Rosie Millard: Thrifty Living
Five days to clear a cheque? Paypal does it in a nanosecond
Saturday 03 November 2007
It is astonishing, is it not, that one can buy something as modest and uncommercial as a second-hand Brownie uniform on eBay, and have the financial requirements done via PayPal within minutes of receiving said humble item. PayPal – because it has been set up for use by people who are keen to get money transactions completed quickly and safely – is super-efficient, an invention of the 21st century that operates exactly as it should.
Unlike our banking system. And the Royal Mail. Together. I am currently in a position of extreme financial discomfort – yes, more than usual – thanks to some payments by cheque that have decided to take the Ewan McGregor/Charley Boorman route from the post box in Islington to my bank in Piccadilly Circus. Yes, it would have been faster to send them via Cape Town. Thanks to industrial action at the Post Office, it has taken 14 days for one cheque to arrive at the bank. A second envelope, with about four separate cheques, has still to appear.
The bank, of course, is charging me hand over fist for being overdrawn. When I ring up to complain, my bank manager says helpful things like: "Have you considered stopping the cheques?"
"Are you mad?" I feel like yelling in her shell-like. "Stop the cheques and get replacements?" (Which can, of course, only be written out on a special Cheque Drawing Day, and then posted off on a special Cheque Posting Day, which is of course a day after Cheque Drawing Day, and which I then must send off again to the bank?)
Am I the only person in this country who goes slightly loopy with frustration at the time it takes to replenish one's bank account with cash? When second-hand Brownie uniforms can be paid for in nanoseconds? "Don't worry Rosie," soothes my bank manager. "One of our clients posted a cheque about 20 days ago to us for £25,000. It still hasn't arrived." And of course, when it does, it will take another five working days to "clear" – if he hasn't died from a cardiac seizure brought on by the slowness of our banking system.
There are some Victorian inventions – like snuff, or whiskers, or putting covers around the feet of pianos – which have been dropped by modern society because they are just too silly. There are others, however, like "five working days to clear a cheque", that will never be dropped because it makes the banks too much profit. Meanwhile, I am clocking up £25 a day in bank charges.
Never mind. Breathe deeply. Look at the beautiful autumn trees. Move on. My mindset has, I find, been subtly changed. This is not because I am turning into Bill Oddie, but because I have taken Richard Templar's Rules of Wealth, a financial book already mentioned in this column, to heart. My financial position is not going to collapse because I have had a few bank charges.
I now allow myself to buy a protein drink after visiting the gym. I no longer beat myself up for using a gym. I wander around the house muttering things like "Think of Gaining Prosperity as Stalking a Reluctant Tiger," or "Act Rich," or "The Rich usually have Several Money Making Schemes Going For Them", and other Templaresque bons mots.
So, I have started acting rich and thinking about creating another source of income. "Maybe we could have a jumble sale, Mummy," suggests a Junior Millard, whom I suspect will reach millionaire status long before I do. "We could sell all my old trousers." He is verily the child of Templar, as he believes his property has value and is willing to market it. I took him along to a story I was doing in the West End and while I was interviewing the actress concerned, he was busy negotiating swapping my Nokia for the make-up lady's Orange. "He'll go far," the make-up lady said.
Back home, there's a nice invitation. It is for the private view of The Art of Hedge, an exhibition in Dover Street all about the art of banking by my old friend (and former Independent Artist in Residence) Adam Dant. The hosts of the soirée include William Cash, editor of Spear's Wealth Management Survey. Brilliant! I'll turn up dressed in something amazing, act rich, impress Cash with my Wealth Management and hopefully bag another source of income from him. Will my plan be foiled by his reading this column, however? Will it hell. Just look at the title.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Simon Read: There may be trouble ahead for cohabiting couples who don’t make a will
Why the City Watchdog is concerned with the credit card industry
Money Insider: Would £150 make you switch banks?
Bargain Hunter: Find the deals that have real value beneath the Black Friday hype
Gold-plated pensions – the key to retirement freedom?
- 1 I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 4 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 5 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
iJobs Money & Business
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Langley James : IT Support; Helpdesk, VMware; Manch...
£35000 - £450000 per annum + £3k car, £70k ote: h2 Recruit Ltd: Do you want to...
£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious financial institution seeks to...
£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: Experienced operational risk professional with ban...
Day In a Page
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens