Friday, March 8, 2013

Saving Stamps

The Co-operative Food reports sales of saving stamps on the increase. I was drawn to the story published in Talking Retail - the hub for grocery retail of 6th March 2013. Like most of print & web media they publish  press releases and this one is by the Co-operative Group.

"The Co-operative Food says sales of saving stamps have soared by a third, following the launch of its new saving stamps trust fund. The retailer said that in the first four weeks following the trust fund launch, the number of saving stamps sold increased by 33%, compared with February 2012."

Basically you buy £1 stamps throughout the year at any of its 2,800 stores across the UK. Saving is a laudable activity and should be encouraged. Far less costly than the misery of debt. Anyone  redeeming a full saving stamps book (with £48 worth of stamps) in store in December will receive an extra £2 bonus, just in time for the big Christmas shop. Which if my arithmetic is correct is a return of 4.1%. Far better than the banks on the high street. Except the pay out is in goods not cash.

Something as simple as saving stamps reminds me of an age maybe 50 plus years ago. But then lots of recent developments in finance outside the tarnished banking sector are redolent of an earlier age. There are now more pawnbrokers, gold buyers, and pay-day loan merchants who charge 4000%. Then there are better and more realistic, newer peer-to-peer lending schemes and the stable credit unions. I expect to see a sign in some shop announcing "join our xmas club today".

Further reading : Saving Nostalgia by Paul Delplanque for the Gazette in Middlesboro. It is a humorous piece with some good photos of divi day and Princess Anne on one shilling national saving stamps (5p was once a lot of money).

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