Monday, 10 December 2012

# 129 Don't Look Back in Anger

There is nothing like a nostalgic drama to remind you how much things have changed. Especially when that programme is 'Ashes to Ashes' set in the early 1980s. We remember so many of the small details. And yet it's hard to believe programmes like this hark back to a time 30 years ago. It means you don't have to go far back to realise this country has changed a lot and more drastically than we may have realised possible.

That's not to say all was great back then. We're all guilty of having rose tinted glasses. Back in the 1980s we had Thatcher, strikes, electricity blackouts. Oh joy. Threats to our economy were very real. Perhaps I notice the differences more now because of the impact it has on my lifestyle, my spending and my business.

The Government's Autumn Statement last week reminded me just how tense things are right now. Are you sitting tight and hoping to get through this one relatively unscathed? Because I certainly am. 

I couldn't find a historical graph to show how prices have changed since I was a kid, but I did find one for 1999 . It's alarming to think that house prices have gone up 123% from just over £73,000 to almost £164,000. I was surprised to see the price of a McDonald's Big Mac has only risen by 9p, although I'm pretty sure the quality has dropped by considerably more. The last time I bought one I was sorely disappointed.

This article has a lot of other cool calculation tools for you get an idea just how much the value of money has altered over the years. I found another site for a comparison of price rises from 1960 to 2009. That's only 49 years. It may sound like a long time but a barbie doll has gone up 900% and a 20 pack of cigarettes 2,595%!

What does worry me are Government predictions for how the current recession will run its course. Do I believe them? No. Because here we are, still as bad as ever despite empty promises that things would be easing up by now. It's going to be a hard Christmas for everyone and the next 5 years aren't looking too promising either. Don't pay any attention to the graph below.These are just Government pipe dreams.

I have spotted a few personal benefits from the Autumn Statement though. Cash ISA allowances are going up - the only tax free savings you'll find here. Fuel duty is being held off (although the prices still go up and down at an alarming rate regardless) and of course the personal tax allowance goes up. Hello tax man - can't catch me!

It's not overly inspiring and it's not going to ease the recession but it doesn't look like I'm going to be any worse off even though on a day to day basis I'm not going to be any better off either. What I would like to see is a drop in gas and electricity costs and food prices. But I'm guessing that's just wishful thinking.

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