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lifestyle

Klarna: What’s the Cost of “Interest-free”?

We all know students are pretty skint most of the time, so when I see ASOS, Pretty Little Thing and Missguided parcels constantly being delivered to my house, you can probably see why I might think “amm, where the HELL are you getting all this money from?”

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Then comes a wee envelope in the post from Klarna. *ding* And it all makes sense.

Y’all probably know what Klarna is anyway, but if you don’t, it’s basically a payment service company thing (to be exact) that lets you buy things now, and pay later. But, you don’t have to pay any fees or interest unlike most credit payment company things. I should’ve written their marketing material, I know. 

So, you can see why it’s become insanely popular recently (even though Sweden’s been using it for like 15 years). It’s obviously really handy for emergency purchases when you genuinely can’t afford to pay upfront, or if you can’t afford to pay back with interest.

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But, I don’t know, I’m not really sure I like the whole idea. Yeah, LoOk aT mE being contrary, wouldn’t be like me!!! But hear me out, read me out, whatever.

A couple of Klarna’s wee tag lines are:
“Buy what you want, when you want”
“Shopping the way it should be – effortless, safe and fun”.

See, the thing is, I know it seems like it’s for people who are short on cash and NEED something, but if you look at the major retailers who support Klarna – and if you look at their website, the whole thing’s pretty much targeted at people who want to buy clothes online. 

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I know that Klarna is obviously a hell of a lot better than those payday loan companies that charge you like 800% APR and get people into a massive cycle of debt. But, it still encourages the same behaviour. It encourages people to just go “ooh sparkly top, click click, mine” (in the very sophisticated manner that we speak in) without worrying about how much it actually costs. Or how they’re actually going to afford it.

I’m not saying that people who can’t afford clothes right now shouldn’t be able to buy them; but my guess is a lot of people that use Klarna are students and other people who aren’t exactly minted, but still want nice things. I just don’t like the whole idea of encouraging people – who mightn’t be able to afford to – to live above their means and normalising “not worrying about the price”. 
Normally, a big obstacle to you buying clothes when you really shouldn’t or can’t, is that, well, you can’t. But now, you can. 

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You won’t just use Klarna as a “one off”, let’s be real, you’ll just start using it more and more often. Then, have the dolla taken out of your account on payday or at 3 different stages sometime in the future. But, “that’s future me’s problem”, although it’s pretty much my mantra in life, isn’t a healthy attitude to have when it comes to spending.

“Buy now, pay later” things are great when you need something, or even if you just want something, like yasss treat yourself, live your best life. But, I don’t think it’s great to promote this attitude and behaviour as something we should do for all our purchases. Especially things like online clothes shopping. Just because you “want” something, doesn’t necessarily mean you should get it. 

I know there’s no debt involved, but it still normalises debt-inducing (? I’m gonna roll with it) behaviour. Having a care-free attitude to money is just dangerous for people who aren’t that good at budgeting, saving or saying no to “40% off”. It’s fine if you’re good and responsible with money, but what if you aren’t?

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Yeah, you got £200s worth of clothes and didn’t have to spend a penny. YET. What happens in 2 weeks when that £200 plus your pair-of-boots-money and your new-fluffy-jacket-money are all coming out, and oh look, the gas is running out, or, the landlord’s coming for rent. What then? The money is still coming out, and not necessarily when you’re in a better position. You know what you have right now, and you might know what you’ll have next week or after payday. But, life does this beautiful thing called “MESSIN WITH US” and throws all kinds of spanners in all of our works. 

“Oh, I forgot I bought that”. “Okay OOPS I didn’t realise I spent THAT much”. “Have I still not paid that off”. Having small bite-size payments or delayed ones just means people will get a false sense of security of what’s actually theirs and what they owe. Let’s be real, they’ll forget they’ve scheduled payments coming out until it’s too late.

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Lemme just clarify: The problem isn’t Klarna, and it’s not “buy now, pay later” (and it’s not me either before you get smart). The problem is promoting this “make it rain” attitude, when you’ve got no water.

Categories
lifestyle

From Oranges to Apple – What Happened Christmas?

I’m not tryna be a Grinch or rain on anyone’s snowman here, God knows I love Christmas more than Buddy from Elf, but what happened the good old days of getting a stocking full of satsumas for Christmas? How and why has Christmas become so commercialised? Like I’m all for presents and all, don’t get me wrong, but I really do think that the focus on material possessions has gotten out of hand.

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Exhibit A

I just think Christmas isn’t about what it’s meant to be about anymore. I don’t mean Jesus being born all the religious stuff either (sorry ma), I mean family. I mean Mariah Carey. I mean sitting around table with 12 different bowls of food -around 6 of which are various forms of potatoes. I mean pulling crackers and huffing when you didn’t win ~because your opponent was DEFINITELY cheating and held the handle too far up~ and eyeing up their mini screwdrivers or money clip with envy. Not that you’d have used it anyway, but that was your crappy “prize” to bin and your embarrassingly bad punchline to read out.

Christmas to me is about spending the day with family. It’s about slaving away in the kitchen for hours for a meal which is vacced down in about 15 minutes; followed by slaving away in the kitchen for hours doing dishes for the 17 saucepans and 9 of each cutlery even though there were only 6 of you eating.

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We don’t have a dishwasher either. I cry.

I don’t know when it stopped being about this and started being a competition of who got the most stuff. Christmas has always been somewhat commericalised of course, with a massive focus on spending money and buying gifts, but I think that it’s really starting to get a bit ridiculous. 89% of shift workers said they’re afraid that they can’t afford Christmas. Like how is that even a thing? How can you not afford a holiday? No one says they can’t afford Halloween or Easter, so what the hell happened? What have we, as a society done to this holiday?

Christmas is meant to be about excitement and happiness, not fear, dread and panic. So many people spend money they don’t have on things they can’t afford, and for what? Payday loans and buying with credit aren’t the answer, or the solution. If you can’t afford these things right now, then how will you be able to afford them with the 879% interest on top of it?

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Christmas seems to have become a sort of competition among children of “whose parents love them more” and among parents of “who loves their children more”. Asking friends “what did you get?” not so much because they care, but to mentally compare it to what they got. I don’t know why or when it started getting like this, but I do think social media has a big part to play. Before, people didn’t see what you got for Christmas, but now, anyone can see it if it’s posted online. Which a lot of people seem to insist on doing. Even though no one asked to see what they got. But sure.

I honestly hate the whole saga of *opens presents* *arranges presents on couch* *takes photo* “Thanks mum and dad, you’re the best❤” *ignores parents the rest of the day and sits on their phone checking what everyone else got*. Posting all this on social media to me just seems like a way to make others feel jealous and bad about themselves.

Like, no harm, but no one cares what you got. You got a £500 phone? Okay cool. Ridiculous for something that will break if you even so much as give the screen a dirty look, but cool. You got £50 phone? Just as cool.

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People post photos of their presents and their makeup and outfits, and their Christmas dinners. Thanks to Snapchat and Instagram stories, everyone now plays a little “judge everyone’s Christmas dinner” game. Like WHY do you have Yorkshire puddings, catch yourself on. Dinner at 8pm? Really? Anyway, I see loads of posts about dinners and presents but hardly any of families.

Children are demanding, no question about it. They don’t understand the concept of money and expense because they never really have to worry about these things. So of course they’re going to write massive Christmas lists and ask for an abundance of stuff, because they think it’s free. Christmas for me changed a lot when I stopped believing in Santa, because I realised that there actually was a price attached to what I wanted.

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I don’t blame her, squirrels are CLASS

Parents feel enough pressure to make their children happy, without having to worry about spending an obscene amount of money on them for one day. “S/he wants it” or “it’ll make them happy”. And that’s concerning in itself. The only way you can make your child happy is to spend money on them? Ya know what makes people happy? Hugs. Hugs are FREE. Conversations are FREE. Support is FREE. The only things I really want that aren’t free are the 6 counties, but not even Santa can get me those.

But it’s not all the children’s fault, parents need to learn to set expectations and say no. You don’t have to buy your child everything they want, because that’s not realistic, or financially viable. I think that if children knew how much stress and pressure their parents were under to buy them things, they’d ask for less. Well, I hope they would. I’m not saying parents should tell their children they can’t have anything, I’m just saying they don’t have to have everything. If you buy one of your children a car for Christmas, then of course in a few years your other child is going to demand expect the same. Children ask for things based on what they normally get. If you spent £100 on presents one year, they wouldn’t expect £1000’s worth the next. So I think it’s important to set a reasonable limit on their presents.

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So yeah, there you go. You can now continue to support capitalism and commercialise the birth of a religious figurehead buy presents. Ho ho ho.