Category Archives: Household

Self Imposed Poverty – How to force yourself to save more

Most people would say money burns a hole in my pocket, that’s not entirely true, I’m not as frugal as some, but I enjoy the money I do have and have enough to get buy on.

But, I’m trying to save to buy a property and so every penny counts. Changing your spending habits takes discipline and saving as much as I need to in the time that I want to takes a lot of saving, thus a lot of discipline.
So I’ve been trying out self imposed poverty.

As with most of you, in the last week of a month I’m pretty poor, and start spending more frugally, watching what I spend more, making the cheaper choices and so on. So what if I move the poverty line? What if I shift the date when the pinch hits forward to midway through the month?
So the last couple of months after I get paid and my regular transfer to my savings occurs, I transfered an extra £100 to my savings.

So now I’m poorer sooner, but start spending more frugally sooner. Even if I need grab that money back towards the end of the month I’m not dipping into my regular savings, and I’ve already started spending more frugally by then anyway, so will have still made some in roads to spending less that month than I otherwise would have.

So what do you reckon? Think you can try and impose some poverty on yourself for your own greater good?

 

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The future of newspapers

Newspaper publishers are finally coming to terms with new media and trying to work out where there business model lies in this new landscape.

However it occurred to me that they’ve missed a very basic thing in the current transition to new media.
All newspapers that are currently working with charging models are all using a subscription based service.
As someone who had a few paper rounds in their youth I know that there are far more houses I’d cycle by than deliver too. I also don’t know anyone at work who get’s a regular paper on their way in.
I’ve been enjoying the Guardian’s iPhone app. I’d never read the guardian before but actually got some semi-regular use out of the app, particularly as I could just read those sections and contributor’s columns that I enjoyed. However now they’ve introduced a new app with a charging model. The price is very reasonable at £3 per month and comes with a few new features over the old app. However it’s still a subscription model. For occasional newspaper readers like myself and everyone I know at work a subscription isn’t what they are after.
And so I got to thinking how comes Newspaper publishers, who were so fearful of change, have moved to a model where you can’t replicate the real world activity of being able to buy just one news paper.
Even if this translates to paying a one off fee for a period of access those people who don’t want to sign up to a recurring subscription don’t seem to be being catered for and are a missed business opportunity.

I hope that Newspaper publishers redress this oversight and allow the occasional buyers access and themselves to get the extra revenue to realise new media is not a threat, it’s an opportunity.

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Rise up and make TV! Public Access Internet Channel

We’ve had the revolution of the Facebook masses getting Rage Against The Machine to number one instead of the latest corporate produced (s)hit from Simon Cowell. So how about the same for tv.
Now we don’t have a tv chart that we can influence so directly as we do with music, more’s the pity. But how about we rally together and start out own online tv station. I know some great script wrtiters and actors who do some very interesting projects, why not bring those to the masses and generate excitement about online?

With any luck the mass media will pay some attention and maybe start putting more challenging programming on. Or at the very least some of the amazing talent out there will get recognized and taken on.

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Semantic TV guides, the future of tv

I’ve been laid up lately with a broken leg and consequentially I’ve been watching a lot of tv. I’ve been surprised that there’s actually some good shows out there worth watching and also just channel upon channel of crap.

I got to thinking, how to do I get to find all the good tv, that I’m interested in watching nowadays. Largely I’m just flicking thru channels and find something, there are also some decent tv listings sites. But I wondered if there’s not a better way. Really I want to be able to find tv shows based on a load of symantec data. I want to be able to say I’m interested in these topics, now plot me a days tv watching based on my interests.

The other thing that occurs to me is what will the future of tv broadcasting and scheduling look like. It’s already less linear than it was with things like iplayer and itv on demand etc.
So when there’s a cloud of recorded shows floating around in the ether what’s going to be the method for scheduling shows then, will it be entirely pulled by the user or will broadcasters broadcast a set schedule even though you can realistically watch the show whenever?

I wonder what the industry has in mind? I also wonder what users want? The schedule provides a pattern to life and familiarity where as everything on demand means that discussing tv is no longer as useful a social currency.

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Smarter Washing Machines to Tell You When You’ve Left Stuff In Your Pockets

This is a half formed thought so far but I’m banging it up here anyway. Can we make washing machines that detect if there’s something in your pockets?
All clothes come down to a few basic materials, so if you could eliminate those materials anything else left must be a foreign body that perhaps shouldn’t be in the washing machine and the user alerted.

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Compact Living

After moving flat time and time again one thing is true of all rented accommodation it seems. There is very little storage. I appreciate space is at a premium these days but some places I’ve lived have been pretty ridiculous.
One thing that you’ll need in most flat is a mop and bucket, and one thing that’s not so compact is a bucket. Usually unsightly enough that you want to squirrel them away when the Jones’s come round but if you don’t have the storage space what do you do.
One solution is this:

Fold Up Bucket

which is definitely a space saver for the car washing amongst you, however I’d like something with some structural integrity so that I could wring out a mop on the top of it.

I’d been mulling this over on and off for a while and I was always trying to work out a way for joints and hinges that enabled the folding up of such a invention to be water/air tight. It struck me today that I’d been thinking of the problem from the wrong angle and I didn’t need water/air tight hinges I just needed a plastic bladder inside the bucket that was flexible so the hard structure could create the rigidity and the fold down method and the bladder could create the water seal.

Another application for this idea is collapsible lunch boxes.
When I was working up town I used to take a packed lunch with me most days and it was pretty much the only thing I was taking with me, and it was somewhat bulky. But carrying the empty lunch box home with me meant that I was carrying bulky nothingness with me. If I could collapse my lunch box I’d reclaim all that space again.

MikeD

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