Why too much debt is like a Basset Hound

A walk in the park with family pet Biffo gets Ollie thinking about the way people get over their heads in debt by living too much in the short term, and Lizzie reflects that they’re not on that position because of diligent use of the ExpenseOnDemand expense management app.

Knees pumping up and down in a blur, little Alice pedalled her tiny pink bicycle into the distance, whilst mum Lizzie jogged behind, with Jack in his pushchair.

Ollie lagged far behind, urging family pet Biffo the Basset Hound to move just a little faster – or indeed to move at all, as the lugubrious dog had just sat down. Again.

“C’mon, Ollie,” Lizzie shouted over her shoulder. “You’re getting left behind.”

Rather than make a spectacle of himself in front of the other Sunday-morning park visitors by shouting after his rapidly-disappearing family, Ollie simply muttered under his breath: “Fat chance.”

Once the family was re-united, sitting around a table in the shade of a big chestnut tree outside the park’s café, Ollie was only partly consoled by a large cappuccino. “What a waste of time that was, thanks to you,” he grumbled at Biffo, who was by now dozing under the table.

His daughter sprang to the dog’s defence. “Leave Biffo alone, Daddy,” said Alice. “He can’t walk far because he’s only got little legs.” Lizzie smiled at her husband. “She’s not wrong. And the rest of us have had plenty of fresh air and exercise, and you’ve got a cappuccino to make up for the fact that you haven’t.”

Ollie had to agree, and changed tack slightly. “You know, if that walk in the park was a metaphor for life in general, then old Biffo there is a metaphor for the debts people rack up,” he said. “Because of him, I couldn’t go for the same walk that the rest of you had. If he were debt, then he represents the fact that debt uses up so much of people’s money each month that they can’t do the things they want, or perhaps need, to do.”

“Listen to you getting all philosophical on us. People get into debt because they do the things they want to, when they want to do them,” said Lizzie. “Loans and credit cards make it possible.”

“Precisely my point,” he replied. “It’s the ‘live for today’ mentality. They do things they can’t afford in the first place, and then spend months or even years paying even more for them because of the interest involving in paying back the loan or the credit card debt they should never have taken on. And that means they can’t do other things they’d like to do because of the debt burden. It’s a vicious circle, like the swirling vortex of water around the plughole in the bath. People just get drawn in!”

Good expense management saves money
Lizzie smiled at him: “Or they can’t go for a walk in the park because of a dog with short legs,” she said. “I’m pleased that’s not a position we’ll ever get into. ExpenseOnDemand gave us the insights we needed to control our household spending, and, don’t forget, we eventually managed a holiday in Florida without getting into debt because of it.”

“I can’t argue with that,” said Ollie. “Remember we met Sunita Nigam, the woman who started the company with her husband, in the airport? Now we’re using the app at work we’ve got a much better view of the way cash is moving in and out of the business, especially on incidental spending, and it’s shown us how we can manage our supply chain better.”

“And that means you worry less at the weekends,” said Lizzie, “and we all feel the benefit of that.”

Ollie drained his cappuccino. “And I’m going to manage our debt metaphor better next week as well,” he said decisively. “Next weekend, Biffo can spend the morning with Grandma and Grandad. He’ll enjoy stretching out in the sun on the garden path while Grandad hoes the vegetable plot. Or he can go for a walk with Grandma Lorna; she doesn’t have to keep up with a little girl on a bike, and I can come for the same walk as everyone else. I claim that as a win-win,” he said triumphantly.

“Almost,” said Lizzie. “But you’ve forgotten that Grandma and Grandad are going for a short break in Scotland next weekend, so you’ll have to take ‘short leg man’ for a short walk again next weekend. But don’t feel short changed, it’s only a short-term solution; I’m sure Grandad and Grandma will help you… C’mon, let’s go home and get some lunch.”

Alice joined in the conversation: “Yes, I’m hungry,” she said.

“So am I Alice,” said Lizzie. “I hope Daddy knows a short cut…”