I don't actually know the reason - but, for as long as I can remember, although not overtly so, my father seemed to have had an enduring fascination with money. Not, I should explain, in the sense that he was a miserly or mean man - but that he had an uncanny awareness of his own financial position at any given time. For example, at the end of each day, he had a pretty good idea of how much he had spent. Furthermore, he could recall what he may have paid for something many years previously; as well, I might add, as being able to remember if anyone had failed to repay a loan (however small) for a long as he lived.
Now, perhaps as a subconscious reaction to this environment, I have a rather more laissez-faire attitude towards wealth - to the extent that there were times when I might have been accused of not caring about it at all. I'm not sure that's entirely accurate - but it is true that I have rarely scrutinised a wage-slip or salary statement in the somewhat naive expectation that, should there have been an administrative error, it would be resolved at a later date. Furthermore, I've tended to view avarice and those who practice it with a fair degree of contempt.
Recently, however, I have started to pay a little more attention to financial issues than has been the case in the past - and a fundamental reason for this new attitude has been a growing realisation that there are elements within the world of commerce who are quite happy to take advantage of people like me; and, in some cases, using quite underhand - if subtle - methods.
My car insurers, for example. Instead of requiring me to telephone them to accept the terms and conditions outlined in their renewal notice documents (as has been the case for the past thirty years, or so), they have been good enough to offer to save me all that trouble by generously going ahead and altering the amount I have been paying on direct debit for the past year. I only need to telephone them if that's not my intention.
At first sight, this is an appealing proposition to someone like me who 'can't really be bothered' with all that rigmarole. However, on this occasion, I decided to read beyond the enticing offer - and it's just a well that I did - because I might not have noticed that the new premium is about £150.00p more than the previous one. Furthermore, taking advantage of comparison sites, I have found identical cover for about £250.00p less!
Now, it's not just insurance companies who seem happy to take advantage of existing (and, often, long-standing, customers). In recent weeks, I've discovered that the cost of satelite TV coverage has increased considerably since I first became a subscriber. Furthermore, the ability to pick and choose what I watch has been removed - leaving no option that to have 'packages' containing a hell of a lot of channels which don't interest my in the slightest. Interestingly, when I started to show some annoyance about the situation, it was decided that as 'a valued customer', I would be entitled to a significant reduction for the next six months. A*******s!
Anyway, having developed a taste for 'negotiating', I then set about researching what alternatives might be available on the telephone and broadband front and, although, I hadn't any complaints about my previous suppliers, I have decided to make some significant savings by signing-up with different companies.
On a more optimistic note, a recent drive to the north of England revealed that - whereas, two or three years ago, I found that many (if not most) hotel chains and motorway service stations charged ridiculous amounts to provide wi/fi - an increasing number seem to have reacted (I suspect) to customer demand by providing it free; and quite right, too.