Meet Ben Hatch.

ben-hatchHe claims to be the stingiest man in the UK. The writer, and son of the former head of BBC Radio the late Sir David Hatch, recently wrote a book about his penny pinching ways – Road to Rouen. In it, he discusses such tips as strapping baguette halves to his kids legs under their shorts, shoving wrapped slices of ham and cheese into their trainers and filling their baseball caps with apples and yoghurts (stolen from the hotel’s breakfast buffet). Once loaded up with food, they’d then head out for a day at a theme park. His six-year-old son would stay silent until they passed through the gates, rewarded for holding a teddy or sucking his thumb, in a bid to trick cashier staff into thinking he was young enough to get in for free. He talks of a friend gifting her kids a Nintendo DS game console which was played with excitedly for a short while before being discarded out of boredom. “I gave ours a large cardboard box a neighbour had put out for recycling,” he wrote in his book, an extract of which was published in The Daily Mail. “They called me the best Dad in the world and played with it for three days straight.”

At first when I read the story it made me giggle. Can you imagine how much energy goes into preparing for a day out? But then I looked at the photos and saw beaming faces. Who am I to judge?

The more I thought about it, the more I admired his dedication. I think I am in love with him. I think the Stingiest Man In Town is to be admired.

We are victims of buying our kids too much stuff. We’ve been able to afford the odd gift here and there. Nearly every visit to a shop ends with a gift. We’ve created capitalist monsters. They are cute, yet extremely materialistic.

Lately, we’ve had no money. Each night we check our bank account in hope we’ve been paid an unexpected invoice. We’ve raided the piggy bank, until we can raid it no more. The coin tray in the car is empty. The kid’s bank account is being eyed-off with increasing hunger. More and more we are looking at ways to save. Groceries are meticulously purchased. Coffees are made at home and taken in traveling cups. We go out to the park a lot. Or stay home. We drink wine out of a four litre cask with money scrounged from the bottom of our bag. There are no more toys.

I think it’s a sign from somewhere that we consume too much crap. We are wasteful. It’s time we stop.

We are being stingy out of necessity, but I think I’d like to be more mindful of our money, even when our bank account is replenished. Perhaps if we do that we might be able to afford a trip to a theme park, so we can strap baguettes to our kids legs and make a day of it.

Sounds like a plan to me.

Have you got any tips to help us save money?

bigwords x