Friday, 6 January 2017

Rent rant...

I didn’t expect to dry so early in the New Year, but it’s hard to think of anything amusing to write about today. In fact it’s hard to think about anything to write about, so as always I’ve just decided to hit the keyboard trail and see what comes out.

The highlight of my day was that my car insurance renewal came through this morning. For the first time the company I went with last year quoted me lower than they charged me last tme AND lower than the quotes on the compare site that bloody bloke with the long curly moustache sings about. It was even lower that the quote THEY quoted me on the compare sight – just how that works I have no idea. I’m not complaining though.

As I looked at the renewal I realised for the first time that it is 2017. Yes, it seems that for almost a week I’ve still been living in 2016 and 2016 was a bloody horrible place to live, so just why I’ve been clinging on to it I have no idea.

Back in the day I found it really hard to remember to date my cheques with the New Year’s date. The cheques I wrote usually had my initials scribbled against the year until at least the end of February. But who writes cheques these days? I’m not even sure where my cheque book is, although I know that I still have one. I miss cheques. There was something about signing my name to guarantee payment that made me feel as important as the governor of the Bank of England. I doubt that the governor would like me very much though. In all my life I've never had a cheque bounce or even had to use my overdraft facility. I keep my account in credit to avoid charges, so there isn't much profit in me.

Just when did the banks become more interested in making money than looking after their customers? It was probably always so, but it never felt like and the bank manager was such a jolly nice chap. Now when you visit the bank (if you can find one) the tellers don't want to take your money directly, hate giving change and constantly ask if you want insurance, a new mortgage, another credit card, or fries with that. I put off online banking for years, but now - simply to avoid running the rail - I use it all the time.

I didn't even have a personal credit card until a couple of years ago and I really hate using it. I know that there are good reasons sometimes for having one, but it doesn't feel quite right to me somehow. I feel guilty using the plastic, almost like I'm stealing rather than buying, and I have no idea what my credit rating is. Given that I pay my credit card off each month, don’t buy things on long-term credit, and don’t publically appear on the electoral list, I doubt that it is very good. Of course if I paid off the minimum payment each month and had cars and furniture and clothes on what I still think of as ‘hire purchase’ my credit rating would be great. Strange world when you are rewarded for being reckless with other people’s money. I’d never make a banker.

I don’t understand how some things work today. People lease cars instead of buying them and the days of renting seem to be back big-style. You can rent TV’s, white goods, furniture, mobile phones and of course more and more people rent the house they live in because they have no option. I often wonder if we are returning to the fifties and sixties where pretty much everything was rented or bought on tick. Times have changed and nobody rents their radio any more, even though they would probably still replace the valves for free, but there are companies that will rent you a computer. I can see how not owning anything may make some people feel free (particularly if you are a Buddhist monk) but for me it would just raise my already high levels of insecurity Grasshopper.

I'm very fortunate I guess - and with that goodnight.

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