Valentine’s splendour. Throughout the year we could see our weight-gain intake reduce dramatically by stopping one treat earlier than we usually have.

I am not suggesting that people should be getting swindled out of a few extra pennies this Christmas, by all means the prices should be reduced if we are to get less for our money. However, I am of the firm opinion that our country, as it stands, is in a bad way. There are too many cases of overweight, leading on to obese, people – of all ages – throughout our country. And if we want to make a start at changing ourselves, a concept that usually plays its part with people after the New Year celebrations, would it not make good sense to lighten the load we need to remove, before we even make a start?

Image reproduced from thegrocer.co.uk