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I’m not a finance professional, thus any advice or opinions I give should not be taken as professional financial advice. If you are looking for professional financial advice, seek it from a financial advisor, someone who knows what they’re talking about.
There. I said it. Are you grossed out and refuse to read on?
I used to (and still am to a certain extent, especially when cooking) be one of those people who would use a dish, cup or fork for one little bite or sip and then toss it into the sink. When we first moved into our house, I did this even more because we now had a dishwasher.
Neither my partner nor I had a dishwasher in the household growing up. I didn’t have one in my apartment either. Let me just say, along with the microwave and washing machine, the dishwasher is up there in terms of best inventions ever to save time and money. I HATED washing dishes growing up and dreaded having to wash them in my apartment kitchen sink when I got home from work. They always took up so much of my time. I never seemed to wash them right away. I always had this (and still do a bit from time to time) tendency to just let them pile up like a tower of Jenga blocks just before it topples over.
My significant other, on the other hand, would use his plate, glass or bowl more than once (maybe even three times) before deciding that it would need a wash. At first I was appalled and grossed out by this because I grew up with the notion that dishes and cups were used only once before washing. Things would get left on the counter and get automatically washed before I could even think about using them again. They were automatically assumed to be dirty. Once they were put in the sink, it was a sign that you couldn’t use it again. My dad was a bit of a clean/organized freak, so maybe that was why. That got passed on to my sister, but unfortunately not me.
She even offered to organize my house for me and that offer still stands.
When I brought this habit into the household, my partner claimed I went through way too many dishes, cups and cutlery at one time. He’d ask why our dishwasher got full so quickly and so frequently. We’re only two people. Being the practical guy he is, he would point out that rather than letting those cereal crumbs solidify on the bowl, I could have easily given the bowl a quick rinse and use it the next morning.
Common sense, right?
It makes common sense and financial sense too. I wear my clothes (with the exception of undergarments, workout gear and socks) more than once if they don’t stink and have been barely worn, then why can’t I do that with the plates I eat on? Less stuff used to be eaten with, hence less things going in the dishwasher. The dishwasher is used less frequently, thus saving us money on our electricity/water bill.
It took a while like it does to change any habit, but I now often rinse my stuff a few times before throwing it into the dishwasher (although not as much as my partner). Sometimes if someone eats dinner before the other person comes home, due to after work activities, the other person will just use that same plate. No muss, no fuss.
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The following is a guest post by NatWest.
You probably have an image in your head. A rural wooden shack, a vegetable garden, some funny smells and conversation peppered with the names of Kropotkin, Bergman and Marx. These are the people who chose to live off the grid, away from regular civilisation and probably keep all their money under their mattress. How true this image is, is debatable, however you might be surprised to know that there are a lot more people than you might imagine who don’t go in for the whole bank account thing, whether by choice or not.
An article in Time magazine in November 2012 looked at this precise phenomenon and revealed that as much as one in nine American households don’t have current accounts. A lot of the time this isn’t strictly an ideological issue, it is more invidious than that – it’s a fiscal one. People with less money are less likely to open a bank account. In households with incomes of less than $15,000 a year, 28 per cent have no bank account.
Some of the reasons that Time gives for this occurrence include a lack of time to bank. With long working hours and even longer commutes some people never have a chance to see the inside of a bank, have a lack of trust in banks, and suffer a lack of financial literacy; as in some people don’t understand the costs involved in having a bank account.
In the UK the figures aren’t nearly as high; it currently stands at about 5 per cent for low-income families, down from between 20 – 25 per cent in the 1990s. Worldwide though, the figures are quite high. According to Businessweek 2.5 billion adults in the world – approximately half – don’t have a bank account. Again this appears to be predominantly a financial issue. Two-thirds of those polled said they simply didn’t have enough money to bank. In other cases it was because the banks were too far away or that it was too expensive to use them.
Surprisingly though there are some inroads being made in the way poorer nations use their money. Sixteen per cent of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa have used a mobile phone to pay bills or send money in the past year while two-thirds of adults in Kenya have received payments by phone.
If you suddenly decide not to put your money in the bank at some point in the future you might hit a few problems, some of which you might not have factored in. For instance, how would you go about paying bills? You could probably work something out with your landlord but what about electricity and heating? There aren’t too many companies who are going to except cash in hand.
Then there’s the salary issue. Unless you’re very lucky (or your business is a little unorthodox) then this will definitely cause some problems. Need the internet? You’ll probably need a bank account for that. Student loan? Same deal.
How about a credit score? It’s going to be pretty hard getting yourself a mortgage, credit card or loan without a credit history. Never having a bank account would give you the credit score of a homeless ghost (Nick Miller style).
Still even with all these issues there are some unusual characters out there who will, for reasons that are entirely their own, feel that stuffing their money under a mattress and cookie jars is better than putting it safely in a bank. To each their own.