How to Save Money with Alternative Consumption

The documentary “Money and Me” has a total of 6 episodes, each episode is more than 20 minutes long. In each episode, there will be a protagonist who is in a difficult financial situation. The program team specially invites personal financial experts Katerina DeFrix and Sinead Lane to sort out their personal finances and analyze the protagonist’s daily consumption How to push them step by step into the predicament and make constructive changes in their lives. The other is Peter Luen, an expert in consumer psychology behavior. He will use experimental methods to explain the motives behind consumer psychology that the public does not understand.
  The first episode tells a story about “alternative consumption”. The protagonist Catherine is a mother of 6 children living in Ireland. She works as a waiter in a seaside restaurant and her income is not high. But not only will she spend all her monthly income, she will even be unable to make ends meet. In order to get rid of her consumption difficulties, she borrows money from a private company with high interest rates every month. If the loan is 1,000 euros (1 euro is about 7 yuan), even if Catherine repays it within 12 months, she still needs to repay 1,573 euros. To her shame, she couldn’t even shell out 3,500 euros to take the family to one of the children’s overseas weddings. When an expert asked her if she knew where the money was wasted every month, Catherine answered fluently: “I know I am lazy, and I am very tired when I get home from work every day, so I simply order takeaway.” You have to pay 80 euros on the website, 4000 euros for the whole year. Catherine is also a picky consumer. She will pay 22 euros for a bag of charcoal just because she likes the oval shape of the charcoal, and she will pay twice the price for the cheese and cereal she likes. She is very proud of her good taste: “I can’t change this aspect. Cheap brands taste like eating cardboard.” The above consumption habits are the root cause of Catherine’s family’s debt crisis.
  A financial expert asked Catherine to blindly taste different brands of cheese, cereal, and tea. She guessed almost all the brands she used to eat wrong, and Catherine was instantly “slapped in the face” by the superiority of the brand she insisted on. In fact, her taste buds couldn’t tell the difference between “mass” and “brand name,” and she fell victim to the consumerism preached by producers. Catherine has unconscious brand consumption habits and self-awareness of overpaying product premiums, but why is it difficult for Catherine to change?
  Peter Luen, an expert in consumer psychology and behavior, conducted an experiment to show the possessive nature of consumers. He randomly distributed chocolates and ballpoint pens to 76 participants in the experiment, and told the experimental subjects: “Now you can take away the things distributed to you, and at the same time, you can also choose to exchange products with people around you.” People accounted for only 23%. Peter Luen concluded: “We are used to grabbing existing things. Once we have identified a certain brand or formed a certain consumption habit in the consumer psychology, even if we know that there are cheaper alternatives, it is easy to buy them. Difficult to make changes.” This is called the “endowment effect” in consumer psychology.
  Under the guidance of experts, Catherine made an attempt to replace consumption: formulate a daily cooking plan, reduce the frequency of ordering takeaway to once a week; replace famous brands with ordinary brands in daily consumption; replace cheaper mobile phones and broadband providers; apply for A credit union with an annual interest rate of 6.1%, an alternative to a personal loan company with an interest rate of up to 157%; a fixed deposit of 100 euros per month. These alternatives have given Catherine a new lease of life, leading to healthier living and less packaging waste. According to expert estimates, if Catherine can stick to the above-mentioned living habits, after one year, Catherine can save 2,775 euros per year.
  This documentary was recommended to me by Zhao Lu, a practitioner of “Parallel Replacement”. Before watching this documentary, she had a similar consumption situation as Catherine, “Moonlight” and “exquisite and poor”. After working for 5 years, not only did she not have a penny in savings, but she also fell into the embarrassing situation of borrowing. After her monthly salary of 10,000 yuan is recorded in the account, she has to repay the loan the next day, and then enters a loan life without cash flow. She told me that her biggest blind expenses come from buying makeup and clothing.
  At the same time, she is still a complete brand lover, and she can save on food and drink, but she is a staunch brand consumer like Catherine when it comes to cosmetics. Her dedication to the brand is not for showing off, but a habitual consumption.
  Zhao Lu’s income is not enough to pay for such high-end cosmetics that cost over a thousand yuan. When her loans snowballed to 30,000 yuan, she realized that she had to make a change in her spending habits. She began to focus on researching whether there is a good alternative. Zhao Lu’s “substitution” idea is to focus on the composition and technical process of each brand product.
  Zhao Lu believes that the so-called “replacement” of the brand may not be able to completely replace it, but it is an indisputable fact that it can replace part of the effect. By researching various brands, Zhao Lu reorganized her consumption motivation in the process of looking for alternative products, essentially forming a kind of delayed gratification. “I am no longer that impulsive consumer. Through learning, I clearly know whether I really need it and whether I have to buy it. This avoids a large number of repeated purchases that are instigated by consumer emotions, but are not needed at all. Things.”
  Zhao Lu also set a monthly shopping budget for herself, and 1,500 yuan is a limit of her affordability. If it exceeds that number, she will stop and wait until the next month to buy again. After a period of time like this, she found that her desire to buy was not so strong. After half a year of hard work, Zhao Lu’s income and expenditure have returned to normal, and she can still save 1,500 yuan every month after excluding all expenses. Zhao Lu told me that the popularity of alternative consumption among young people is mostly a helpless move, but at the same time, the consumption value conveyed by the alternative itself is: I have accepted my true self.

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