Finding cost savings, with YouTube

On the day our cost-cutting competition closes, help from Tom Hanks, Withnail and the Four Yorkshiremen.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Cost-cutting is the hot political topic at the moment, which is why this week we’ve been asking MT readers to submit their best – or funniest – ideas for trimming public spending. Today’s the last day for new entries, so email with your brainwaves. And to help oil the wheels, we thought we’d turn to YouTube for a few ideas on how to adjust to a change in circumstances…

Change your lifestyle:
Now the housing market has taken a turn for the worse, some homeowners who find themselves mired in negative equity are being forced to sell up and move somewhere cheaper – perhaps a place that ‘needs a bit of work’, in estate agent parlance. But it may take a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get it the way you want it. In the Money Pit, lawyer Tom Hanks and his wife get turfed out of their apartment but manage to pick up a distress sale mansion. Unfortunately for them, the house starts disintegrating around them...

Trade down to cheaper alternatives:
Do you really need to buy that expensive product? Isn’t there a cheaper alternative out there that might do the job just as well? Of course, you need to strike a balance: we wouldn’t necessarily recommend the route taken by Richard E. Grant in Withnail & I, who, in the absence of proper alcohol (‘I demand to have some booze’), decides to drink a bottle of lighter fluid instead.

Avoid over-stretching:
The big debate at the moment is how to cut budgets without damaging front-line services. But be wary of consultants trying to outdo one another in their zeal to trim costs – or the end result might be that cuts become a little too painful. A fine example of this competitive thrift can be found in the famous Four Yorkshiremen sketch by John Cleese and co (from the At Last the 1948 Show, not Monty Python, as any good comedy pedant will tell you). The now-monied Tykes are desperate to outdo each other with tales of childhood penury – ‘We used to get up in t’morning, at half past ten at night, half an hour before we went to bed...’

In today's bulletin:

HSBC boss Shanghaied out of London as G20 talks banker-bashing
John Lewis shines as buoyant Waitrose takes on the high street
Twitter may be hot, but is it really worth $1bn?
Are entrepreneurs born or made?
Finding cost savings, with YouTube

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