Wednesday, 19 August 2015

One to watch

The girls and I have just sat together and watched a fascinating programme about Britain's Secret Spending Habits. It was on BBC1 so you can still catch it on the iplayer if you are interested.  

(image from

We immediately identified with the couple with four children [pictured above] who live on £25K in a thrifty manner, and could see how they did need to stretch their meals with pulses and rummage in charity shops.  There were comments about them spending 10% of their income on children's activities each year, and I think that I would have questioned that too - but each to their own.

There were some spendy types, some of whom could afford it and others who couldn't.  I think my eyes would have popped out of my head if the checkout person had asked me for £1,300 as she did when one entrepreneur did a spot of clothes shopping with her stylist.

The girls' eyes were really opened when Anne Robinson went to have a chat with the Baroness though, who came from a long line of aristocratic politicians - and I thought she was the bee's knees as they say - yes, she had antiques, but she had inherited them, and she wore "posh" clothes, but the outfit she wore to Baroness Thatcher's funeral was £16 from eBay - and she had lots of things she had found on eBay at very reasonable prices. She didn't give a hoot for labels, and put her Aldi coffee in a Fortnum's tin because she had been given the tin in the past and liked it - good for her!  She was down to earth and thrifty - dinner was pigeon her son had shot at the weekend, and she was making marmalade with an old pair of laddered tights......

I thought that the programme was interesting and well-made. I have not been a fan of Anne Robinson but she was able to ask some very pertinent questions, and I shall have to try to remember to watch the second half of the programme next week.


SusanM said...

I must watch this. I've also been enjoying the programmes about education, especially the one where the Chinese teachers implement Chinese teaching methods, and also the one about private and state school pupils and staff swapping places.

Best of luck with the GCSE results today - I think YFG is waiting for hers. Our children are now back at school x

Morgan said...

@SusanM - I'll have a look for the education ones as they sound interesting too - thanks for sharing that. Yes, we are off to get the GCSE results this morning!

Sue said...

I really enjoyed this programme, and yes the Baroness came over as the most sensible and level headed amongst them all.

If only the young girl on benefits could go and spend a day with her and realise that yes, you can 'look and live like a footballers wife' but for much much less money if you shop wisely, put your cheaper food in unidentifiable boxes, jars etc if you have to and get your 'labels' from charity shops instead of the 'right' place.

I'm looking forward to the next episode too.

The Squirrel Family said...

I watched it too , Sue why does she want to look like a footballers life , that in itself speaks volumes about our society

I too loved the Baroness and had to laugh when Anne announced she had to have designer labels as she dresses for tv, the baroness is dressing for the house of lords!!

The family of 6 the lady slightly got my back up she was very outspoken about the other families affairs but didn't like it when the shoe was on the other foot . Overall a good watch and better than the benefits bashing programmes

Morgan said...

@TheSquirrelFamily - yes, I think you are right in that the lady did get rather defensive when the chap came into her house and started to pull her finances apart. I think they are struggling in their own minds, and she had the opinion that perhaps the chap had it rather easy - and I would agree! He was swanning around playing pool in his man cave whilst his poor wife was out the door at 5am to catch the train to London every day. I wouldn't take part in one of these programmes for the world, because I want to do my best, but I don't want to do what someone else thinks I SHOULD do, if you see what I mean - and I think that the title of the programme is very apt when it is Britain's SECRET spending: we don't discuss the minutiae of our spending with our real life friends most of the time. My readers on here know more about my finances than anyone in real life does! You are absolutely right when you question why someone aspires to be like a footballer's wife, too - fame and celebrity have got in such a muddle these days - you used to be famous for DOING things but it seems that you can have celebrity these days just for being related to someone [like Pippa Middleton] or married to a footballer - or by being outspoken!

Angela said...

I hadnt watched this, but now you have got me interested! will catch it on iPlayer. But I am not sure I would want my OWN spending habits scrutinised on TV [esp if Ann Robinson was doing it!] Thanks for the post

Frugally challenged said...

After I’d read your post I downloaded the programme and watched it – fascinating.

The two families where a parent went to look at each other’s spending showed the nub of the issue. Each criticised the other but there was little sign that either had learnt anything from the other although it is possible that this simply wasn’t shown. The chap picked up on the £2,500 worth of children’s activities but was happy to spend £5000 on his own solo trip to Peru!

I felt that the truly interesting case was the Baroness who sat in the House of Lords wearing Mother of the Bride outfits she’d picked up on e bay. She lived in a beautiful home but rather than a sense of entitlement she seemed to have an attitude of stewardship.

Morgan said...

@FC - yes, you are quite right, she did have the stewardship frame of mind. She recognised that the furniture, the paintings, etc were hers to treasure for now, but were to be cherished for future generations to enjoy as well. I'd quite forgotten about the chap's trip to Peru - I thought that was ridiculous, if I am honest!

Meanqueen said...

I caught this on the i player, and found it very interesting. It happens all the time when one person thinks their spending is normal, and the other thinks it is frivolous. No two people have exactly the same values and priorities. The kids doing all the activities was a bit extravagant, but I like the way she shopped in charity shops. As for that lazy bloke who did hardly anything while his wife commuted to London each day, one day the stress will get to her, and he will need to get off his backside. Each to their own I suppose.

I received a phone call from a researcher for the programme, obviously I didn't match their criteria as I wasn't picked. I think London based companies mainly focus on the south anyway, they don't like to travel too far for the filming.