last of the big spenders

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Think back to a couple of years ago, and most of us were blowing our monthly wage packet on massive spending sprees. Even if you couldn?t afford to splurge at Net-a-Porter, or DABS most of us had regular packages arriving from Asos or Amazon. And it wasn?t if you could afford the latest ?it? bag or gadget, it was when you could get your name on the waiting list.

High on cheap credit, and bolstered by booming house prices we could buy anything we wanted ? whether or not we could afford it. But thanks to the yo-yo interest rate changes, credit card companies aren?t quite as keen as they used to be to dish out those tempting deals. And recent polls in the UK show we?re spending mor of our salary on mortgage repayments or rent, with less left over for impulse buys. And when GST hits the island?s tills on the 1st May, we?re all going to be feeling the pinch.

Bling-bling spending has had its day ? the latest thing to boast about at dinner parties is the amazing bargain you picked up on eBay. And if you don?t fancy spending any money whatsoever, Freecycle is the thing for you. Their mission is to ?build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources and eases the burden on our landfills?. So now you can feel good about getting free stuff ? and you never know what?s going to turn up on the Jersey Freecycle group?s site, there?s been everything from cars to Wedgewood crockery over the last few months. The JEP is also keen to save our island from being swamped with unwanted goods ? their Ecycle page appears every Tuesday and Saturday, and it?s ideal if you want to make sure your unwanted clutter goes to a new home.

Jersey Hospice Care?s huge warehouse is chock-full of unwanted household items, but as fast as boxes are being dropped off to the waiting helpers outside, trolley-loads of second-hand furniture, clothes and toys are being bought up by Jersey residents. Katrina Bell, Fundraising Manager for Jersey Hospice Care says the charity?s been absolutely delighted with the support of the Jersey public. ?We?re keen to recycle almost anything, to both help the environment and raise funds in the process. Our two shops are packed full of every kind of second-hand goods imaginable, and are a vital source of income?. Charity really does feel good ? not only are you raising money for a worthy cause, but you?re saving landfill sites as well.

You see that?s been the problem with our-out-of control spending. We?ve turned into a nation of shoppers, stocking up on cut-price cashmere even though deep down in our fake Ugg boots we knew someone was paying the price for our impossibly cheap designer rip-offs, and it was probably an 8-year old Indian child working in a sweatshop. And that?s before we?ve even considered the damage our resource-greedy lifestyle is doing to the environment.

Everyone agrees ? reduce, re-use and recycle is the way forward. After the swing towards all things green that happened last year, we?re finally beginning to realise that stocking up on lots of eco-friendly products isn?t really the answer. Going green might be the fashionable thing to do, but cutting our spending, reusing and reducing the amount of resources we use will, in the long term, do the planet far more good than buying a few bottles of organic shampoo.

- A word from our sposor -

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